When McCartney moved to piano for the lovely “My Valentine” from 2012′s “Kisses on the Bottom” album, the volume may have gone down, but the quality was about to go way up.
The 1970s hits “1985” and “Maybe I’m Amazed” followed before a switch to acoustic guitar for a delightful skiffle-simple passage that began with the Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen a Face” and “From Me to You” as well as the fascinating R&B tune “In Spite of All the Danger” (recorded by proto-Beatles band the Quarrymen in the late 1950s). By the time they hit the first Beatles single, 1962′s “Love Me Do,” you could feel that second wind blowing through the crowd.
Emotions eventually got the better of just about everyone. For someone to my left, tears came on “Blackbird,” which McCartney eloquently explained was written for Americans who fought for civil rights in the 1960s: “You were only waiting for this moment to be free.” McCartney himself got choked up on “Here Today,” written after the 1980 murder of his Beatles mate John Lennon.
For me, it was the photos of fellow departed Beatle George Harrison as McCartney segued Harrison’s “Something” from ukulele to full-band glory that brought it all to bear. And later, in the “Abbey Road” suite encore, I looked to my right to see a young woman sigh sweetly to her boyfriend: “And I would sing a lullaby.”
Oh, but I’ve skipped over that part where he played “Band on the Run” and “Back in the U.S.S.R.” and “Let It Be,” and then all the pyrotechnics and fireworks that accompanied “Live and Let Die.” And that “Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da” sing-along. And the encore-launching segue of “Sgt. Pepper” into “Helter Skelter.” It was a marathon, indeed, and an unforgettable one.
Paul dedicated "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" to "one of our fallen heroes, the great engineer, buddy of mine, Geoff Emerick," who he recently wrote a tribute to. See Paul's ACL weekend one setlist, and watch video clips from his Friday set, below.
Day one of ACL Fest also included sets from The National, Brockhampton, David Byrne, Manchester Orchestra, Alvvays, Gang of Youths, The Weather Station, Ravyn Lenae, Big Thief, Natalie Prass, and more. Check out pictures in the gallery above.
ACL's first weekend continues through Sunday (10/7), and if you aren't there, you can livestream some sets. Stay tuned for more from us from the festival, too.
Setlist: Paul McCartney @ ACL Festival Weekend One, 10/5/2018 (via)
A Hard Day's Night
Hi, Hi, Hi
Can't Buy Me Love
Come On to Me
Let Me Roll It
I've Got a Feeling
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
Maybe I'm Amazed
I've Just Seen a Face
In Spite of All the Danger
From Me to You
Love Me Do
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
Band on the Run
Back in the U.S.S.R.
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
Carry That Weight
photos by Andy Sawyer