By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – From the moment that first familiar chord was struck on “A Hard Day’s Night” the audience was on their feet to celebrate the return of Sir Paul McCartney to Chesapeake Energy Arena on July 18. The One On One Tour was the 75 year old Beatle’s first time back in Oklahoma City since 2002.
Paul’s One On One Tour opened April 13, 2016 in Fresno, California.
Although the concert began a bit late, the audience had been treated to newly modernized Beatle tunes played by DJ / Chicago musician Chris Holmes, that stirred the memories of this fan of 53 years.
The show opened with giant images of that famous left-handed instrument we all know so well. When McCartney and his band arrived, as he waved his iconic Hofner Violin bass guitar over the crowd as we were treated to one of the most outstanding musical performances Oklahoma City has ever hosted.
The Beatles first hit the U.S. airways in 1964, before many of the fans in attendance were born. The two young guys in front of me appeared to be just as thrilled with each note as I was. The age diversity of the audience showed how McCartney’s unique style is popular across several generations.
State of the art audio and video technology was overwhelmingly on display including massive screens, lasers, and pyrotechnics, along with nostalgic images of the Beatles from those memorable and sometimes melancholy times gone by – but my eyes seemed fixed on Paul.
I was on the floor in the 11th row where the packed audience around me never sat down until over halfway through the three-hour show. Cell phones were raised as lyrics to every song were sung by dedicated Beatlemaniacs. In a time of divisiveness, McCartney brought together people to mutually enjoy his spectacular and unforgettable performance.
McCartney’s outstanding band has been with him for fifteen years since the 2002 “Driving World” tour. Band members include guitarists Brian Ray and Rusty Anderson, drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and keyboardist Wix Wickens.
According to the Associated Press, Sir Paul had the seventh-highest grossing tour in 2016 with $110.6 million taken in with 867,712 tickets sold.
As reported in the Oklahoman by Nathan Poppe, McCartney made history during this Oklahoma City stop by breaking his own record for the biggest show at Chesapeake Energy Arena attracting 13,040 guests.
McCartney wowed the audience with 39 tunes from his earliest Beatle days through his Wings years to his more recent solo efforts, that showed he still is the creative boy from Liverpool he’s always been.
Both joy and tears swept over me as McCartney crooned and belted out songs to his adoring crowd, including Beatle favorites “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “We Can Work It Out,” “Love Me Do,” “Blackbird” “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “The Fool on the Hill,” “Lady Madonna,” “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Let It Be,” “Hey Jude,” and “Something,” which he dedicated to his friend and Beatle mate, the late George Harrison.
“Here Today” from McCartney’s solo album “Tug of War” was dedicated to his famous Beatle co-writer the the late John Lennon, as Paul reminded us to tell people we love them today rather than waiting until it may be too late.
Some of my favorite McCartney tunes performed from his Wings period were “Letting Go,” “Let Me Roll It To You,” “Nineteen Hundred and Eight Five,” “Band on the Run,” and an explosive, fire hot version of “Live and Let Die,” which raised the room temperature several degrees.
– And this reporter thinks his voice is still one of the most beautiful and recognizable in my lifetime…a rather lengthy period.
Poppe noted another moment that also struck me that showed McCartney’s humility and sense of humor when he said that “The difference between a crowd’s reaction to a Beatles song and his newer solo material such as ‘Queenie Eye’ is; when it’s a Beatles song, the crowd lights up like a starry night, but with a new song it looks like a black hole.” He added, “Nevertheless, we still do them.”
After nearly three hours’ worth of the greatest moments from the last 50 years of music, the encore kept the audience going with some of the crowd’s all-time favorites, “Yesterday,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” Hi, Hi, Hi,” “Birthday,” “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” and “The End.”
But it really isn’t. We have McCartney’s music to carry us through the rest of our lives and undoubtedly into future generations. Thank you Sir Paul!
Paul described the title of the tour by saying, “When I do the show, I feel like I’m kind of talking to someone like me in the audience, even though you’re at the back of the hall, we try and bring the intimacy to you. It’s me, one-on-one, with every member of the audience.”
And it was….I’ve been lucky enough to see Paul in concert four times now and this was his best show ever. I encourage anyone who can to attend the One On One Tour – a once in a lifetime experience – which continues in several US cities and abroad through December.
Although Poppe noted that Ringo wasn’t mentioned during the show, Paul will be collaborating on Starr’s next album, “Give More Love.” And Ringo will play with his All-Starr Band in November at the Winstar Casino in Thackerville.
Paul’s always sweet demeanor and charming British personality makes it appear that performing for three hours is second nature and an effortless breeze for my favorite Beatle!
For future tour dates, visit paulmccartney.com/live.