Live Review: Paul McCartney @ Heritage Bank Stadium, Gold Coast

5 November 2023 | 2:08 pm | Jessie Lynch

The night was not just a concert but a journey through the evolution of modern music – McCartney as the consummate guide. 

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney (Supplied)

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As the sun dipped below the horizon on the Gold Coast, a multigenerational sea of 30,000 Sir Paul McCartney fans converged at Heritage Bank Stadium on the Gold Coast as the music legend brought his Got Back tour to a resounding final with a performance that was nothing short of spectacular.

At 81 years young, the Beatles legend is a testament to the enduring spirit of rock 'n' roll. His three-hour set was a masterclass that spanned the breadth of his storied six-decade career, from the nascent days of the Quarrymen to his latest solo ventures.

His showmanship, as compelling as the timeless anthems he's given the world, illuminated the stage as he kicked off the show with a spirited rendition of Can't Buy Me Love, the stadium erupting with thousands of voices joining in – a choir of young and old – proving that some melodies are universal.

The crowd was an eclectic mosaic, a mix that spanned from those who had lived through Beatlemania to the youths discovering the magic of Love Me Do for the first time. It’s a testament to McCartney's enduring influence that the audience didn't skew to just one age group; instead, it was a gathering that transcended generations, all there for the love of music that has soundtracked more than half a century. 

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Each song was a chapter in a live anthology of his life's work, with McCartney’s fingers dancing across the keys of the grand piano or strumming his guitar with the ease of a man who has spent a lifetime doing just that. The night was not just a concert but a journey through the evolution of modern music – McCartney as the consummate guide. 

Addressing the hyped crowd after performing Wings’ 1974 hit Junior's Farm, McCartney took a moment to take in the sea of adoring fans, saying: “This is the last night of our Australian tour so we're gonna have some fun tonight. We’ve got some old songs, some new songs, and some in inbetweeners.

“This one’s an inbetweener,” he added before launching into Wings hit Letting Go from their 1975 album Venus and Mars. 

Later, as the chords of the Wings classic Let Me Roll It transitioned into an unexpected riff from Jimi Hendrix's Foxy Lady, McCartney recounted the memorable evening when Hendrix masterfully performed a live rendition of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band just hours after the album's release.

“He paid us one of the greatest tributes we've ever been paid, because we'd released Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club on the Friday night — you used to release your records on a Friday — and two days later on a Sunday, he had learned it and he opened the show with it,” he explained, adding, “And it was fantastic. He did an incredible version of it.”

Halfway through the set, the Liverpool legend took a moment to banter with members of the crowd who had crafted posters for the occasion.

“All my money I spent on you”, McCartney read from one fan’s sign, before reading aloud another that said, “Can you play drums on Penny Lane?” 

“No. Another time,” McCartney laughed.

A third sign read: “Can you sign my bum?”, to which McCartney cheekily quipped back, “Come on then, let’s have a look at it!”

Effortlessly transitioning between playful chatter and deep reflections, a particularly touching moment arose when McCartney introduced his rendition of Blackbird, during which he shared the stirring origins of the song from the Beatles' iconic 1968 self-titled album.

“Having written that song, it was it was originally like a civil rights thing,” McCartney told the crowd. “Because around the time, when I wrote it, I was hearing a lot about the situation in the southern states in America, where there was a lot of segregation. And so I wanted to write a song that if it ever reached, the people going through all of that, it might just give them a little bit of hope.”

He continued, “And it was funny, actually, because we were down in the southern states, and we're playing Jacksonville. And the promoter said towards sort of caution, he said the audience, is gonna be segregated. So you've got the black people here, the white people, and we said, ‘No, we don't go to play to that.’”

“And he said, ‘Well, that's the way we do it down here’, but and we stuck to our guns. And in the end, because there's a bit of money involved, they decided they were desegregated. So everyone got to sit together. That’s something I'm really proud of.” 

He added, “Years later, I met one of the girls who had gone to the concert, and she said, ‘It was amazing because I've never sat with white people before, and we're all just Beatles fans. We're all just screaming into the holes. So it was lovely, you know?”

The evening was enriched with McCartney's heartfelt tributes, including a tender dedication of Here Today to his late friend and fellow Beatle, John Lennon, as well as playing the ukulele given to him by George Harrison.

“This next song, because when you’re kids in Liverpool, one thing you couldn't really say to each other was ‘I love you’”,  McCartney said ahead of performing Here Today from his 1982 solo album Tug of War that was written following Lennon’s tragic 1980 murder.

“It just wasn't done, because you spent half the time just trying to be tough. You never got to say ‘I love you’. So I wrote this song after my friend John died. Let's hear it for John,” McCartney said as the crowd roared with thunderous applause before hushing to the point you could hear a pin drop as the star performed the heartfelt track.

The performance of Live And Let Die was a spectacle of sensory overload, with the band tearing through the number against a backdrop of dazzling pyrotechnics, fireworks, and laser lights, all pulsating to the rhythm of the strobes.

As the set neared its conclusion, the Beatles icon, seated at his grand piano, took a moment to dedicate Hey Jude to Hollywood actor Jude Law, who was among the adoring Gold Coast audience. Law, who is on the Gold Coast for a film shoot, was visibly moved, joining in with the chorus in a moment of pure, unscripted delight.

Ever the consummate showman, McCartney returned to the stage for an encore that underscored his legendary status. With the crowd's cheers still echoing in the stadium, the concert reached its zenith with a virtual duet with an on-screen John Lennon for I’ve Got A Feeling.

 As McCartney closed with the Abbey Road medley, it was clear that the evening was more than just a concert; it was a celebration of a lifetime in music, a journey through the ages with one of the world's most beloved artists.

As the final note of The End resonated through the stadium, McCartney had the crowd erupting in cheers as he hinted at a return to the land Down Under.

“See you next time!”


  • Can’t Buy Me Love

  • Junior’s Farm

  • Letting Go

  • She’s A Woman

  • Got To Get You Into My Life

  • Come On To Me

  • Let Me Roll It

  • Getting Better

  • Let 'Em In

  • My Valentine

  • 1985

  • Maybe I’m Amazed

  • I’ve Just Seen A Face

  • Despite All The Danger

  • Love Me Do

  • Dance Tonight

  • Blackbird

  • Here Today

  • New

  • Lady Madonna

  • Fuh You

  • College

  • Jet

  • Mr. Kite!

  • Something

  • Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da

  • Band on the Run

  • Get Back

  • Let It Be

  • Live and Let Die

  • Hey Jude


  • I’ve Got A Feeling

  • Birthday

  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

  • Helter Skelter

  • Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End