Are you going to see the Stones? Might be their last time around?” It was one of the most pressing questions in 1989 after “Steel Wheels” was released. Mick Jagger was 46. Paul McCartney, now 74, just wrapped a world tour yet again and no one has so much as hinted he is near the end of his road days.

In fact, his tours are now more of an expectation than a countdown to retirement. The “One On One” trek around the globe has featured McCartney playing Beatles classics solo for the first time and deep cuts into his own catalog.  But let’s face it, when five generations of fans go to a McCartney show, they want to hear music from arguably the best band in history. And they got their wish in Cleveland on this final show. 22 of the massive 38 song set list were classics by the Fab Four.  Ironically, McCartney has played longer with this touring band than The Beatles and it is evident. The telepathic connection among the players is extraordinary. Whether it’s the sublime control over the arrangements which McCartney steers the band through or the precise musical interplay between guitarist/bassist Brian Ray and guitarist Rusty Anderson, the band is always in sync.

He started off with a scorching version of the classic “Hard Day’s Night” and proceeded to deliver a show that alternated between intimate and explosive stopping only once to take off his jacket which he deemed “The only wardrobe change of the night; ‘Seriously, that was it, he quipped.” His solo stints on piano were mesmerizing, particularly the moving dedication to wife Linda to introduce “Maybe I’m Amazed.” And later with “Let It Be.” The arena morphed into the feel of a small unplugged session during the dual classics. Later on, the full throttle version of “Live And Let Die,” complete with pyro and a James Bond-esque short action film in the background challenged the structural integrity of LeBron’s house.

There was concern prior to the start of the tour about the choice of Wings material that might be perceived as filler. But after “Jet” four songs in, it was clear that the more pop oriented 1970s material was going to fare just fine. “Band On The Run” was a 15,000 strong collective sing a -long.


Quite simply, there are almost no shows or musicians capable of pulling off this kind of a concert. If you weren’t alive to see the original band change the world, McCartney makes you feel were there. The Hubble Space Telescope is still searching for answers to the universe. Like most celestial events, you are lucky if you get to see one once in a lifetime. Concrete evidence of rock and pop music’s big bang shot through Quicken Loans Arena Thursday and if you were inside, you got to see modern music’s origin.

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