With the passing of George Harrison, Paul McCartney clearly feels the importance of shouldering the Beatles legacy—and he carried it masterfully at New York’s Madison Square Garden on April 26. Although the singer performed many Wings songs and solo tunes (including three from his new album, Driving Rain), his Driving USA tour strongly favors Fab Four material. In a black suit and rose-red T-shirt, Sir Paul, in fine voice, led a fierce four-man band through his staggeringly deep catalog of classics (including “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Jet,” and “Hey Jude”), rendering them fresh and immediate, while sticking closely to the originals. But the emotional heart of the show was a long solo set during which McCartney shifted between acoustic guitar and piano to plaintively deliver some of his best ballads (“Blackbird,” “Mother Nature’s Son”). During the nearly three-hour concert, he paid moving tribute to John (“Here Today”), George (“Something”), and Linda (“My Love”), grounding his melodic optimism in a mature sense of loss. A- –Lawrence Frascella
Posted May 10 2002 — 12:00 AM EDT
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