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McCartney concert brings back fond Beatles memories

@ByName:

PAUL McCARTNEY

At the Worcester Centrum.

Feb. 8 and 9.

ON FEB. 9, 1964, Paul opened the show not with a song, but with an 11-minute film of significant world events of the past 25 years, accompanied by a soundtrack of Beatles, Wings, and McCartney songs. To add to the nostalgic ambience, Paul chose Richard Lester to direct this film, the same man who directed Paul and his three bandmates in A Hard Day's Night

26 years earlier.

McCartney played a wide variety of songs representing each phase of his musical career: Beatles, Wings, and solo. Although he mixed the songs well, there was no hiding who his favorite musical children were -- those Beatles songs. McCartney, backed by wife Linda on keyboards, ex-Pretender Robbie McIntosh on lead guitar, ex-Average White Band member Hamish Stuart on guitar and backup vocals, Wix Wickens of Chris Thompson & the Islands also on keyboards, and Chris Witten of Julian Cope's band on drums, began the concert with "Figure of Eight" from his current album Flowers in the Dirt

.

McCartney played most of his songs from Flowers At appropriate moments, McCartney slowed down the pace with a few of his Beatles and solo ballads. The crowd sat spellbound as McCartney delivered a majestic "Let It Be." Cigarette lighters lit up and people swayed to Paul's clear and soothing voice. The audience reacted similarly to "My Love," "The Long and Winding Road," and "Yesterday." "Hey Jude" united the arm-over-arm crowd with a grand 10-minute coda.

Paul also entertained the crowd with surprising stage gimmicks. Most notable were the smoke bombs exploding at just the right moments in "Live and Let Die," the psychedelic lava lamp-like film shown during "Sgt. Pepper," and the piano rising 15 feet out of the stage during "Fool on the Hill." If that weren't impressive enough, the piano tower rotated when Paul sang the lines " . . . sees the world spinning 'round."

McCartney's show brought back fond memories for many people in the audience. The crowd came to hear the Beatles, and Paul delivered. Paul enjoyed reviving his old material, too. Playing the Beatles songs he co-wrote seemed to be the catharsis he needed to accept deep-down that he was part of the Beatles legacy -- something he should be proud of.