Paul McCartney
Picture: MPL Communications

Review: Paul McCartney at nib Stadium, Perth, 2 December 2017

All hail Sir Paul.

It’s not every day you get to spend a few hours with one of the all time greats, but thousands of Perth punters paid top dollar to do just that when Sir Paul McCartney performed at nib Stadium on Saturday.

This was the first Australian stop for the former Beatle and his band as part of their One on One world tour.

McCartney arrived to a standing ovation, wearing black jeans, a white button-up shirt and black military style jacket.

The 75-year-old would spend the next three hours dazzling fans with hits from his catalogue spanning a staggering 60 years.

“G’day, Perth,” he said cheerily, waving to the screaming masses.

“It’s fantastic to be back after all this time. We’ve got some old songs, some new songs and some in between.“

The oldest was an early demo by The Quarrymen (later renamed The Beatles), ‘In Spite of All the Danger’, recorded in 1958.

The newest? McCartney’s 2015 collaboration with Rihanna and Kanye West, ‘FourFiveSeconds’.

Add to that a smorgasbord of Beatles classics, much-loved Wings tunes and McCartney’s solo material, and you have a recipe for one hell of a night.

The party started with The Beatles 1964 hit ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, and barely slowed down – save for a few much-loved ballads like ‘Let It Be’ and ‘Something In The Way’.

The latter was a touching tribute to the song’s writer George Harrison, with McCartney performing the intro on a ukulele given to him by his late Beatles bandmate.

McCartney was joined onstage by a talented four-piece band – simple yet incredibly effective – just like his songwriting.

Partway through the show a raised platform lifted McCartney high above the stage, where he performed a solo acoustic version of every guitar student’s go-to song, ‘Blackbird’.

Written as a symbolic comment on the civil rights movement occurring in the United States in the 1960s, ‘Blackbird’ is just as moving today – and McCartney wants you to know that whichever way you learned to play it, you probably got it wrong.

Written as a symbolic comment on the civil rights movement occurring in the United States in the 1960s, ‘Blackbird’ is just as moving today – and McCartney wants you to know that whichever way you learned to play it, you probably got it wrong.

Performing another cherished Beatles tune, ‘Love Me Do’, McCartney told us the story of how John Lennon had originally sung the chorus, but at the last minute producer George Martin asked McCartney to step in. He was so nervous, you can hear the tremble in his voice on the recording.

He spent plenty of time at his trusty piano, hammering out gigantic hits like ‘Live And Let Die’, an explosion of stadium rock complete with flames and fireworks, and ‘Hey Jude’ ending the main set with its climactic ‘na-na-na na’ chorus.

An obligatory encore included a stunning acoustic version of Beatles ballad ‘Yesterday’, along with late sixties classics ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and ‘Helter Skelter’.

‘Mull of Kintyre’, McCartney’s 1987 tribute to the picturesque Scottish headland of the same name, revealed some surprise homegrown talent in the form of the Western Australia Police Pipe Band.

One lucky punter even got to propose to his girlfriend onstage, followed by a congratulatory hug from Sir Paul.

With a star-studded career like his, McCartney could easily afford to phone it in.

Instead, he chose to deliver three solid hours – no breaks, no costume changes – bursting with as many hits as he could possibly squeeze in.

We counted at least 39 songs, all well-rehearsed, arranged and performed with a vigour and showmanship that’s rare these days.

There are inevitably some cracks appearing in McCartney’s voice, but he’s got more energy than most 30-year-olds, and genuinely looks like he’s still having fun.

This sure felt like a once-in-a-lifetime show, but hey – tomorrow never knows.

There are 2 comments

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  1. Julie McQueen

    No big deal… But your photo of Paul McCartney in a royal blue jacket with a white shirt that has black piping on the collar is incorrect.
    For the performance at the NIB stadium last night, he wore a black jacket with metal buttons, yellow flower on left hand side and a white embroider emblem was on his left sleeve.
    I am now retired, but I was in the fashion industry for thirty years and now being in my sixties I still have a keen eye for fashion.
    The concert last night was the best concert I have ever been to.. And being a Melbourne girl originally I have attended many since the age of 17.
    Paul McCartney and his band were exceptional.
    Well done to Frontier Touring Company and all concerned with bringing Perth an amazing performance.

    • Anni Fordham

      Hi Julie, your eagle eyes are spot on! Unfortunately media access was extremely limited for this show so we were unable to send our own photographer. This pic was supplied to us by Paul’s management. Glad you enjoyed the show!

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