Fireworks exploded and confetti flew when Paul McCartney sang “Live and Let Die” on Thursday night at Candlestick Park — a perfectly appropriate way to mark the end of an era and say goodbye to The City’s obsolete, out-of-favor ball field.
The concert included no mention of The Catch or other notable 49ers or Giants moments in the stadium’s 54-year history (although plenty in the 50,000-strong crowd barely survived the familiar traffic and public transit nightmares getting to and from the park), and just a few references to the Beatles’ historic final show there in August 1966.
In one of two encores, McCartney sang a killer version of “Long Tall Sally,” his voice amazingly sounding even better at the end of the nearly three-hour, 40-song set; he said it was the last song The Beatles sang at the Stick 48 years ago.
And in the beloved group singalong chorus to his standard “Hey Jude,” McCartney crooned “goodbye to Candlestick.”
Other than that, Sir Paul’s terrific show was largely similar to his most recent local appearances (at Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in 2013 and AT&T Park in 2010) except with the addition of tunes from his 2013 album “New”: “Save Us,” “New,” “Queenie Eye” and “Everybody Out There.”
They were good, and not a disappointment to the rapt audience — mostly baby boomers and many from out of the area, according to an informal applause poll McCartney took — that gathered and was primed to hear the world’s best rock tunes from The Beatles’ truly untouchable catalog, and, to a lesser extent, hit Wings songs.
Alternating between bass, piano and guitar, McCartney didn’t disappoint, with a lineup including solid renditions of “Eight Days a Week,” “All My Loving,” “Paperback Writer,” “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Daytripper,” “We Can Work it Out,” “Band on the Run,” “Something,” “The Long and Winding Road,” “Blackbird,” “Lady Madonna,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Another Day,” “Lovely Rita,” “Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” “Ob la di, ob la da,” “Let It Be” and “I Saw Her Standing There.”
At 72, McCartney looks, almost unbelievably, as fantastic as he sounds. His only costume change was when he took off a long red jacket after the first few songs to reveal a white shirt, suspenders and black jeans. Answering a query written on a sign in the crowd — “Will you sign my butt?” — he said no, but he did cutely wiggle his bum during a sprightly version of “And I Love Her.”
In the end, he played “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight” and “The End,” having fulfilled his promise to the audience to close Candlestick Park “down in style.”