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Paul McCartney amazes at Tulsa's BOK Center

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” — The Beatles, “The End”

TULSA — Well before the end, it was clear that Sir Paul McCartney was taking and making plenty of love at the BOK Center Thursday night.

Whether he was conjuring romance with his tender new ballad “My Valentine,” pulling out all the stops on a rowdy Beatles classic like “Back in the U.S.S.R.” or sending one out to the Wings fans, baby, we were amazed. No maybe about it.

In honor of the venue’s fifth anniversary, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, 70, played two consecutive hit-filled nights at the Tulsa arena. As with Wednesday’s concert, Thursday’s stop on the music icon’s “Out There Tour” was a sellout.

The second gig of McCartney’s two-night Tulsa stand constituted a full-on rock ‘n’ roll spectacle, an almost three-hour revelry filled with flaming pyrotechnics, kaleidoscopic lights and high-tech, psychedelic video wizardry. But more importantly, it was filled with incredible, enduring songs from the Guinness World Records-setting most successful composer and recording artist of all time.

Not only did the sprawling set list range from the wistful Beatles standard “Yesterday” to Fab Four’s proto-head-banger “Helter Skelter,” it featured them back to back. During the second encore.

McCartney took the stage with his trademark boyish grin, waving his arms and playfully pointing to the unabashedly adoring audience before strapping on the first of many guitars. Dressed in a royal blue jacket and black pants, the Brit bopped through an opening salvo of prime Beatles and Wings material: “Eight Days a Week,” “Junior’s Farm,” “All My Loving” and “Listen to What the Man Said” before stripping off the jacket to reveal a white button-down shirt underneath.

“That is the only wardrobe change of the evening,” he declared, flashing another charming smile.

“It’s great to be back in Tulsa, and I’ll tell you what else: This evening I just got made an honorary Okie. All right.”

Music and charm seemed to flow out of Macca with equal ease and in equal measure: The Wings cut “Let Me Roll It” led into an instrumental version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady,” which in turn led into an enthralling story about the late guitarist’s wild cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” that got his guitar so out of tune even Eric Clapton wouldn’t even try to sort it out.

McCartney topped that by strapping on the guitar he played on the original recording of one of my all-time favorite Beatles songs, “Paperback Writer,” and racing through a rendition even more raucous than the album cut. McCartney has been playing with the same band — Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens (keyboards), Rusty Anderson (guitar), Abe Laboriel Jr. (drums) and Brian Ray (bass/guitar) — for more than a decade, and their chemistry is outmatched by only their musicianship.

When the superstar sat at his grand piano for the first time — but thankfully, not the last — the band smoothly accompanied him in another fascinating career-spanning series: “My Valentine,”  “The Long and Winding Road” and “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Pounding the keys like a masterful madman on “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five” wasn’t enough for the energetic Sir Paul, who boogied on the bench throughout the number and then did a little victory dance after. He had to retuck his shirt when he switched back to guitar for the moody “Things We Said Today,” the fan favorite “We Can Work It Out,” the melancholy “Another Day” and the dreamy “And I Love Her.”

Sir Paul McCartney plays the BOK Center in Tulsa Wednesday May 29, 2013. Photo by Vernon Gowdy III, for The Oklahoman
Sir Paul McCartney plays the BOK Center in Tulsa Wednesday May 29, 2013.
Photo by Vernon Gowdy III, forThe Oklahoman

“One of the things that we love about these shows is the range of ages we see. You see people my age or even older. And then you see their kids and their kids again. It’s really cool,” McCartney said.

Last Updated: 06/02/13 09:48
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News Summary

Whether he was conjuring romance with his tender new ballad “My Valentine,” pulling out all the stops on a rowdy Beatles classic like “Back in the U.S.S.R.” or sending one out to the Wings fans, baby, we were amazed. No maybe about it.