Rock could not ask for a better senior statesman than Paul McCartney, who packed the best of nearly six decades of his legendary career into his One on One tour stop at Nassau Coliseum Tuesday night, even bringing out Billy Joel for part of the encore.
For his first Long Island show in 15 years, the 75-year-old McCartney rolled through almost three hours of memories with no break, brimming with energy as he delivered everything from “In Spite of All the Danger” from his pre-Beatles band The Quarrymen to “FourFiveSeconds,” his collaboration with Kanye West and Rihanna, even doing a bit of a Kanye impression.
“I’ve got a feeling we’re going to have some fun,” he said before a crisp version of “Can’t Buy Me Love,” buoyed by the harmonies of his exceptional four-piece backing band.
McCartney was in fine voice and even better spirits, telling stories of his past and even offering some insight into his songwriting process as he showed how The Beatles classic “You Won’t See Me” was born.
McCartney also explained how he wrote “Blackbird” to offer hope to those in the South during the Civil Rights movement of the ‘60s, before delivering a gorgeous version of the classic alone atop at 20-foot platform.
“We know which songs you like . . . the place lights up like a galaxy of stars with your phones,” he said, joking about fans’ love of older material. “When we play a new song, it’s like a black hole.”
As he has for years, McCartney pays tribute to the late Beatles, John Lennon and George Harrison, with tender remembrances, as well as his late wife, Linda, and producer George Martin.
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McCartney, who lives in East Hampton with wife Nancy Shevell, also dedicated “My Valentine” to her in the crowd.
But McCartney still manages to bring plenty of surprises. Joel, wearing his Hicksville High School baseball cap, was all smiles as he joined McCartney for raucous versions of “Get Back” and “Birthday.” McCartney also threw in the bit of Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” at the end of “Let Me Roll It” and the poignant falsetto and hip-shaking he added to the end of “And I Love Her.”
No matter what style of music he plays, McCartney — who returns to Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday, the last of his six area shows this month — is the portrait of a man enjoying where he has been in his life and looking forward to where he is heading.
SETLIST: A Hard Day’s Night / Junior’s Farm / Can’t Buy Me Love / Jet / All My Loving / Let Me Roll It >Foxy Lady / I’ve Got a Feeling / My Valentine / Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five / Maybe I’m Amazed / We Can Work It Out / In Spite of All the Danger / You Won’t See Me / Love Me Do / And I Love Her / Blackbird / Here Today / Queenie Eye / New / Lady Madonna / FourFiveSeconds / Eleanor Rigby / I Wanna Be Your Man / Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! / Something / A Day in the Life >Give Peace a Chance / Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da / Band on the Run / Back in the USSR / Let It Be / Live and Let Die / Hey Jude // ENCORE: Yesterday / Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / Helter Skelter / Get Back (w/Billy Joel) / Birthday (w/Billy Joel) / Golden Slumbers >Carry That Weight >The End