Paul McCartney, 72, returns to stage after two months out with viral illness

Ex-Beatle marks 50-plus years in rock 'n' roll, honours late colleagues in three-hour concert

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 July, 2014, 4:31am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 July, 2014, 4:31am


Paul McCartney has returned to a concert stage after being sidelined for two months because of a virus, spinning out songs from The Beatles, Wings and a solo career that has spanned more than 50 years of rock 'n' roll.

"It's great to be back," said McCartney, who turned 72 two weeks ago.

He looked none the worse for wear on Saturday, putting on a show of just under three hours with 38 songs before finishing with the three-song medley that ends the Abbey Road album.

McCartney was briefly admitted to hospital in Tokyo in May because of the viral infection. The illness forced him to cancel a Japanese tour and a concert in South Korea and reschedule half a dozen June dates in the United States before resuming his "Out There" tour in Albany, New York state. Before his illness, McCartney last performed on May 1 in Costa Rica.

Saturday's crowd-pleasing show contained a mix of expected hits like Hey Jude and Let It Be, four songs from McCartney's latest album and a generous sampling from more obscure corners of his catalogue, including The Beatles' songs Lovely Rita and Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite and Wings work such as Another Day and 1985. Most of the 1980s and 1990s were passed over.

He paid tribute to the two late members of The Beatles, singing Here Today to former songwriting partner John Lennon, which McCartney described as the conversation they never had.

He began playing George Harrison's song Something on the ukulele, and it built into a full band rendition.

McCartney also honoured another late rock star, Jimi Hendrix, with an instrumental interlude of Purple Haze.

It is a busy year for McCartney, who marked the 50th anniversary of his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show this winter, which marked the beginning of Beatlemania in the United States.

He has 19 US shows scheduled, including one at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, where The Beatles made their final concert appearance in 1966.

The other surviving ex-Beatle, Ringo Starr, is also on the road this summer.