Sir Paul McCartney brought tears to fans’ eyes at Suncorp Stadium night when he began his rendition of the famous song, Something - written by friend George Harrison - playing on the ukulele.
Harrison, who died in 2001, frequently travelled to Blackpool, north of Liverpool, to play ukulele with the George Formby Fan Club. Formby himself was a ukelele player.
“George gave me this ukulele,” McCartney told the 40,000 people inside Suncorp Stadium, holding it aloft, like he was in someone’s lounge room.
“I told him I had worked out one of his songs on ukulele. We were just sitting around jamming.”
And McCartney simply began to play and sing the song he had learned, the song that is now the second most covered Beatles song of all time.
His exceptional band - guitarists Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray, drummer Abe Laboriel Jr and keyboard player “Wix" Wickens - have perfectly recreated and broadened the sound of the Beatles and Wings.
Saturday night’s Paul McCartney concert was a walk through one of the richest vaults in contemporary songwriting. It was a night where 50- and 60-somethings brought their kids to see Paul McCartney.
It began with A Hard Day's Night – with videos of suited Beatles running from screaming girls, before a genuinely sizzling versions of Wings’ Junior’ s Farm, the Fab Four’s Can’t Buy Me Love and Wings' Jet, which held up well in top rock company.
All My Loving showed off McCartney’s famous walking bass line, then a slower, bluesy version of Wings’ Let Me Roll It, before I've Got A Feeling from the Let It Be sessions.
Maybe I’m Amazed was simply breathtaking. McCartney’s voice is still powerful in the high notes and a contender for song of the night.
He talked about paying five pounds to record the first Beatles/Quarrymen song, In Spite of All the Danger, in 1957, and then having to buy it back 20 years later.
“There was five of us in the group at the time; Me, John (Lennon), George, Colin (Hanton) and Duff (John Duff Lowe). And the deal was that for our one pound, we would each keep it for a week,” McCartney recalled.
“When it got to Duff, he kept it for 20 years. And then he sold it back to me, at a profit.”
We got other anecdotes; how their long-time producer George Martin changed where the famous harmonica part began in Love Me Do, how John and Paul met Mick Jagger and Keith Richards outside a guitar shop in London’s Charing Cross Road and gave them a song, I Wanna Be Your Man, to help the Rolling Stones move from blues covers to the record charts.
Blackbird was inspired by the race riots in the United States in the early 1960s, while his next song, Here Today, was written to tell John Lennon how much he loved him, but sadly after he had been murdered.
Lady Madonna wore its soul-stomping roots in rollicking style and Eleanor Rigby was simply sensational with great band harmonies.
Mr Kite! and A Day in The Life, both Sgt. Pepper's album songs the Beatles never got to perform before live audiences, were a revelation in 2017, accompanied by amazing graphics and lights.
Rockers Band on the Run and Back in the USSR, did just that; a sensational Live and Let Die was played along with incredibly hot, loud fireworks across the front of the stage, before the worlds’ most famous of piano ballads, Let It Be and Hey Jude, had 40,000 singing like Word Cup champions.
The band returned for the encore-waving flags - UK, Australian, indigenous and rainbow alliance - before Yesterday, Get Back, Helter Skelter and the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise).
Squeezed in was Mull of Kintyre, complete with bagpipes from the Queensland Combined Pipe Band, before the closing three songs from Abbey Road: Golden Slumbers, Carry that Weight and The End.
Cynthia Jacobs grew up in New Jersey and was last night pinpointed by Paul McCartney in the Suncorp Stadium crowd holding a sign reading Shea Stadium 1965.
“I was there in 1965,” she later said.
“My friend, Maria Napolitano, and I were only 12. We had been really big Beatles fans from 1963 when we were only 11 and we were just Beatlemaniacs.
“We had tickets all the way at the back, but when we realized that no one was paying attention to where we were sitting we just ran all the way down the front,” she said.
They also pretended to faint at the 1965 show, after being told the Beatles would come and see the girls at the recovery rooms who fainted.
“We didn’t get to the meet the Beatles,” she said.
“They went off in a helicopter.”
Fifty-two years later, she now lives in Coffs Harbour.
“It really was lovely seeing him again. I just got so excited just thinking back to those times.”
After his two Sydney shows, Paul McCartney heads to New Zealand.
- A Hard Day's Night
- Junior's Farm
- Can't Buy Me Love
- All My Loving
- Let me Roll It
- I’ve Got Feeling
- My Valentine
- Maybe I’m Amazed
- Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
- In Spite of All the Danger
- You Won’t See me
- Love Me Do
- And I Love Her
- Here Today
- Queenie Eye
- Lady Madonna
- Eleanor Rigby
- I Wanna be Your Man
- Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
- A Day in the Life with Give Peace a Chance
- Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
- Band on the Run
- Back in the USSR
- Let It Be
- Live and Let Die
- Hey Jude
- Get Back
- Mull of Kintyre
- Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
- (Helter Skelter
- Golden Slumbers
- Carry That Weight
- The End