Beatles Reunite As Ringo Starr Joins Paul McCartney Onstage In London

Beatles fans received an early Christmas present last night as the two surviving Beatles, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, played together onstage for the first time since Ringo’s 2015 inauguration into the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame, for the first time since 2002’s Concert For George in the U.K., and for only the tenth time onstage (and only second time before a paying audience in the U.K.) since the Beatles split in 1970*

The O2 Arena is no stranger to a reunion, with Led Zeppelin and members of Pink Floyd having chosen the venue in previous years, but this was nevertheless hugely unexpected.

The first clue came just before McCartney took the stage for the final U.K. date on his Freshen Up tour in support of this year’s Egypt Station album. Just before the lights dimmed, there was a commotion to the right of the stage, as Starr walked a third of the way along the arena to take his seat in the crowd, surrounded by well wishers, camera phones and palpable warmth.

Starr flashed his obligatory peace sign, took a few selfies, and the odd photo of the crowd before settling down to watch McCartney begin his show with “A Hard Day’s Night”. At that point it was just fun to see Ringo at the show – and that was all it was assumed to be.

It’s difficult to review a McCartney show, because you either love the Beatles and their oeuvre or you have wool in your ears and there’s nothing that can be done for you.

However, here are a few highlights of the set:

For those who overlook McCartney’s seventies output it may surprise them to know how well the Wings songs have aged. “Letting Go”, From Venus and Mars was an early treat, and “Let Em In”, was superb: a song that might be accused of being insubstantial, but is rather wonderful, understated and ridiculously catchy.

“Let Em In” benefitted substantially from a three piece horn section which first appeared in the crowd during “Junior’s Farm”, and which also breathed life into Beatles classic “Got To Get You Into My Life”.

Newer songs held their own, with later-period solo material such as Queenie Eye, Fuh You and Dance Tonight all represented.

For Beatles fans, McCartney shows never fail to deliver. Of the forty (that’s right, forty) songs McCartney played in a three-hour-plus show, three quarters were by the Fabs, including their first recording, “In Spite of All the Danger”, White Album classics “Birthday” and “Blackbird”, and even the Lennon-composed “Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite”.

And then there are the big guns. No other performer can boast as strong a home straight as McCartney, with stone cold classics such as “Lady Madonna” and “Eleanor Rigby” consigned to mid-set to make room for songs that make the audience collectively breathe “aww” as they begin.

This phenomenon happened early, with “Maybe I’m Amazed”, and continued in earnest with the one-two-three of “Let it Be”, “Live and Let Die” (with customary pyro-overload) and “Hey Jude”.

How do you follow that? Well, if you are Paul McCartney, you introduce Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, and your old friend Ringo Starr onstage thus bringing together two Beatles and a Rolling Stone.

You can imagine the crowd’s reaction.

They played “Get Back”, and it was every bit as good as you would expect – I don’t normally post video footage, but in this case it would be criminal not to – here’s the final minute and a half of the song.

*According to Wikipedia, and including the weddings of Eric Clapton/Patti Boyd and Ringo Starr/Barbara Bach



Categories: Live Reviews, Music

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

5 replies

  1. My partner and I saw McCartney in Melbourne on 5 December 2017. We’d waited a long time. He cancelled his previous scheduled Oz tour in the aftermath of the Bali bombings in 2002. I was absolutely gutted.

    So back to a year ago. 3 hours, banging out one classic after another, playing mean guitar, keyboards, bass; telling the old stories, making jokes, chatting to 30-something thousand people with real warmth and generosity. It was absolutely everything I could have possibly hoped for. And of course, the whole crowd singing along. People were weeping during Let It Be and Hey Jude. And what a killer band.

    I agree about the Wings and solo tracks. They’re also gold plated classics, and Letting Go was just fantastic.

    It’s interesting that there were 4 generations of people in the audience. Maybe some of the real young ones were there because of the Kanye connection but I think just about everyone was there because they love Paul. The love we were all sending up to him was incredibly emotional.

    I wish I’d seen Ringo hop on stage. A very special event; how lucky you are to see 2 Beatles playing together Steve. Anyway I count myself as blessed having finally got to see Paul McCartney, having loved The Beatles with a passion since I was 5 years old (1963!). I scored a bootleg of the show off the net and, ageing voice and all, it was just as I’d experienced it. A wonderful night.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Cheers Dave – a magical night indeed. Your point about the generations holds true in the U.K. – there were people as excited about the new album as I was about hearing “Birthday”, “Something” (a lump in the throat moment if ever there was one) or “I’ve Just Seen A Face”.

      Like

  2. Wonderful. just wonderful. Cheers mate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve seen Ringo six times, and will be seeing Paul for the second time next year (was lucky to score tickets). I’ve been to a number of shows over the years, and Paul by far put on the best.

    Thanks for this delightful look into the show!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: