On His New Album ‘Egypt Station,’ Paul McCartney Still Gives A ‘Fuh’

Cultural Critic

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What does Paul McCartney want?

I remember thinking that in 2016 as I watched him perform for more than three hours in front of about 20,000 people at the Target Center in Minneapolis, during the first of two sold-out shows in town. While his voice sounded a little weathered, and the brownish tint of his hair was slightly suspect, it was hard not be charmed, if not awed, by the concert. The career-spanning set covered every aspect of his storied career, from “Can’t Buy Me Love” to “Hey Jude” to “Band On The Run” to “Temporary Secretary” to “FourFiveSeconds.” Because he was in Prince’s hometown, he also made sure to play “Purple Rain.” At every moment, McCartney made it clear how much he still cared — and it was way, way more than was required. With the possible exception of Bruce Springsteen, I don’t know that any classic rocker comes close to Macca’s level of caring, even though he has no real reason to care at all.

Consider that McCartney, who turned 76 in June, has been an international star for nearly 55 years, if we use The Beatles’ first appearance on Ed Sullivan on Feb. 9, 1964 as his “rock star” birthdate. In 1965, he headlined a stadium concert for the first time, which means that he’s been a stadium-rocker longer than most current stadiums have been in existence. He’s an ancient, venerated institution that for many of us has always been part of the landscape. His peers aren’t just Bob Dylan and Paul Simon — they’re also Wrigley Field and Fenway Park.

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