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<p class="text-align-right">Paul McCartney 5/31/2022 at Thompson-Boling Arena | Dylan Basden Photography</p>
Paul McCartney 5/31/2022 at Thompson-Boling Arena | Dylan Basden Photography

Concert Review: Paul McCartney at Thompson-Boling Arena

May 31st, 2022 | Knoxville, TN

The legendary Sir Paul McCartney took the stage at a packed out Thompson-Boling Arena for what is sure to be an unforgettable show for the entire audience.


Paul McCartney 5/31/2022 at Thompson-Boling Arena | Dylan Basden Photography

It is truly hard to find a place to begin when talking about this show. The "Got Back" tour is McCartney's first tour back post-pandemic and marks the musician's first show in Knoxville. With 22 NME awards, 18 Grammy awards, an Academy award, Knighthood, a two spots in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and much, much more, Paul McCartney has nothing to prove.


Paul McCartney 5/31/2022 at Thompson-Boling Arena | Dylan Basden Photography

Just a hair short of 80, McCartney should already be living in his legacy. It should go without saying, but the former Beatle is widely regarded as one of the best musicians of all time, and that's without factoring in his stint with Wings and his collection of solo work (and his albums as The Fireman). Yet, despite mountains of success, McCartney still tours with the vigor of artists with a fraction of his achievement. He has chosen not to bask in the rays of his legacy, but continue to strengthen it. Paul McCartney performed for over two and a half hours, something that is rare to find in any live act today.


Paul McCartney 5/31/2022 at Thompson-Boling Arena | Dylan Basden Photography

Let's go ahead and get it out of the way; Paul McCartney is an extremely talented player. Throughout the night he rotated between his iconic Höfner bass, grand piano, and electric guitar. Paul would also pickup a mandolin, an ukulele, and various other guitars and keys throughout the night. He was also backed by an equally talented band, including a horn section. His drummer, Abraham Laboriel Jr., was practically the second star of the show with his impressive percussion and hilarious stage antics.


Paul McCartney 5/31/2022 at Thompson-Boling Arena | Dylan Basden Photography

How do I pick a notable moment from a show that was nothing but? "Live and Let Die" was an explosive rocker that just absolutely pounded into your chest, "Let Me Roll It" just brought a pure smile to my face, and "Helter Skelter" was quite frankly a face-melter. On the flip side, you have the beautiful "Blackbird" which McCartney did alone, the joyous singalong of "Hey Jude," and the passionate love ballad of "My Valentine." In addition, fans were given a special treat seeing "In spite of All the Danger" by The Quarrymen, the original rendition of The Beatles, performed live.


5/31/2022 at Thompson-Boling Arena | Dylan Basden Photography

Paul may not be doing any spins, kicks, or jumps, but he still knows how to hold an audience's attention. From witty stage banter, old stories from his day in The Beatles, to interaction with the sea of signs in his honor, McCartney's stage presence was everything you could hope for. I also don't want to spoil too much about his stage setup (I love a good production, it's just who I am), but when I say McCartney lit fireworks above the crowd, I mean it literally.


5/31/2022 at Thompson-Boling Arena | Dylan Basden Photography

It may seem crazy, but even after 36 songs (yes, McCartney performed 36 songs) it still felt as if whole chunks of McCartney's career were overlooked. Not a single song from Ram, Flaming Pie, Chaos and Creation In the Backyard, Rubber Soul, Magical Mystery Tour, and only one song from the McCartney trilogy made the cut. Even then, with so much material left untouched, it was still hit, after hit, after hit the entire night. 

          1. Can't Buy Me Love (B)
          2. Junior's Farm (W)
          3. Letting Go (W)
          4. Got to Get You Into My Life (B)
          5. Come On to Me
          6. Let Me Roll It (W)
          7. Getting Better (B)
          8. Let 'Em In (W)
          9. My Valentine
          10. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (W)
          11. Maybe I'm Amazed
          12. We Can Work It Out (B)
          13. In Spite of All the Danger (Q)
          14. Love Me Do (B)
          15. Dance Tonight
          16. Blackbird (B)(solo)
          17. Here Today (solo)
          18. New
          19. Lady Madonna (B)
          20. Fuh You
          21. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! (B)
          22. Something (B)
          23. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (B)
          24. You Never Give Me Your Money (B)
          25. She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (B)
          26. Get Back (B)
          27. Band on the Run (W)
          28. Let It Be (B)
          29. Live and Let Die (W)
          30. Hey Jude (B)
          31. I've Got a Feeling (B)
          32. Birthday (B)
          33. Helter Skelter (B)
          34. Golden Slumbers (B) -> Carry That Weight (B) -> The End (B)

          (B) The Beatles
          (W) Wings
          (Q) The Quarrymen


Paul McCartney 5/31/2022 at Thompson-Boling Arena | Dylan Basden Photography

A short run of shows for the "Got Back" tour is quickly coming to a close. With just six more dates to close out June, your chances of seeing McCartney this summer are quickly waning. With some massive stops left on this run, including two nights at the legendary Fenway Park and a headlining set at Glastonbury, it is sure to end on a high note. Paul McCartney's remaining tour dates for this year are below.

          6/04 Syracuse, NY JMA Wireless Dome
          6/07 Boston, MA Fenway Park
          6/08 Boston, MA Fenway Park
          6/12 Baltimore, MD Oriole Park
          6/16 East Rutherford, NJ MetLife Stadium
          6/24 Pilton, UK Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts 2022


Paul McCartney 5/31/2022 at Thompson-Boling Arena | Dylan Basden Photography

The tour may be called "Got Back," but I don't think Paul McCartney ever even left. Paul is one of the biggest names in popular culture, a living legend. Speaking from personal experience, an experience I expect to be shared by many at this show, Paul McCartney is still kicking and just as strong of a performer as ever. McCartney continues to remind audiences that he is something beyond a generation talent, beyond a cultural zeitgeist, beyond any words I could possibly write in a 1,000 word review for the student radio. Sir Paul McCartney is an icon.

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