In first-ever Madison show, Paul McCartney takes fans on a Magical Mystery Tour
MADISON, Wis. — It’s doubtful Paul McCartney knew much about Madison, Wisconsin while growing up in Liverpool, but after Thursday’s performance, he likely knows Beatlemania is alive and well in the city.
The 76-year-old rocker performed for nearly three hours Thursday to a sold-out crowd at the Kohl Center.
The iconic opening chord of “A Hard Day’s Night,” set the excitement as the former Beatle took the stage.
That excitement never faded as the set went on. McCartney took fans on a journey through his career with songs spanning from his early days with the Beatles (and pre-Beatles band the Quarrymen) to his most recent album, 2018’s “Egypt Station.”
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His voice may not be as pristine as it was in his peak, but his charisma and musicianship quickly put to bed any questions about his status: he’s still one of the best in the business.
There seemed to be many experienced McCartney concert-goers in Thursday’s crowd, even one man boasting that it was his 123rd concert. Keeping it fresh, McCartney has added a horn section to his regular backing-quartet of guitarists Brian Ray and Rusty Anderson, drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and multi-instrumentalist Paul Wickens.
In between songs, McCartney told stories of hanging out with other legends of the ’60s like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton as well as Russian politicians during a performance at Moscow’s Red Square. The stories were nothing new to the veteran fans, but something about hearing a Beatle tell a story about “the good old days” doesn’t seem to sour.
As the main set came to a close, McCartney launched through a few of his most seminal songs, “Band On The Run,” “Let It Be,” “Live and Let Die,” and “Hey Jude.” “Live and Let Die,” was an absolute knock-out performance with pyrotechnics and lasers. The pyrotechnics filled the arena with smoke for the rest of the show.
A Paul McCartney show is unlike any other show on the road. It’s fast-paced, but easy going. It’s uplifting, but down to earth. McCartney’s day job is being one of the most successful and influential musicians of all time, yet the man on stage is still very much an excited kid living out a rock n roll dream.
It’s hard to believe the guy who has seen McCartney 123 times didn’t walk out of the Kohl Center saying “I’ve got to see him at least one more time.”
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