It was hardly a hard day’s night April 13 at Save Mart Center in Fresno as Paul McCartney opened his new One On One Tour. In fact, it was a great one, as the show featured several new songs, including a couple of huge surprises. That started with the opening song, which was, in fact, “A Hard Day’s Night,” which he’d never sung in concert as a solo artist before. When the band hit the stage, the crowd roared with glee. The roar got even louder as Abe Laboriel Jr. counted off the opening beat, Rusty Anderson hit the opening chord and McCartney sang the opening words, “It’s been a hard day’s night.”
The roar didn’t quit. The crowd in the 16,182 seat indoor arena was loud and enthusiastic and never let up all night. Another even older song that McCartney brought out for the show that he hadn’t played for about a decade was the old Quarryman song “In Spite of All the Danger.” This was done acoustically with a great homespun rhythm and warm harmonies.
Another early great moment in the show was “My Valentine,” dedicated to his wife Nancy, who was in the audience. The stage was bathed in monochrome as the video screens on the stage itself showed both the Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp black-and-white versions of the music video with McCartney seen live on the sides at the piano, also in black-and-white. It was a beautiful effect. McCartney also dedicated songs to George Harrison (“Something”), John Lennon (“Here Today”), and, for the first time, Sir George Martin (“Love Me Do”), telling a story of how nervous he was when Martin asked him, not John, to sing “Love Me Do.” He also paid tribute to his first wife when he introduced “Maybe I’m Amazed” by telling his daughter Mary, also in the audience, that he had written it for Linda McCartney.
The set included the return to the set of Beatles songs “You Won’t See Me,” “Here, There and Everywhere,” “I’ve Got a Feeling,” “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “Fool on the Hill,” some of which hadn’t been in a McCartney set list for some time.
Save Mart Center was small, but up to the task for the show. The sound was excellent. That became quite evident during “Live and Let Die,” where the smaller venue really amplified the sound effects and the fireworks sounded like cannon shots. Security also did a great job keeping people in their seats. The souvenir tables were packed with customers all night and by the end of the evening all of the programs were gone.
All in all, it was a wonderful show. McCartney was in great voice, though the evening was not without a couple of flubs, like on “Yesterday.” The band was, as usual, excellent. It looks to be a great 2016 for McCartney fans. As Nancy Guida, who drove down from San Francisco, an over three-hour drive, to get to the show, and who also saw the Beatles in 1965 at the Cow Palace and 1966 at Candlestick Park, told Beatles Examiner, “I enjoyed the smaller venue. The sound was great. Paul dazzled us with his musical talent, charisma and charm. Classic McCartney. His tributes to John and George are always heartfelt. He obviously enjoys entertaining! Watching him is the sound track of my life. Every time I see him I realize, ‘Lucky me! I lived The Beatles!!’”
The tour continues Friday night in Portland, Oregon, then moves Sunday to Seattle, Washington, Tickets for all of McCartney’s North America One On One shows are available here and here. Be sure to check out our special news wrap-up for all you need to know about the McCartney One on One Tour.