Playing the Beatles card trumps everything: trendiness, chart position, even senior citizenship. That's why
He overcame any jitters about facing down cutting-edge bands and jaded audiences after his appearance at
"What had held me up from doing
"I said, well, I can do that. If it isn't everyone sitting around campfires singing massively obscure indie songs, then I get it. It's just another show."
For fans, a
"Any time Paul McCartney hits the stage, it's an event, and the world takes notice," Waddell says. "Very few artists command the kind of global respect as does McCartney. He continues to push his own creative boundaries. It also helps more than a little that he comes off as a genuine person. This combination of music and charisma translates into serious box office."
McCartney's hit-packed set was hailed as the highlight of Coachella's smorgasbord of brand names and rising stars. "I like festivals. I like the vibe. I like the idea of people coming together as a culture."
Though fans can expect a parade of Fab Four hits at his summer shows, there will be no coming together of McCartney and ex-Beatle
"I played and sang on (
His Beatles status has been both a career boost and burden.
"You get fed up being him," he says. "You're always that guy. If I was
His set list indulges fans with Beatles classic
"If I buy a ticket to a show, I know what I want to hear the band play," he says. "So I start with that: What would I want to hear me play if I was in the audience? Then we start rehearsing stuff I'd like to play or that we haven't done for a while, or never done. That creeps in. We just learned a couple
The Fireman allowed McCartney to abandon conventional songwriting structures and "throw it all open."
"I would shout about, pretend to be a DJ," he says. "It's different, energizing and freeing."
And yet McCartney takes great pride that, at 66, he sold out The Joint in seven seconds, a world record.
"When my name is on the marquee, I'm very happy about it," he says, adding that a quirky sideline "recharges your battery. If you do this all the time, you'd get bored and jaded. I'm not jaded. I still love what I do."
He's scouting for producers, but not a label, as he prepares to record a solo album. His last solo effort, 2007's
"People like me are just looking for a distributor, and there are so many options," he says. "I've written a bunch of new songs over the last couple of months. I've got a guitar concerto that's cooking in the background, some classical pieces I'm writing."
And he'll make his debut Sept. 9 as "an android" in
McCartney has had some hard times in recent years, starting with first wife Linda's death in 1998. He was shattered when ex-Beatle
Such ups and downs are hardly unusual, he insists.
"I'm in the public eye, so you notice my trials and tribulations," he says. "Most people my age have been through similar things. They've lost loved ones. Lots of people have been divorced. You have to try to understand it and move on. It's never easy.
"How do I do it? I remember the good times."