Sir Paul McCartney made New Orleans the first stop on his latest North American tour, and from what the fans at the sold-out Smoothie King Center witnessed, it probably won't be his last. McCartney and his four-piece band rolled through nearly three hours and thirty-nine songs in fine form, pulling songs from all seven decades of his legendary career.
From 1958 as a member of The Quarrymen, he dug out "In Spite of All the Danger" midway through the show, opened with their 1964 hit "A Hard Day's Night," threw in a couple of Wings classics like "Live and Let Die," busted out a few of his solo standards like "Maybe I'm Amazed," dropped in a couple of songs off his latest album, "Egyptian Station," and finished with ten straight Beatles classics (like isn't every Beatles song a classic?)
Along the journey, McCartney deftly transitioned from bass to guitar to keyboards while his silky-smooth voice still had what it takes to captivate an arena-sized audience. The laser light show and video monitors were expertly crafted, and the backing band was tight throughout the night. The crowd appreciated every moment, standing during most of the show, and singing along to "Hey Jude," the final song of the set.
As if he didn't give us enough of a night, McCartney came back on stage for a six-song encore that included "Birthday," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," Helter Skelter," "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight," and the appropriately-named "The End."
While other legends like Elton John and Paul Simon are finishing up their final tours, Sir Paul seemed like he had enough energy and moxie to go another five to ten years. While I'll never know what inspires these men to continue on well past their prime, it is always a pleasure when the show equals its expectations. There wasn't a fan in the Arena that left disappointed, and for those that can afford the hefty price tag, I'm sure they are eagerly anticipating his next tour stop through the Crescent City.