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Arts and Entertainment

Paul McCartney @ Hollywood Bowl 3/31/10

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Paul McCartney came to the Hollywood Bowl with a stacked deck. Certainly the man’s written an improbable number of memorable songs on his own in the last fifty years. But advance news that he’d expanded his horizons to include a John song AND a George song among his selections (sorry, Ringo) suddenly increased the possibilities for the set list to near-infinity. Would he stick to the tried and true piano ballads that have anchored his live shows for twenty years? Would he blow all our minds and break out weird favorites from the catalog like “I Want To Tell You” and “Sun King”, or garage stompers like “I’m Down” and “Bad Boy”? Revive his saccharine MTV staples like “Spies Like Us”? Expectations were running high, not surprising for an event with a top ticket price of $2000 and only the farthest-away seats in the Bowl’s upper reaches available for less than three figures, if you could get them.

What the big spenders got for their hard-earned was a show lasting nearly three hours that touched on McCartney’s entire history, though neatly slicing out all of the sugary eighties pap. (He did make us suffer through “Say Say Say” at least three times in the hour spent waiting for him to hit the stage though. Q: Who else plays his own Greatest Hits as the lead-in music to his own shows? A: Van Morrison!)