Let it be known: Paul McCartney plays no favorites when it comes to stadiums.
Two summers ago he gave a ribbon-cutting concert at Citi Field (next door to the site of a certain band's seminal '60s show at Shea). Friday night he gave equal play to the Yankees' home in the Bronx.
Of course, Sir Paul has anchored his persona on an eagerness to please, evidenced not only in his ubiquity as a live performer but in his fantasy-fulfilling set lists.
Last night's show in the Bronx represented the (still) cute Beatle's third official concert in the New York area in just 24 months, including another iconic stop at The Apollo. (He plays another show at the Yankees' home tonight). If that makes an appearance by him less than rare, it takes nothing away from what has become McCartney's prime contemporary function.
Essentially, it's a preservationist one.
McCartney's shows act as living museums, the last faithful recreations of what many see as pop culture's most sacred catalogue.
The ex-Beatle fulfilled that function gamely last night, starting with the psychedelic bauble "Hello Goodbye," before moving swiftly into the far more brisk Wings' hit "Junior's Farm."
McCartney acknowledged the setting early on - if with typical cheek. "By the way, who's this Derek Jeter guy?" he said. "Somebody said he has more hits than me."
Last night, it didn't feel that way. Beatles touchstones from "All My Lovin'" to "Drive My Car" nudged up against surgically-selected Wings hits like "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five" and "Let Me Roll It."
McCartney performed with the same tight and tidy foursome he has used for some years now. They had fun playing with the curt rhythms of "Paperback Writer," as well as punching out the riffs of McCartney's answer to glam in "Jet." He sounded purest in an acoustic section with songs like 'Blackbird," "I Will," and a moving ukulele take on George's "Something."
The star offered a rare new song in "The Fireman," which earned its place with its ticklish riffs and anthemic chorus. He even brought out one Beatles' tune he claimed he'd never played live before: "The Night Before." Indeed, it sounded here like it just came out of the box, shiny and new.
McCartney's continued ability to perform such key material so gracefully makes his shows more than just worthy entertainment. They're a kind of public service.Last Updated: 07/16/11 10:28