paul mccartney

McCartney opened the show on bass, greeting the crowd with excitement. 

Paul McCartney knows how to hold a crowd.

Opening his Paul McCartney Got Back Tour at the Spokane Arena on Thursday, fans sold out the show when tickets were first released the month prior. Spokane Arena offered some tickets on sale at the box office earlier today, with most going for $300 per ticket. 

McCartney humbly walked on stage to start out the show, bringing the energy with his bass and  “Can’t Buy Me Love.” His humble posture continued throughout the show, continuously thanking the crowd for joining him on tour and creating a sense of community through the crowd.

Alongside McCartney was his longtime band of Paul “Wix” Wickens on keyboards, Brian Ray on bass/guitar, Rusty Anderson on guitar and Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums. Consistent instrument solos centered their talent, allowing them to shine in their own right on tracks typically centered around the lyrics.

In between the Beatles, McCartney classics and newer hits, McCartney recounted stories of fellow rock legends as it related to the set. His brief guitar cover of “Foxey Lady” paid homage to the late Jimi Hendrix, allowing the crowd to soak in the music before telling a story about Hendrix on tour. 

A true renaissance man, McCartney rotated instruments throughout the night, changing between acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, two pianos, mandolin and ukulele. A jazz trio of a saxophone, trombone and trumpet came out when needed to perform on songs, and even had some solos of their own. 

The band members added their own flair to the show, with drummer Laboriel Jr. getting out of his seat and dancing when he wasn’t required to play. 

The set largely remained the same, but featured rotating visuals ranging from psychedelic shapes to an animated version of the Beatles performing. McCartney kept the crowd engaged with a mix of tunes from across his discography performed with the highest energy. 

He seamlessly weaves sentimentality with folk rock, taking the piano for the first time during the set to sing “My Valentine” to his wife, Nancy, who was sitting in the crowd. Midway through, McCartney took the stage alone on a raised platform, performing “Blackbird” and “Here Today” alone with an acoustic guitar. The crowd reacted to the shift, with loud screams being replaced by soft singing. 

After touring for the majority of his adult life, McCartney has perfected the act of guiding the crowd through a show. After recounting the somber story behind “Here Today,” he brought the energy back up to that the level of the opening song.

“Come on now, give me a Beatles scream!” McCartney said.

McCartney quipped about his age throughout the show, jokingly thanking the grandparents for keeping him relevant. Through anecdotes and quips to audience members, McCartney forged a sense of community within the arena. 

Ending the main set with “Hey Jude,” the crowd lit up the arena with flashlights and synchronous singing. McCartney played with the crowd during the song before the band took a bow, saying goodnight to Spokane.

Of course, no show ends at the first bow. 

McCartney, Wix, Ray, Anderson and Laboriel Jr. came out waving various flags, including Ukraine, Washington State, America and the United Kingdom. McCartney extracted Lennon’s voice to sing with him for “I’ve Got A Feeling,” livening the crowd before bringing the show to a close.

McCartney ended the show on the same humble note he opened it with, thanking the crowd for being there and wishing everyone peace and love. 

Sydney Fluker is an A&E editor. Follow them on Twitter: @sydneymfluker.