LIVE: Paul McCartney

The ex-Beatle brings his big bag of hits, Grohl and plenty of fireworks.

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They say the only certainties are death and taxes but, except for the taxes bit, we should seriously consider making an exception for Paul McCartney. At 72, after 50-plus years as the Mozart of the rock’n’roll era, he’s fresh of voice and finding new relevance in the contemporary tones of 2013’s New album and his recent work with Kanye West.

The majority of tonight’s three-hour extravaganza plays on Wings whimsy and Beatledelic glories (Hey Jude, Paperback Writer, Eleanor Rigby, Back In The USSR, Simon & Garfunkel summation I’ve Just Seen A Face, they flow like trout canapés round Daltrey’s gaff), but the newer songs display a revived creative sass: an affecting flamenco love letter to his wife Nancy in My Valentine and the stompy Pepper-pop of New.

He knows we’re here for hits, though, and in this regard a McCartney show is off any known scale: Live And Let Die blows more pyro than Mad Max; for Blackbird Macca’s hoisted high up on a hydraulic stage. As is now tradition he begins Something, his tribute to George, on ukelele and tells a story about Sinatra claiming it was his favourite Lennon/McCartney song. You can quibble about the setlist – the first ever performance of Temporary Secretary is a treat, but who really wants to hear Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!? – but by the time Dave Grohl virtually crawls on stage in supplicatory hero worship to guest on_ I Saw Her Standing There_, the O2 is wreckage and Helter Skelter and Carry That Weight stamp the rubble to dust. Immortality assured.

Mark Beaumont

Mark Beaumont is a music journalist with almost three decades' experience writing for publications including Classic Rock, NME, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Times, Uncut and Melody Maker. He has written major biographies on Muse, Jay-Z, The Killers, Kanye West and Bon Iver and his debut novel [6666666666] is available on Kindle.