By Steve Svetovich
If you were lucky to be in Hershey last month when Sir Paul McCartney performed, you saw a concert for the ages.
The former Beatle, with a burst of enthusiasm and charisma that never wavered, performed 38 songs during the three-hour show.
That’s right – 38 songs, mostly Beatles and Wings, with a few of his latest cuts.
“I am a member of Fans on the Run,” said Ashley Williams, Dunmore, who came to the show on the JZ Tours bus trip. “He was awesome. What a way to celebrate my 26th birthday. I will always remember this.”
Ellen Fahey Ciullo, Dunmore, and Ann Oliver, Clarks Summit, also attended with JZ Tours. “We got to see him warm up before the show,” said Oliver. “It was so cool. He was actually interacting with his fans.”
Besides his music, McCartney’s interaction with the fans was one of the highlights of the show. He brought a young girl and a school teacher separately on stage for a personal interaction and autograph.
“He was great with the fans,” said Ciullo. “What a great show he put on.”
McCartney, 74, clearly showed he is not resting on his laurels during the Hershey Park Stadium performance.
He opened two of the first three songs of the 38-song set with the timeless Beatles hits, “Hard Days Night” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” to the delight of the Hershey faithful. The crowd was on its feet standing and clapping along. He sandwiched in “Save Us” between the two Beatles classics.
Then he launched into the moody Wings track, “Letting Go.”
McCartney and his band played everything the crowd wanted to hear while throwing in some inspired choices from the Beatles psychedelic period.
Just a few songs into the set, Sir Paul pulled off his royal blue Nehru jacket. He sported a sharp dress shirt. “That’s the main costume change for the whole evening,” he said with a wink.
Then came “Temporary Secretary” from the McCartney II album.
And then the Wings classic, “Let Me Roll It.”
He followed up with “I’ve Got a Feeling” and “My Valentine” which he dedicated to his wife.
Then the crowd got revved up to the Wings classic, “Nineteen-Hundred and Eighty-Five.”
He slowed it down about with “Here, There and Everywhere.”
Then came the Wings classic, “Maybe I’m Amazed.” His voice was strong as he hit high on the notes. McCartney was misty eyed as he performed the song he wrote for his late wife Linda. Photographs and videos of Linda McCartney were displayed on the big screen behind him.
The fans were in the mood for another Beatles song. So McCartney and his band belted out, “We Can Work it Out.”
He then played the first song he ever recorded with the pre-Beatles band, the Quarrymen, “In Spite of All the Danger.”
McCartney then performed a cover song, “You Won’t See Me” followed by two Beatles classics, “Love Me Do” and “I Love Her.” He did a booty shake to the delight of the females in the audience.
Then came a Wings classic for diehard fans as he performed “Blackbird” while sailing toward the sky on a mobile riser.
That was followed up by “Here Today,” a song he wrote as a conversation he wished he had with late Beatle John Lennon. “If you’ve got something nice to say to someone, get it said,” McCartney advised his fans.
The Lennon tribute was followed up by “Queenie Eye.”
Then came one of his recent tracks, “New.” The track is similar to the Wings sound he perfected years ago.
That was followed up by the ageless Beatles song, “Fool on the Hill.”
Then came his 2015 collaboration with Rihanna and Kanye West, “FourFiveSeconds” followed by Beatles classics “Eleanor Rigby” and “For the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” which was a treat to hear live.
Dedicating the next song to George Harrison, he played a ukulele the late Beatle gave to him before switching to guitar while performing “Something.” Images of Harrison were shown on the massive screen behind the set.
The Beatles legend got his fans dancing as he performed the Beatles hit, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” He let the happy crowd sing the verses.
He was saving the best for last.
Then came the Wings signature song, “Band on the Run.” The Hershey crowd went wild singing along.
The frenzy kept going as he performed the Beatles classic “Back in the U.S.S.R.” telling a story about the time he performed the song in Moscow, Russia while playfully impersonating a government official.
The crowd in Hershey went into a further frenzy singing along to the Beatles classic, “Let it Be.” Lighters were seen elevated throughout the massive crowd.
Fireworks erupted as he performed the Wings classic. “Live and Let Die. “
And if that wasn’t enough, Sir Paul followed up with the Beatles huge hit, “Hey Jude,” as the crowd sand along again.
Then came the 6- song encore which started with the Beatles classic, “Yesterday” followed by Wings standard, “Hi, Hi, Hi.”
And for those like Dunmore’s Ashley Williams celebrating a birthday, McCartney and his band performed a rousing, “Birthday” song.
That was followed up by “Golden Slumbers” and the classic, “Carry that Weight.”
McCartney and the band fittingly performed “The End” to close a performance for the ages.
Fireworks erupted again as Sir Paul bowed, thanking his fans. It seemed like he did not want to leave the stage.
The Beatles legend made a conscious effort to play to and gaze into the crowd throughout the magical performance.
“I’m just going to take a minute here to drink it all in myself,” he said.
And that he did. And his fans did it even more.