Sir Paul McCartney gave Arlington’s Globe Life Park a rock and roll royal christening Friday night, playing 38 songs over nearly three hours in the first event of its kind at the Texas Rangers baseball club’s yard.
A packed house enjoyed mild weather and went crazy as McCartney belted out his dozens of familiar hits, especially the universally popular tunes from his time with The Beatles.
Singing from a stage set up in center field, in front of Greene’s Hill, McCartney warmed up with “A Hard Day’s Night” then dipped into his catalog from Wings and his solo career.
From foul pole to foul pole, fans swayed and held up their mobile phone flashlights to create a musical spectacle of the ballpark, which is being re-purposed as the Rangers prepare to move to the new Globe Life Field across the street next season.
McCartney’s show was the first top billing to play at Globe Life Park. Billy Joel is scheduled to play in October, and a club from the newly-launched XFL football league is scheduled to play there in 2020.
The precise attendance wasn’t available. The ballpark normally has a capacity of 49,115, although because of the stage positioning no outfield seats between the foul poles were sold. However, the venue featured a packed floor of several thousand seats.
The Globe Life Park playing surface was covered by thick, plastic blocks to protect the grass.
Lines were long to get into the venue from 6 p.m. when the doors opened until the show began just before 8:30 p.m.
McCartney introduced his song “Who Cares” from his most recent album Egypt Station as a call for an end to bullying.
“Who cares? I do,” he told the crowd.
At one point the crowd broke into a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for McCartney, even though as he pointed out his actual 77th birthday isn’t until Tuesday.
McCartney alternated between playing his left-handed bass guitar, ukulele and keyboards. He maintained eye contact with the audience between songs, often toying with them. During the first hour, he took off his jacket and said “That was my wardrobe change of the evening.”
McCartney has a history of playing in baseball parks, and the acoustics of his songs seemed to be spot on during the show, at least for most of the venue. One attendee sitting near the third base foul pole complained of a bad echo in that area.
His band was razor-sharp, especially the three-man horn section.
The concert wasn’t big on special effects — other than a highly-detailed light setting for the stage at all times — until McCartney blared into a rendition of “Live and Let Die” that included lasers and pyrotechnics.
McCartney played his legendary version of “Birthday” to kick off a six-song encore that also included “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise),” “Helter Skelter,” “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight” and “The End.”
Here is McCartney’s set list from Friday night in Arlington:
1. Hard Day’s Night
2. Junior’s Farm
3. Can’t Buy Me Love
4. Letting Go
5. Who Cares
6. Got To Get You Into My Life
7. Come On To Me
8. Let Me Roll It
9. I’ve got a feeling
10. Let ‘Em In
11. My Valentine
12. Nineteen Hundred Eighty Five
13. Maybe I’m Amazed
14. I’ve Just Seen A Face.
15. In Spite Of All The Danger
16. From Me To You
17. Dance Tonight
18. Love Me Do
20. Here Today
21. Queenie Eye
22. Lady Madonna
23. Elanor Rigby
24. Fuh You
25. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite
28. Band On The Run
29. Back in the USSR
30.. Let It Be
31. Live And Let Die
32. Hey Jude
34. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
35. Helter Skelter
36. Golden Slumbers
37. Carry That Weight
38. The End