Paul ’s “Out There” tour stopped at Tulsa’s BOK Center tonight for the first of a two-night stint celebrating the arena’s fifth birthday.
He gave his fans what they came for, with a set including nearly three dozen hits over 2½ hours. Fans shot to their feet, clapping and cheering, twisting and singing, as McCartney blasted into “Eight Days a Week.”
Grown women cried. Their husbands held them tight as Macca let loose the soundtrack of rock ’n’ roll history.
Video of the Fab Four — Paul himself, John, George and Ringo — looped behind him on huge screens as he bopped through “All My Loving.”
An elaborate, high-definition, synchronized light show and high-definition live video amplified Paul to fit his larger-than-life stature. He hit Wings, the funky “Listen to What the Man Said,” and rock-riffy “Let Me Roll It,” his four-piece supporting band in harmony with the mood of the night.
His voice strong, his stature strait-backed, the affable British Invasion pioneer thanked the crowd for the warm welcome, then thanked them for “having me back.”
He told of his love for historic Route 66 and his travels through Oklahoma in an old ’80s Bronco with his late-wife, Linda, hitting the dives and the “posh spots” along the way.
Paul also noted the wide span of ages in the audiences, from “people my age to their children and their children’s children.”
New and old melded, time forgotten, with songs including “My Valentine,” “The Long and Winding Road,” “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “We Can Work it Out,” “Blackbird” and several songs at his grand piano: “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five,” “The Long and Winding Road,” “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “We Can Work It Out” and “Another Day.”
“Paperback Writer” was rowdier, louder, tighter than any version I’ve ever heard — Paul in his element, beaming, his guitarists swinging their instruments in front of oversized amps for distortion, the crowd ecstatic. “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” pinwheeled with happiness, the crowd bouncing back and forth, pogo-dancing, singing the chorus without any lead from Paul.
Much of this production is unlike his previous tours. It has bigger, deeper tracks and brilliant, often psychedelic video imagery that spans his career.
The set grew and grew, including “Lady Madonna,” “All Together Now,” “Lovely Rita” (the first time he’s allayed the song in Oklahoma, he said), “Mrs. Vanderbilt,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Live and Let Die,” “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” “Band on the Run” and “And I Love Her.” On it went.
He played his soul-etching lament of American civil rights struggles in the 1960s, “Blackbird,” just him and a guitar. A woman handed a packet of tissues down an aisle, eyes moist. Down the aisle it went until it was nearly empty.
There were tributes to Beatles who have passed, John and George, with “Here Today,” written about his love for the band’s famed co-writer John, and “Something,” written by George and often named by Paul as one of the best songs George ever wrote.
And with another concert — one to raise funds for tornado relief in central Oklahoma — happening at the same time down the turnpike in Oklahoma City, Paul gave a nod to those who were affected.
“We would like to dedicate this song to those here who have suffered through the recent tragedy in Oklahoma,” he said as he took to his piano for the emotive “Let it Be” in the midst of a standing ovation.
The fans: Fans from near and far, young and old, filled the BOK Center for the show. Too Live and Let Die and Hey Jude.