In a show that took place two days before his 80th birthday, and concluded the spring leg of his Got Back Tour, Paul McCartney welcomed Bruce Springsteen as a special, unannounced guest at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, June 16.
In the show’s biggest surprise, McCartney stepped into a supporting role for Springsteen’s “Glory Days,” playing bass and singing backing vocals until the end, when he exchanged call-and-response “All right!”s and “Oh yeah!”s with Springsteen before singing a bit of the song himself. They then sang and played a feverishly fast version of The Beatles hit “I Wanna Be Your Man” (originally sung by Ringo, but why not?) together.
Later, during the show’s encores, Springsteen returned to play guitar on “The End,” trading brief, hard-hitting solos with McCartney and the two guitarists in McCartney’s band, Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray.
You can watch videos of all three songs below.
Also during the encores, Jon Bon Jovi jumped onstage, before McCartney sang the Beatles song “Birthday”: He presented McCartney with balloons and led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday to You.” There is a video below of that, too.
Of course, even without all of that, it would have been a phenomenal show. McCartney’s voice did show a little strain at times, but he’s still got a catalog like no other rock star and performs with remarkable boyish enthusiasm. He even made the touch of frailty in his voice work for him, at times, such as in the heartfelt, plainspoken ballad, “Here Today.” And when the show hit its stride, about two thirds of the way through — with “Jet” and “Band on the Run” and “Hey Jude” and “Let It Be” and so many other hits — it was hard to feel anything but awe.
Peter Jackson, who directed the revelatory Beatles documentary “Get Back” (which debuted on Disney+ last year), prepared some footage to be played on this tour during the song of that name, and also prepared a video with John Lennon’s voice isolated, for McCartney to duet with, during “I’ve Got a Feeling.”
McCartney described the duet as “special for me. I know it’s just virtual, but here we are, we’re singing together again.”
“I’ve Got a Feeling” was the show’s first encore, and was preceded by McCartney returning to the stage, waving a Ukrainian flag. Another memorable moment.
It was an unusually cool evening, and there was some rain, but only briefly. Most of it came during the song “Live and Let Die,” which featured some pyrotechnics, as it usually does on a McCartney tour. I was sitting close enough to the stage that when the firebombs went off, I could feel the heat. Simultaneously, the skies opened up, and the concert became a unique sensory experience.
McCartney has been playing similar setlists for years, but a new addition, for this tour, is the “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window/You Never Give Me Your Money” portion of the Abbey Road medley.
I also want to mention that McCartney made good use of Abe Laboriel Jr., with the drummer contributing to the show not only with his rock-solid playing, but with his personality. Laboriel’s goofy dancing helped turn “Dance Tonight” — one of McCartney’s slightest songs, honestly — into a highlight, and he also provided extra amusement during “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” mugging for the camera.
Hmmm, a drummer with show-stealing personality. Where have I seen that before?
The show lasted nearly three hours, ending with fireworks, before which McCartney told the crowd, “There only remains one thing to be said: We’ll see you next time.”
Here is the show’s setlist and, below it, videos of “Glory Days,” “I Wanna Be Your Man” and “The End”:
“Can’t Buy Me Love”
“Got to Get You Into My Life”
“Come On to Me”
“Let Me Roll It”
“Let ‘Em In”
“Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five”
“Maybe I’m Amazed”
“I’ve Just Seen a Face”
“In Spite of All the Danger”
“Love Me Do”
“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”
“You Never Give Me Your Money/She Came in Through the Bathroom Window”
“Band on the Run”
“Glory Days” (with Bruce Springsteen)
“I Wanna Be Your Man” (with Bruce Springsteen)
“Let It Be”
“Live and Let Die”
“I’ve Got a Feeling”
“Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/You Never Give Me Your Money (reprise)/The End (with Bruce Springsteen)”
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