Echo Arena, Liverpool ★★★★✩
PAUL McCARTNEY’S homecoming Christmas show sold out in minutes, so it was no surprise to find the audience humming with anticipation for this local boy.
When he arrived, the band launched straight into A Hard Day’s Night and so began a mammoth three-hour journey through his career. His five-piece band were heavy and loud with buzzing guitars that resembled 1980s hard rock to begin with. A powerful brass section appeared and elevated the band to new levels.
The tone and texture shifted further as McCartney began to play piano and the show gained new momentum. There were songs from his latest album, Egypt Station, but McCartney constantly (and wisely) dipped back into the hits.
The second half was stuffed with them: a tender, stripped-back Eleanor Rigby, a punchy Love Me Do, a solo acoustic Blackbird, Wings’ Band On The Run and a gorgeous tribute to George Harrison via Something.
At 76, his voice is still in great shape and he was able to shriek frenziedly and capture more intimate moments.
The stage set was simple until Live And Let Die, which exploded to life with flames and fireworks. Elvis Costello sang along with everyone on Hey Jude, while a rousing Helter Skelter was in the encore. McCartney left to rapturous applause. When he returned to declare Liverpool ‘the greatest city in the world’, the noise hit record levels. The local boy is always welcome home here.