Paul McCartney doesn't really need the publicity, but when he desires it he sure can make a dent. On Monday he and his band shut down a stretch of Hollywood Boulevard to perform a handful of songs for a lucky few thousand as part of "Jimmy Kimmel Live." Many in the crowd had been waiting much of the day for a chance to catch the ex-Beatle in action.
Flanked by the El Capitan and Dolby theaters, McCartney was pushing his forthcoming album "New" by doing a few songs for TV, but stuck around for a set that included older songs we wanted to hear.
His list was full of big-ticket songs. He and his touring band tore through Beatles classics "Hey Jude," "Let It Be," "Back in the USSR," "Magical Mystery Tour," "Birthday," "Lady Madonna" and more, and peppered in solo and Wings songs such as "Band on the Run," "Another Day," "Jet" and three new works, including the excellent title track.
Ever gracious and warm, McCartney long ago accepted his role in his fans' lives, and made every effort to acknowledge the masses surrounding him. He peered up at the nearby the Dolby Theatre, where on a balcony a dozen fans watched, and waved dramatically.
Residents of upper-level apartments sat in windowsills and shot photos. Others rubbernecked from behind fences. After performing a confident version of one of his most enduring works, "Let It Be," McCartney stood from the grand piano and looked over a fence to wave at fans unable to see.
Highlights? Well, depending on your mood any one of them could have delivered a rush. "Junior's Farm," which he played early, set the tone, as did his ode day-to-day life, "Another Day." The Beatles tracks rolled joyously, the product of a musician who long ago embraced his legacy and now occupies it with the full force of his talent.
"Birthday" was particularly massive and surprising, and hit like a hammer, as did "Day Tripper." But, then, they all did. Even "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," which I consider to be one of the Beatles' worst songs, sprang with joy. (Feel free to debate the merits of the song in the comments below.)
On Tuesday, Kimmel will host another superstar, Justin Timberlake, on the same Hollywood Boulevard stage.
McCartney's new "New" comes out on Oct. 15. Watch him play the title track on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" below.
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