The video: "Who is this Derek Jeter guy?" Sir Paul McCartney jokingly asked a crowd of tens of thousands at Yankee Stadium, where he launched his American tour with a New York concert Friday night. "Somebody said he's got more hits than me." But after a marathon two-and-a-half hour, 35-song set in which the former Beatle "never even stopped to take a sip of water," McCartney reminded the screaming crowd that not only was he a master hitmaker, but an unrivaled performer as well. (Watch video of his "Paperback Writer" below.) Strumming, charming, and crooning his way through 50 years of memorable hits, from "Hey Jude" to "Maybe I'm Amazed," McCartney's concert — which featured a surprise ivory-tickling duet with Billy Joel, and a cameo by Eric Clapton (McCartney demanded that Clapton tune his guitar) — was a "spectacular act of showmanship." As Jon Friedman at The Wall Street Journal says, McCartney, who repeated his performance on Saturday, is "The Living Legend."
The reaction: No need for McCartney to play the famous "When I'm Sixty-Four," says Christian Blauvelt at Entertainment Weekly. "At 69, rock and roll's most easygoing revolutionary is jamming harder than ever." Performing an exhaustive set list, McCartney proved himself "both an arena god and ordinary god." Yet "there was more than a little familiarity" between this weekend's shows and his 2009 concerts at the New York Mets' Citi Field, says Jon Pareles at The New York Times. Two-thirds of the set list was the same, with similar arrangements and groupings. Thankfully, McCartney boasts a "trouper's ability to make the routine look and sound spontaneous." See for yourself: