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McCartney's Halifax Common debut lives up to the hype

It was a day where anything that could go wrong didn’t.

It was a day where anything that could go wrong didn’t.

Under a beaming daylight sun and refreshing breeze, tens of thousands of fans gathered for what many called a simply perfect concert on the Halifax Common.

Paul McCartney could never play all of his beloved songs, but there was no shortage of incredible moments from the former Beatle.

There was rock, from the Drive My Car opening, to a blistering rendition of Helter Skelter, and the fireball and firework-laden showstopper Live And Let Die.

These contrasted with the soulful moments of more than 50,000 people singing in harmony. It started with a singalong of Blackbird while the scent of one part sweat and one part marijuana wafted through the air.

Then it was Let It Be, A Day In The Life, Yesterday and perhaps the definitive singalong song, Hey Jude.

McCartney himself was downright playful. He frequently paused between songs to joke with the audience and mug for the cameras. A false-start on Paperback Writer seemed almost like an excuse to interact with the crowd more.

“OK, it was my mistake,” he said to laughter.

“It’s my show, I’ll get it wrong if I like.”

After being distracted by a girl waving a sign saying, “Will you sign my arm so I can get it tattooed?,” McCartney called her onstage to grant her wish. Delirious, the girl ran around the stage hugging everyone.

He paid tribute to his former bandmates with a ukulele version of George Harrison’s Something, and there was a spooky silence for his John Lennon remembrance song, Here Today. He even gave a nod to Jimi Hendrix and sent regards from Neil Young.

There was a tribute to Nova Scotia as well when the 78th Highlanders pipes and drums joined him onstage to rabid applause for Mull of Kintyre. McCartney then brought down an incredible finale by playing the final minutes of Abbey Road.

After more than 30 songs and two and a half hours he left the stage with one last coy message: “See you, Halifax! We love you. We’ll see you next time.”