McCartney leads Lollapalooza on “Magical Mystery Tour” through The Beatles and beyond

Paul McCartney Photo by Andy Argyrakis
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Over the years, Lollapalooza has hosted practically every modern rocker, rapper and alternative pop star on earth, but 2015’s leader was quite possibly more monumental than everyone else combined. Granted, he may have been knighted with the formality of a Sir, but lest nobody forget, Paul McCartney continues to experiment as a solo artist, helped launch Wings and was also a member of that one other band (generally regarded as the finest in history).

Yet the encore perhaps best bridged the generation gap with the golden oldie “Can’t Buy Me Love” jumping straight into the charging “Get Back,” which featured opener Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes fame trading meaty licks and soulful howls with surely every artist on the bill’s all-time idol.

So how did the 73-year-old legend stand up to an audience whose parents were barely born in time for “Band On The Run,” let alone when The Beatles invaded America? Well besides packing Grant Park for as far as the eye could see, Macca’s first ever visit to the mega-festival almost always sparked a sing-a-long (sans a couple cuts from 2013’s true to form “New”).

It all began with the Fab Four’s ever so appropriate “Magical Mystery Tour,” complete with psychedelic screen swirls to get the masses in the mood for the trip from then until now. From there, McCartney alternated between all facets of his celebrated career, waving the recent “Save Me” near The Beatles’ “Got To Get You Into My Life” and Wings’ “Let Me Roll It.”

For the next two hours and change, the headliner and his longtime band churned out more than 30 tunes on a non-stop highlight reel that climaxed musically and visually with the fireworks-adorned “Live And Let Die.” Yet the encore perhaps best bridged the generation gap with the golden oldie “Can’t Buy Me Love” jumping straight into the charging “Get Back,” which featured opener Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes fame trading meaty licks and soulful howls with surely every artist on the bill’s all-time idol.

It was hard to top that once-in-a-lifetime duet, but then again, this is Paul McCartney we’re talking about and a searing version of the frequently covered “Helter Skelter” came pretty darn close. However, more than any specific song or history-making moment, his token farewell “The End” sent Lollapalooza home not just in awe of the greatness just witnessed, but also pondering Paul’s ageless adage that “the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

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