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  1. Life & Culture

Paul McCartney is coming to Florida for the first time in 5 years. Expect these songs on tour.

He’s going to be 80 next month, and he’s continued to embrace his Beatles roots, based on a review of early set lists from his current “Got Back” shows.
Paul McCartney performs during his "Got Back" tour Friday, May 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. His tour comes to Florida for two dates, including a Saturday night show in Orlando on May 28. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/ Invision/AP)
Paul McCartney performs during his "Got Back" tour Friday, May 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. His tour comes to Florida for two dates, including a Saturday night show in Orlando on May 28. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/ Invision/AP) [ JORDAN STRAUSS | Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP ]
Published May 18

Get Back, Got Back, Gone Back.

The verb tense doesn’t really matter.

Sir Paul McCartney is simply ... Back.

When the ex-Beatle brings his band to Hollywood on May 25 and then heads north to Camping World Stadium in Orlando on May 28, it will mark his first tour dates in the Sunshine State in five years. McCartney hasn’t billed this as his last go-round, but you have to wonder.

Florida has welcomed Mick Jagger (78), Keith Richards (78), Roger Daltrey (78), Pete Townshend (76) and Elton John (75) in the past seven months. McCartney, the dean of them all, turns 80 in a few weeks.

All you need is love — and a bottle of Centrum Silver.

Of all the musical legends still kicking around, though, this is the concert I’ll pay to see. It features a duet with a 28-year-old John Lennon singing I’ve Got a Feeling, incorporating some of the remastered video from The Beatles’ last rooftop concert 53 years ago. I might drive 90 miles just for that moment.

What else will you hear when the greatest living pop music icon takes the stage?

An analysis of the early set lists from his Got Back tour offers empirical evidence. It’s a small sample size of arenas and stadiums, for sure. But the set lists in Spokane, Seattle (two shows), Oakland (two more shows), Inglewood and Fort Worth have been largely identical. Count on 36 songs, spanning about 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Worried about spoilers? Click away if you prefer surprises, spontaneity or jumping out of planes. Me? I’m a planner. Not a risk taker. I eat the same breakfast every day. I’d rather have an idea of what I’m getting for my $200 ticket near the roofline. If you’re with me, here’s what the data tells us about the McCartney shows:

Tons of Beatles music and a healthy dose of early Wings. Sir Paul is selling memories — not peddling new material.

And there are so many memories. An unrivaled catalog of Lennon-McCartney hits emerged from a remarkably prolific eight-year stretch in the ‘60s. Back then, the Beatles, all four of them in their 20s, commonly churned out two albums a year.

After The Breakup, while touring with Wings, McCartney hesitated to play Beatles hits, working in only an occasional version of Yesterday or Let It Be.

That changed with his 1989-90 solo world tour. Beatles classics have since dominated his sets, including tunes primarily written and sung by Lennon (Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!) and George Harrison (Something).

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On this tour, so far, Lennon-McCartney hits are as prominent as ever. He opens with Can’t Buy Me Love and finishes with a flurry of Beatles numbers. Fourteen of the final 16 songs, in fact. There’s a chance he’ll switch out a song or two somewhere in the middle of the performance. But once he’s locked in a set list, McCartney rarely deviates. More than 30 years of concerts chronicled on the wiki site setlist.fm confirms this.

The breakdown of the first seven concerts of the 13-city U.S. tour:

  • 61.1 percent Beatles music, if you count an original from The Quarrymen written when McCartney, Lennon and Harrison were teens.
  • 16.6 percent Wings songs.
  • 13.8 percent songs recorded in the past 10 years.

Four out of five songs were featured on his last tour, cut short due to COVID. Here’s the order you can expect. (Percents indicate how often the songs have been played during the tour.)

