Darren DeVivo, a deejay and announcer for over 30 years at WFUV-FM in New York, was in the audience when Paul McCartney's “One On One Tour” made its only stop in the New York City metropolitan area Aug. 7 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. “It was the first time that McCartney has played at MetLife Stadium, but not the first time he has performed at the Meadowlands,” he said. “He appeared at both Giants Stadium and the Izod Center formerly known as the Continental Airlines Arena.” It was McCartney's first concert in the area since his two dates at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2013.
DeVivo said the evening began with more than a half hour of remixed Beatles, Wings and solo Paul songs as multi-colored, psychedelic images were displayed on the stage’s two video screens. “At almost exactly 8:30, the stadium lights came down, the stage was illuminated and Sir Paul McCartney and his band took the stage. Opening the show with 'A Hard Day’s Night' was one of a few surprises that McCartney added to his repertoire for this current tour,” he said. Two other additions to the set list were 'Love Me Do,' the Beatles’ first single, and 'You Won’t See Me.'”
“McCartney delivered a typically celebratory 2 1/2 hour show that featured dozens of magical moments,” he said. “From this fan’s standpoint, though, the proceedings early on seemed to be vaguely off kilter. Paul’s energy level appeared to be somewhat restrained at first, possibly a consequence of the audience’s reserved temperament. The crowd’s reticent mood may have been the result of the slightly chaotic song arrangement at the start of the show, with 'Save Us, from Paul’s latest album New, placed in between 'A Hard Day’s Night' and 'Can’t Buy Me Love,' created a mildly disjointed opening.”
That was then followed by “Letting Go,” a mid ‘70s hit for Wings, and the electronic techno confection, “Temporary Secretary,” from McCartney II. “While these two songs will cause most hard core Maccaphile’s mouths to water, they might only receive a polite reaction from the casual fan,” DeVivo said.
The full show, however, was a triumphant celebration of McCartney’s legend. “Paul switched from bass to acoustic guitar, electric guitar and piano through the night. He even brought out a ukulele for “Something,” performed as his tribute to George Harrison. And he honored his current wife, Nancy, with a performance of 'My Valentine' and paid tribute to his first wife, Linda, with 'Maybe I’m Amazed' and John Lennon with 'Here Today.'” The setlist alternated between ballads and rockers, acoustic and electric and new and familiar. The power of McCartney’s songbook was on full display, he said.
“Through the years, McCartney hasn’t changed his between song banter much and this tour is no different. The quality of his voice, which has become a growing concern in recent years, was occasionally uneven, especially on songs like 'Maybe I’m Amazed' and 'I’ve Got A Feeling.' But he was often able to successfully navigate his vocals through the songs, with his voice seemingly getting better and stronger as the night wore on. Even at the age of 74,” DeVivo says, “it seems that Paul McCartney still has plenty of music left inside him.”