||Following a seven week summer hiatus, Paul McCartney and his band returned to the stage, launching the current leg of their "One On One" Tour with two shows at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, which began on Monday September 11th. The venue is a short train ride across the river from New York’s Madison Square Garden, where they would be taking the stage a few days later for an additional two shows.
A somber day on the calendar, especially in the NY/NJ area, so Paul addressed the anniversary early on, dedicating the show to "those we lost on that day" 16 years earlier. He did not, however, reprise the song he wrote in the wake of the attacks, “Freedom”, as many suspected he might.
The extended holiday did wonders for his voice, which was well rested and in fine form. The band tore through the standard tour set list, which showed little deviation from last time Paul was in town, barely a year earlier, with just two songs swapped out from the August 2016 repertoire: “Here There and Everywhere” and “The Fool On The Hill” were dropped, with “I Wanna Be Your Man” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in their stead. For the former, Paul told the story of how he and John came to give that song to the Rolling Stones back in 1963 (quick! Someone get him a Mark Lewisohn book!) and for the latter, he did acknowledge the 50th anniversary celebration we’ve all been immersed in this summer.
One of Paul’s band members, Paul “Wix” Wickens noted that they had some surprises in store, given the likely number of frequent fliers (“The Fans On The Run” and others …) likely to see multiple shows during the eight-show run in the area. Beyond the two shows each in Newark and the Garden, pairs of shows take place at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, and the Barclay’s Center in Joe J’s hometown and garden spot of the world, Brooklyn USA.
Paul noted from the Garden stage that "New York has many special memories" for him, and he had many friends and family in the audience. To mark the occasion, he added a medley of “A Day In The Life” and “Give Peace A Chance” to the middle of the set list. The spirit of John Lennon was very much in the room, as it was during the acoustic performance of “Here Today”.
In addition, by the time the show rolled into the Garden on Friday, the following set list changes had been made:
“Save Us”, “Letting Go”, “Temporary Secretary”, “We Can Work It Out”, “Hi, Hi, Hi” and “Birthday” were replaced with “Junior’s Farm”, “Jet”, “All My Loving”, “I’ve Just Seen A Face”, “Helter Skelter” and “I Saw Her Standing There”. For the latter, Paul was joined onstage by local hero Bruce Springsteen and his sidekick "Little" Steven Van Zant, bringing the crowd to a frenzy. Two takes were done, presumably as a “safety” measure for possible release or web posting, or other editing.
After the New York appearances through September, the tour heads out to Detroit before taking the show to Mexico, South America, Australia and New Zealand for the remainder of the year.
Stay tuned and keep listening to Beatle Brunch for more updates on the "One on One" tour.