Paul McCartney honors Charleston shooting victims in between classics at Firefly

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Paul McCartney honors Charleston shooting victims in between classics at Firefly
PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 09: (L-R) Paul McCartney and Kanye West attend the Stella McCartney show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2015/2016 on March 9, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Recording Artists Paul McCartney and Kanye West perform onstage during The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the STAPLES Center on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS)
TOKYO, JAPAN - MAY 15: Paul McCartney is seen upon arrival at Haneda Airport on May 15, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/GC Images)
English musician Paul McCartney performs during the opening concert of his 'Out There' tour on April 19, 2014 in Montevideo. AFP PHOTO/ Miguel ROJO (Photo credit should read MIGUEL ROJO/AFP/Getty Images)
British music legend Paul McCartney (C) introduces a robot to fans upon his arrival at the Haneda airport in Tokyo on May 15, 2014. McCartney is to play Tokyo's Nippon Budokan Hall on May 21, marking his first return to the venue since appearing there with The Beatles in 1966. AFP PHOTO/Toshifumi KITAMURA (Photo credit should read TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 6: Musician, Paul McCartney attends the Los Angeles Lakers game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on April 6, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 06: Paul McCartney (R) and Nancy Shevell attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 6, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/GC Images)
British singer Sir Paul McCartney attends an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday, April 6, 2014, in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr perform at The Night that Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles, on Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Zach Cordner/Invision/AP)
Paul McCartney performs at The Night that Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles, on Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Zach Cordner/Invision/AP)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: (L-R) Recording artistis Paul McCartney, Rihanna and Kanye West perform 'FourFiveSeconds' onstage during The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the at the STAPLES Center on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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For a living legend whose entire career has consistently been redefined, it's a given that Sir Paul McCartney's headlining set at Firefly 2015 on Friday (June 19) would be career-defining, yet again. And on the second night of the four-day fest, the Beatles icon showed that not only does he consistently up himself, but he outshone the bounty of young talent that rocked the stages at the Delaware festival earlier in the day.

As a consummate performer, the 74-year-old kept the energy cranked for the duration of his near two-and-a-half hour show, running through a string of classics spanning his work with the Beatles, Wings and as a solo artist. Affable and jovial, he demonstrated musical versatility with ease -- strumming a ukulele, pounding a piano, plucking an acoustic guitar -- as well as endurance, for his first ever show in the first state.

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McCartney began promptly at 10 p.m. following a riotous set from Run the Jewels on the adjacent stage. The crowd swelled to a remarkable volume--vastly larger than that of Morrissey, who played to a shockingly minute attendance hours prior--as Macca kicked off with "Birthday" and new cut "Save Us," setting the tone for the ebullient evening.

"We're gonna have a bit of a party here tonight," he said, blasting through "Got to Get You Into My Life" as animated portraits of his fellow Beatles appeared on the screens behind him. He paused for a moment to survey the crowd: "You know, this is so cool, I need to take a minute for myself and check it all out."

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At a point, his show turned political, as he paid his respects to the victims of the Charleston, S.C. shooting that claimed nine lives earlier in the week. "Let's take a moment to pray for peace and harmony amongst people of different colors in the world," said McCartney, seated behind a piano. A chill-inducing rendition of "The Long and Winding Road" followed, a noble tribute to the victims of a senseless act.

Though the mood was temporarily somber, he kept the crowd's spirits high. He dedicated several songs to the late key figures in his life -- a cover of "Foxy Lady" for Jimi Hendrix, "Here Today" for John Lennon, "Maybe I'm Amazed" for Linda McCartney, "Something" for George Harrison -- and played hit after hit, including "Eleanor Rigby," "Blackbird" and "Lady Madonna," where he cheekily addressed the odorous contraband wafting towards the stage: "What's that I can smell in the air?"



What McCartney proved, though, is that though there's nothing left to prove for a living legend, he's got the chops to outshine even himself. There was nary a dull moment as he breathlessly pounced from instrument to instrument, song to song, ceaselessly and effortlessly exceeding the unreachable expectations set before him. As he reemerged for the encore, waving the U.S. flag with band members brandishing British and Delaware flags, he was joyous, an artist who never gave up on his craft. Few musicians at Firefly were that advanced-- and McCartney showed that he was still miles ahead of them.

Here is Paul McCartney's Firefly set list:

"Birthday"
"Save Us"
"Got to Get You Into My Life"
"Your Way"
"Foxy Lady"
"Paperback Writer"
"My Valentine"
"Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five"
"The Long and Winding Road"
"Maybe I'm Amazed"
"I've Just Seen a Face"
"We Can Work It Out"
"Another Day"
"And I Love Her"
"Blackbird"
"Here Today"
"New"
"Queenie Eye"
"Lady Madonna"
"Eleanor Rigby"
"Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite"
"Something"
"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"
"Band on the Run"
"Back in the U.S.S.R."
"Let It Be"
"Live and Let Die"
"Hey Jude"

ENCORE

"Hi, Hi, Hi"
"Can't Buy Me Love"
"Helter Skelter"
"Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End"


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