ALBANY, NEW YORK – Paul McCartney returned to a concert stage Saturday after being sidelined for two months because of a virus, spinning out songs from the Beatles, Wings and a solo career that has spanned more than 50 years of rock ‘n’ roll.
McCartney, who turned 72 two weeks ago, looked none the worse for wear. He made no immediate reference to his absence. One oblique reference could have been his performance of the song, “On My Way to Work,” which he said he hadn’t done live before.
He was briefly hospitalized in Tokyo in May because of the viral infection. The illness forced him to cancel his Japanese tour and a concert in South Korea, and reschedule half a dozen June dates in the United States before resuming his “Out There” tour in Albany, New York.
Before his illness, McCartney last performed May 1 in Costa Rica.
McCartney opened with the Beatles’ “Eight Days a Week.” He wore black jeans and a sky blue blazer. When he took the jacket off four songs in, he joked that it was the only wardrobe change of the evening.
He paid tribute to former songwriting partner John Lennon with the song “Here Today,” which McCartney described as the conversation they never had. He also honored another late rock star, Jimi Hendrix, with an instrumental interlude of “Purple Haze.”
McCartney’s wife, Nancy, was on hand for the return. He dedicated his song “My Valentine” to her.
It’s a busy year for McCartney, who marked the 50th anniversary of his first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” this winter, which marked the beginning of Beatlemania in the United States. He has 19 U.S. shows scheduled, including one at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, where the Beatles made their final concert appearance in 1966.
The other surviving ex-Beatle, Ringo Starr, is also on the road this summer.