At the age of 68, Sir Paul McCartney has the richest catalogue in pop music to indulge in.
On a snowy night at Harlem’s historic Apollo Theatre, with a frisky band and a live radio audience, McCartney clearly enjoyed the journey. He performed a two-hour, 27-song set in front of celebrities such as Jerry Seinfeld, Alec Baldwin, Martha Stewart, Tony Bennett and Rolling Stone Ron Wood.
The New York theatre was dressed up in searchlights and a red carpet for the event, which was part of promotions for a deluxe reissue of his Band On The Run album.
McCartney alluded to the influence that many of the musicians who played the Apollo had on him. “I know it’s special to you New Yorkers,” he said. “To us British boys, it’s really special.”
His one tribute to the locale, a spirited cover of Marvin Gaye’s 1962 hit Hitch Hike, was unfortunately marred by technical difficulties. The microphones went quiet halfway through the song, forcing McCartney and his four-piece band to stop. They tried again, only to have to stop again. The third time worked.
McCartney’s band makes some of his songs, like Maybe I’m Amazed and Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, far more muscular than they are on record.
The hits came fast and furious toward the end – Let it Be, Hey Jude, Get Back, Yesterday. But this concert was most delightful when McCartney reached toward some less expected material.
This included one of the oldest Lennon-McCartney compositions, One After 909, the Rubber Soul chestnut I’m Looking Through You and his ukelele-accompanied Dance Tonight. Also fun were the handful of cuts brought out to highlight Band On The Run.
McCartney performed A Day In The Life as a medley with Give Peace A Chance, a John Lennon solo cut that had a Lennon-McCartney songwriting credit on its 1969 release.