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Paul McCartney rocks Citi Field

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Nod to Fab 4's first Shea gig as Paul McCartney defies his age at Citi Field concert

Saturday, July 18th 2009, 4:00 AM

alg_mccartney.jpg

Sir Paul rocks Citi Field

Paul wows 'em at theater where Beatles arrived

McCartney's Citi Field concerts recall Fab Four's '65 blowout

The new Citi Field received a Beatle baptism Friday night.

Paul McCartney offered the first musical concert at the sterling new venue, an apt parallel to the Fab Four's historic, kick-off show at Citi Field's predecessor, Shea Stadium, 44 long years ago.

Of course, several key differences between 1965 and today made themselves immediately clear.

This time, everyone could hear. And the only "girls" who screamed were gently prompted by Paul.

As a further reference to history, Paul brought out a special guest at one point - Billy Joel, who last summer closed down the crumbling Shea.

Together they performed a song from the '65 performance, "I Saw Her Standing There."

Still, the focus at Friday night's event didn't rest solely in the past.

If ancient Beatles' songs ate up much of the set-list, the performance itself offered a present tense lesson in the enduring power of melody.

From the very first number - "Drive My Car" - McCartney demonstrated the unending value of well-honed tunes matched to beats that kick.

Sir Paul remains the premier tunesmith of the last half century, and when he performs those tunes with verve, as he did Friday night, their fluidity never ceases to excite.

Paul's voice - particularly his flighty falsetto - remained boyishly strong throughout, showing not a trace of his improbable 67 years.

The star also benefitted from a particularly fit backup band.

They mimicked the Fab Four's harmonies with care, while drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. put in particularly muscular work as a support.

Paul also took time out to honor the two late Beatles at the show.

He acknowledged John with an acoustic song he wrote some years back, "Here Today."

To salute George, he played "Something" with the quiet Beatle's favored ukulele.

Paul even made a good case for some of his lesser known solo material, including "Only Mama Knows," with its sweet harmonies and serrated guitars.

But, naturally, the Beatles' songs made the greatest impression, including "I'm Down," which he'd done in '65.

Of course, the music reads very differently today. What arose in '65 as the gateway to a new world now reads as an ode to warmth and comfort.

Thankfully, Friday night's show displayed why this music has provided so much comfort to so many, for so long.

jfarber@nydailynews.com

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Wow...he's still going strong at 67...I love it! Other than TPATH, his concert is my all-time favourite! He really is amazing and I hope he continues on. A very nice article...thanks for sharing it Beth. :)

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when i 1st started watching these video's, i was hoping to see 2 drum sets on stage, meaning that ringo might show up. would have been nice if he was there to play on at least "something" for george and "a day in the life" for john.

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