Paul McCartney made 55,000 concertgoers feel like the luckiest people in the world Sunday night as he brought his "One on One" tour to MetLife Stadium, performing over three dozen songs in a rousing and rocking show. Grown men were screaming "I love you!" and people were even hugging the security staff when the show was over.
Superlatives seem cliché when talking about a Legend, but the 74-year-old Macca deserves them. He and his exceptional band— Rusty Anderson (guitar), Abe Laboriel, Jr. (drums), Paul Wickens (keyboards) and Brian Ray (guitar and bass)—didn't just play songs, they delivered a master class in arena concerts, with impeccable playing and incredible energy. If you've ever played a Beatles or Wings album, then that's pretty much how it sounded in East Rutherford—a flawless living jukebox.
After playing an intimate version of "Blackbird"—well, as intimate as you can get when one is on a hydraulically elevated stage surrounded by video screens—he mentioned how all over the world, people tell him how they learned to play the song. "How many of you learned to play 'Blackbird'?" he asked the crowd. Thousands of hands raised. McCartney paused and said, "And you all got it wrong." My husband nodded—he raised his hand and thought he knew how to play it... until he saw the monitors showing close-ups of McCartney playing it.
The setlist included many Beatles classics and deep cuts, plus a song from his Quarrymen days, as well Wings favorites ("Live and Let Die" turned the concert into a KISS spectacle for a few minutes, with fire and fireworks) and newer songs, like an ode to his wife, former MTA board member Nancy Shevell, "My Valentine"; "Queenie Eye"; and his collaboration with Rihanna and Kanye West, "Four Five Seconds."
He did remark, "When we play an old Beatles song, your phones light up like a galaxy... When we play a new one, it's like a black hole." Then he said, "Well, here's another black hole," before playing another more recent song.
But the phones lit up when there was a singalong for "Hey, Jude."
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McCartney's banter was engaging throughout the night: At one point he admitted that he tries not to read the signs in the crowd while playing, lest he forget lyrics or a chord. Then he proceeded to read the signs: "'Sign my butt'?!" he said, in a wounded voice, before asserting, "Let's have a look at it."
By the way, getting to MetLife Stadium by way of NJ Transit is fine once you accept that you'll be swept into a slightly stinky mass of humanity at Penn Station: You take a train to Seacaucus, where you transfer for a shuttle to MetLife Stadium, where you are treated to a temporary view of the NYC skyline with that skinny middle finger. There is walking involved, as you go up and down stairs to train platforms or walk to the stadium's entrances, but it's efficient and way easier than driving and definitely cheaper than getting an Uber.