  1. Can’t Buy Me Love (Beatles/1964) — 100 percent
  2. Junior’s Farm (Wings/1974) — 100 percent
  3. Letting Go (Wings/1975) — 100 percent
  4. Got to Get You Into My Life (Beatles/1966) — 100 percent
  5. Come on to Me (solo/2018) — 100 percent
  6. Let Me Roll It (Wings/1974) — 100 percent
  7. Getting Better (Beatles/1967) — 100 percent
  8. Woman and Wives (solo/2020) — 71 percent, or Let ‘em In (Wings/1976) — 29 percent
  9. My Valentine (solo/2012) — 100 percent
  10. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (Wings/1974) — 100 percent
  11. Maybe I’m Amazed (solo/1970) — 100 percent
  12. We Can Work It Out (Beatles/1965) — 57 percent, or I’ve Just Seen a Face (Beatles/1966) — 43 percent
  13. In Spite of All the Danger (The Quarrymen/1958) — 100 percent
  14. Love Me Do (Beatles/1962) — 100 percent
  15. Dance Tonight (solo/2007) — 100 percent
  16. Blackbird (Beatles/1968) — 100 percent
  17. Here Today (solo/1982) — 100 percent
  18. Queenie Eye (solo/2013) — 50 percent, or New (solo/2013) — 50 percent
  19. Lady Madonna (Beatles/1968) — 100 percent
  20. Fuh You (solo/2018) — 100 percent
  21. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! (Beatles/1967) — 100 percent
  22. Something (Beatles/1969) — 100 percent
  23. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (Beatles/1968) — 100 percent
  24. You Never Give Me Your Money (Beatles/1969) — 100 percent
  25. She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (Beatles/1969) — 100 percent
  26. Get Back (Beatles/1969) — 100 percent
  27. Band on the Run (Wings/1973) — 100 percent
  28. Let It Be (Beatles/1970) — 100 percent
  29. Live and Let Die (Wings/1973) — 100 percent
  30. Hey Jude (Beatles/1968) — 100 percent
  31. Encore: I’ve Got a Feeling (Beatles/1970) — 100 percent
  32. Encore: Birthday (Beatles/1968) — 100 percent
  33. Encore: Helter Skelter (Beatles/1968) — 100 percent
  34. Encore: Golden Slumbers (Beatles/1969) — 100 percent
  35. Encore: Carry That Weight (Beatles/1969) — 100 percent
  36. Encore: The End (Beatles/1969) — 100 percent

This tour, the recent Peter Jackson documentary and a Hulu series featuring McCartney have sparked a lot of reflection and appreciation for all things Beatles, and especially Paul. The single Get Back came out in 1969. I was 6. I didn’t pay enough attention to the disc jockeys introducing the song any of the zillion times they played it, so I didn’t even know the name. I just knew I wanted it, needed it, had to have it. I begged for months until my mom relented and took me shopping in 1970, shortly after the band had broken up. I remember distinctly what happened next.

In the record section at Sears, she apologetically leaned into the clerk’s personal space to ask which Beatles album had the song “Joe Joe was a man.” He smirked and pointed to Let It Be, which became the first album I ever owned, the last album of new material The Beatles would release.

Jackson’s documentary Get Back on Disney’s streaming platform helped decode decades of mythology surrounding the band’s final days, with eight hours of exquisitely restored video chronicling the recording of Let It Be. It put viewers in the middle of the creative process, serving as a treasured, anthropological examination of the most successful songwriters in history — even if Lennon, and to a lesser extent Harrison, had begun to lose interest.

The film concludes with the band’s last live performance in January 1969. Throughout the weeks of rehearsals leading up to it, they were bored, funny, frustrated and stoned. But when they plug in on the rickety roof of the Apple building in London on a cold winter day, it all clicks. Any little flaws are masked by the band’s luminescence. They were clearly enjoying themselves. “Got Back” is a fitting name for this tour.

Reliving any part of it will be so worth the wait.

If you go

Paul McCartney brings his 13-city U.S. tour to Camping World Stadium, 1 Citrus Bowl Place, Orlando, on May 28. The show starts at 8 p.m. There is no opening act. A smattering of tickets is available through Ticketmaster or on the secondary market. Tickets cost $96.50 to $1,050.

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