Playing well over two hours at the age of 80, McCartney visits some curious corners of his back catalogue – but the big hits are about as thrilling as live pop music gets
‘When we do a Beatles song, all your phones light up and it’s like a galaxy of stars,” says Paul McCartney as he seats himself at his piano. “When we do a new song, it’s like a black hole. We don’t mind, we’re going to do them anyway.”
There’s certainly a degree of bullishness about McCartney’s second Glastonbury headlining performance, which draws an immense Saturday night crowd – some of whom have, according to one news report, been camped out at the front of the stage since the morning awaiting his arrival, and who launch into an impromptu rendition of Happy Birthday when he appears: the fact he turned 80 last week means the night after the Pyramid stage greeted its youngest-ever headliner, McCartney is now the oldest. Initially, at least, you get a lot more tracks taken from the oeuvre of Wings and indeed from his recent solo albums than you might expect, given the plethora of nailed-on Beatles classics at his disposal: the announcement precedes a performance of New, from his 2013 album of the same name, which joins Let ‘Em In, Junior’s Farm, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five and My Valentine in the setlist. Sometimes you understand the point he’s making: Letting Go, a flop 1975 single, is a genuinely great song that deserves to be salvaged from relative obscurity. Sometimes, it’s a little more puzzling. He plays Fuh You, a collaboration with pop songwriter-for-hire Ryan Tedder that even he seemed curiously equivocal about when it was released four years ago, comparing it unfavourably with Eleanor Rigby.