Paul McCartney got back to NJ with Bruce Springsteen, virtual John Lennon, Bon Jovi & more
Two days before Paul McCartney's 80th birthday (June 18), he wrapped up his 'Got Back' tour at NJ's MetLife Stadium, his first NYC-area show since his surprise Grand Central show in 2018 and his first proper NYC-area show since 2017. The tour is of course named after the beloved Peter Jackson film Get Back that came out this past fall, and pieces of that film factored into this tour. When Paul and his band did an explosive rendition of "Get Back," they were backed by a montage of footage from the film that Jackson put together specifically for this tour. When Paul kicked off the encore with "I've Got A Feeling," John Lennon was virtually there, with footage of him from the rooftop concert on screen and his isolated vocal track from the rooftop performance playing over Paul and the band. Paul said it was an important moment for him; "even though it's virtual, we're singing together again." He sounded genuinely touched.
That moment came towards the end of a nearly-three-hour set from Paul, who just never seems to slow down. To rewind a little, at the advertised start time of 8 PM, the venue projected a half-hour long video reel that mostly featured old Beatles photos, mostly set to Beatles songs. Then, right around 8:30, Paul and his band hit the stage and jumped right into "Can't Buy Me Love." As far as I could tell, every person in that massive stadium got to their feet, and Paul sounded as energized as he did playing that song with The Beatles over 50 years ago. His voice might be a little more grizzled these days, and there's a little less shakin' goin' on, but for the most part, Paul has very much still got it. He told the crowd he'd be playing some old songs, some new songs, and some in-between, and after opening with a stone cold classic, he went for the in-between with two Wings songs, which got a slightly milder reaction (Paul admitted later on in the set that he knows everyone wants to hear Beatles songs), but as always, his 39-song set was very Beatles-heavy, and he played tons of great ones. His horn section breathed new life into "Got To Get You Into My Life," and he did a fiery rendition of "Getting Better" during the portion where he was on electric guitar, which also included a triumphant-as-ever performance of Wings fave "Let Me Roll It" that ended with a nod to Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" (followed by Paul's usual story about Jimi performing "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" at a show just two days after The Beatles had released the song). During his acoustic guitar portion, he did a rousing "I've Just Seen A Face" that inspired a stadium-sized campfire singalong, a song by pre-Beatles band The Quarrymen, and a rendition of "Love Me Do" that had even the most cynical (or tired) concertgoers on their feet. That portion also included a genuinely heart-wrenching "Blackbird," and Paul's lovely John Lennon tribute "Here Today."
Paul gave George Harrison a tribute too, as he's known to do, by breaking out a ukulele that George gifted him, and playing a heartfelt rendition of George's Abbey Road classic "Something." Paul also had some surprises for the night. Being in NJ, he brought out a hometown hero, Bruce Springsteen, and the stadium was filled with "BRUUUUUUUUUUUUCE" chants before Paul could even finish introducing him. Bruce led Paul's band in a version of his own "Glory Days," and after Paul asked him to stick around for one more, he and Paul joined forces for the early Beatles cut "I Wanna Be Your Man." Bruce left, and then it was time for the grand finale: "Let It Be" into a fireworks-and-pyro-filled "Live and Let Die" into an extended "Hey Jude" with Paul letting the crowd take over on the song's neverending hook.
But of course, that wasn't all. Paul returned for a six-song encore (after he and his band hit the stage waving Ukraine, UK, and American flags), beginning with the aforementioned virtual John Lennon duet, and then another surprise NJ guest came out, Jon Bon Jovi, who led the crowd in a "Happy Birthday" singalong for Paul. Then, as probably everyone guessed he would, he went into The Beatles' "Birthday." He then went into "Helter Skelter," and it's really kind of amazing how genuinely hard Paul still rocks when he does that one. And he wrapped things up the way he has for years, with an Abbey Road side B medley, only this time Bruce Springsteen came back out to trade guitar solos with Paul and his band during an extended jam.
More fireworks erupted to close out the night, and then Paul took to the mic and said, "There's only one thing left to say: see you next time!" In an age where so many first-generation classic rockers are going on farewell tours, it's inspiring to see that one of the originators just won't quit. And judging by that MetLife Stadium show, there's no reason he should. Paul McCartney is still one of the best rock concerts you can see, full stop. If you get a chance on the next run, don't take it for granted.
Videos and setlist below...
Paul McCartney @ MetLife Stadium - 6/16/22 Setlist (via)
Can't Buy Me Love (The Beatles song)
Junior's Farm (Wings song)
Letting Go (Wings song)
Got to Get You Into My Life (The Beatles song)
Come On to Me
Let Me Roll It (Wings song, with "Foxy Lady" outro jam)
Getting Better (The Beatles song)
Let 'Em In (Wings song)
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (Wings song)
Maybe I'm Amazed
I've Just Seen a Face (The Beatles song)
In Spite of All the Danger (The Quarrymen song)
Love Me Do (The Beatles song)
Blackbird (The Beatles song)
Lady Madonna (The Beatles song)
Jet (Wings song)
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! (The Beatles song)
Something (The Beatles song)
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles song)
You Never Give Me Your Money (The Beatles song)
She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (The Beatles song)
Get Back (The Beatles song)
Band on the Run (Wings song)
Glory Days (Bruce Springsteen cover) (with Bruce Springsteen)
I Wanna Be Your Man (The Beatles song) (with Bruce Springsteen)
Let It Be (The Beatles song)
Live and Let Die (Wings song)
Hey Jude (The Beatles song)
I've Got a Feeling (The Beatles song, with virtual John Lennon)
Birthday (The Beatles song) (Jon Bon Jovi came out to sing Happy Birthday to Paul before this song)
Helter Skelter (The Beatles song)
Golden Slumbers (The Beatles song)
Carry That Weight (The Beatles song)
The End (The Beatles song) (with Bruce Springsteen)