The garishly velvety Pepper bands that parade the grounds all day might be here to celebrate the retro-pop cheese of Glastonbury’s oldest headliner, but let’s be honest, let’s not spare the superlatives here. Glasto 2022 has erupting bedroom pop superstars. Critically revered rappers. Pop legends, rave icons and Mel C DJ sets galore. But it has just one name that will go down in history books centuries from now as half the greatest songwriting partnership of the rock ‘n’ roll era. Not only is it an honor for the grandkids to watch Paul McCartney make his second headline appearance at Worthy Farm, where pretty much every act except Kendrick Lamar owes him a debt of gratitude for their existence. It is a historical privilege to be alive at the same time as him.
McCartney’s available canon is, to such an extent, the largest in music that every few hours randomly plucked from it would be the best performance of any given year, as he proved at a Friday night warm-up gig that featured the relatively obscure Beatles Speckled and Wings Melodies in nearby Frome. Tonight, after an expectation-building mega mix of Macca classics that threatens to be longer than Peter Jackson’s come back documentary, he indulges in about the same set, plus surprises. An uplifting opener of “Can’t Buy Me Love” gives way to the more bluesy ending wing (“Junior’s Farm,” “Let Go”), then Revolver’s great Motown tribute “Got to Get You Into My Life”. A lucky dip from McCartney always produces winners: “Let Me Roll It,” expanded as a tribute to Hendrix; “Getting better”; an adorable “I just saw a face.” Even 2018’s soulful glam “Come on to Me” holds its own, although, like “Fuh You” later, it’s far more obnoxious than befits any knight of the realm, let alone pop’s kindly grandfather.
These days the voice shakes more than the head, especially when Macca performs solo on acoustic guitar and is hoisted over the flags on a neon-mounted column for a stunning “Blackbird.” When draped over piano marvels like “My Valentine” – dedicated to his wife Nancy – and “Maybe I’m Amazed”, however, it’s as rich, raw and acrobatic as any of the mullet years.
Like any collaborative rummaging through a chest of unlimited treasure, the show turns into fond memories. McCartney recalls making the first Beatles demo – the country tumble “In Spite of All the Danger”, played beautifully – for a pound each and then having to buy it back from their old bassist, who made “a sizeable profit”. . The story naturally culminates in an awe-inspiring “Love Me Do,” then an emotionally charged “Here Today,” his undelivered open letter to John Lennon.
Once the big showstoppers come, they don’t stop. “Lady Madonna” on a Pepperesque piano. “Something” expands from his solo ukulele performance to a majestic flow. “Get Back” accompanied by archival visuals specially curated by Jackson. All the bits from McCartney from the abbey road Medley scattered throughout the set. You might question the inclusion of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” but for the Mike-wide skank, the breadth of the field.
When these surprises arrive, they steal the weekend. Dave Grohl arrives, fresh from several canceled flights, to enjoy the camp of “I Saw Her Standing There” and add grunge gristle to “Band on the Run.” Then, in a truly momentous Glastonbury moment, here comes Bruce Springsteen to rage through his own “Glory Days” on McCartney’s birthday.
By the time “Live and Let Die” fills the skies with flame and drama, and “Let it Be” and “Hey Jude” broke 100,000 hearts and then fixed them, the show is by far the best this writer has written on the planet Pyramid has seen the stage in Glastonbury’s 30 years. When Macca returns to duet with the isolated Lennon voice of “I’ve Got a Feeling,” which is the closest thing to a Beatles reunion we’ll ever see, and Glastonbury conveys all the sentiment, it’s probably the best thing I’ve seen every stage. “I know it’s virtual,” he says, “but here I am again singing with John, we’re back together.” He then straps on a guitar and plays “Helter Skelter.” We need a bigger star rating system.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/reviews/paul-mccartney-review-glastonbury-2022-b2109378.html Paul McCartney review, Glastonbury 2022: To be alive at the same time as him is an historic privilege