The Long and Winding Show: Paul McCartney Plays Epic, 38-Song Set at Bonnaroo
Paul McCartney headlined Manchester, Tennessee's Bonnaroo festival on Friday, with what was undoubtedly the four-day weekend's most anticipated set. And why would there ever be any doubt that that'd be the case? The man's a BEATLE. And everyone loves the Beatles. They're sort of the default band for any music fan. The fact that, from my spot, I witnessed an incredibly excited 13-year-old boy declaring, "He's a boss!" and yelling out song requests, and well as a woman in her sixties assertively elbowing her way up to the front between two frat-boy types, proved just how universal Sir Paul's appeal truly is and what a perfect 'Roo headliner he truly was.
Yes, from the hipsters to the hippies, the moms to the tots, it seemed like every single person on Bonnaroo's 700-acre farm was watching Macca on Friday night, and not one of them was disappointed.
Paul's whopping 180-minute, 38-song set was positively packed with Beatles classics, from the upbeat and crowd-rousing ("All My Loving," "All Together Now," "We Can Work It Out," "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," "Lady Madonna," "Day Tripper," "Get Back"); to the sweet and somber ("The Long and Winding Road," "Eleanor Rigby," "Blackbird," "And I Love Her," an acoustic "Yesterday"); to the eternally anthemic (there is nothing more life-affirming than singing along to "Let It Be" or the na-na-na's of "Hey Jude" with 90,000 or so fellow Beatles fans). He even played "Paperback Writer" on the same guitar that he strummed on the original recording, and it sounded as great as it did in 1966.
But there were some more leftfield Beatles selections as well, like Sgt. Pepper's "Lovely Rita" and "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite," which Paul only just started playing live on his current tour, and "Your Mother Should Know." And as for the fans who'd been hoping to hear some Wings Across Bonnaroo, so to speak, they got their wish, as Paul tore through eight Wings classics, from the unexpected but certainly venue-appropriate "Junior's Farm" to the perennial favorite "Band on the Run." (No "Jet," sadly, but I'll let that omission slide.)