Like the Rolling Stones 24 hours earlier, who had no trouble following Bob Dylan, the second night of the three-day Desert Trip festival in California belonged to show-closer Paul McCartney. Even though opener Neil Young had much of the buzz, Paul McCartney is, after all, Paul McCartney. The first portion of his set was an ode to the Beatles and Wings, with “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Jet” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” starting things off. Following his one wardrobe change, which consisted of him tossing his jacket aside, Macca stormed through a delightful array of hits and jokes, and even one Rihanna/Kanye West collaboration in “FourFiveSeconds.”
However, the problem with latter-year McCartney is that if you’ve seen him at his hamminess once, you’ve probably seen it all. That’s not to say there weren’t a few surprises. Bringing Young up for “A Day in the Life,” “Give Peace a Chance” and “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” were the first of the much ballyhooed Desert Trip collaborations and it was great. But, there wasn’t much rhyme or reason, nor flow, to the set.
Dusting off “I Wanna Be Your Man” for the first time since 1993 was a surprise, but as is the norm at a Paul McCartney show, people want to hear the hits. It was the more candid moments, like dedicating “Love Me Do” to George Martin, and talking about the meaning of “Blackbird” and how it resonates today, that provided some of the more poignant moments of the show.
With a crowd-thrilling encore of the Abbey Road medley putting the night to rest, Desert Trip’s first two days managed to top the “Oldchella” crowd’s hopes and expectations for a weekend to remember. Now it’s up to The Who and Roger Waters to somehow top these four great sets, which won’t be easy.
Watch Paul McCartney and guest Neil Young perform “A Day in the Life” at Desert Trip
Paul McCartney Setlist
A Hard Day’s Night
Can’t Buy Me Love
|Let Me Roll It
I’ve Got a Feeling
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
Maybe I’m Amazed
We Can Work It Out
In Spite of All the Danger
I’ve Just Seen a Face
Love Me Do
And I Love Her
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite
A Day in the Life (with Neil Young)
Give Peace a Chance (with Neil Young)
Why Don’t We Do It in the Road? (with Neil Young)
Band on the Run
Back in the U.S.S.R.
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
I Wanna Be Your Man
Carry That Weight
McCartney performs “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” live for the first time ever, with Neil Young!