- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 3, 2002

OAKLAND, Calif. — Paul McCartney has nothing left to prove. He's a Beatle. He's a knight. He's an honorary American. He has been everywhere, done everything.
Monday night, he showed up simply "to rock 'n' roll." After a 2-hour-long feast for the eyes and ears, Mr. McCartney had done his job. He left a sell-out crowd of 15,000 satisfied.
With a nonstop set dominated by Beatles tunes, from "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Yesterday" to "The End" and "Getting Better," which Mr. McCartney said had never before been performed in concert, he rocked, he rolled, he paid tribute to the late John Lennon and the late George Harrison, but mostly, he brought the Beatles back to life.
The audience, dominated by gray-haired fiftysomethings who grew up with the Fab Four, loved him for it.
Mr. McCartney, who turns 60 in June, hit all the high points of his Beatles, Wings and solo years a career that now spans more than four decades.
He's one of the best-selling songwriters and recording artists of all time. Mr. McCartney's 1970s band, Wings, scored seven No. 1 albums. In 1999, he was named the Greatest Composer of the Last 1,000 Years in a BBC poll, beating Mozart, Bach and Beethoven.
He has kept an especially high profile recently, showing up at the Academy Awards, the Super Bowl and the Concert for New York City.
Monday was the opening night of his Driving USA tour, which will land in 19 cities through May 18.
A parade of costumed characters, from court jesters carrying balloons to contortionists to a man on stilts and a woman walking on a gigantic rolling ball, began the evening's entertainment. They frolicked in the audience and onstage until Mr. McCartney appeared in silhouette on a screen holding his famous violin-shaped Hofner bass guitar high in the air.
He was backed by a group of tight, well-rehearsed Los Angeles musicians, several of whom performed on Mr. McCartney's latest release, "Driving Rain."
Mr. McCartney was the consummate entertainer. He strained to hit a few high notes, he messed up some lyrics, and his voice sounded a bit hoarse at times, but his energy was infectious.
Women screamed when, after a few songs, Mr. McCartney stripped off his charcoal jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his gray shirt.
He sang "All My Loving," against a bank of video screens that played black-and-white Beatles footage.
He indulged the crowd with two encores, wrapping things up with "Sgt. Pepper" and fittingly, "The End."


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