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Crossed Off my Bucket List? Hearing "Hey Jude" Live

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Images and clips from his younger years ran behind him, showing McCartney when he was only 22, or 25, or even 35 years old. One particular one showed him in England -- with a beard and a thick winter coat -- holding his child inside his jacket. There were glimpses of him and John. And him and George. Only occasionally Ringo.

It was a callback to the time when McCartney and The Beatles were McCartney and The Beatles. Even the shots of him with Wings appeared just oh-so British Invasion. That's how it's always been. It was a moment in time... that much is clear now. It might not have been possible again. They had their lightning in a bottle, and look where it's led Paul, specifically.

McCartney played for 60,000 Vancouverites on Sunday and, by the end, you didn't even notice that Springsteen never made his much-rumoured "surprise" appearance.

Too often, we see older stars as they are now. It's realistic, but when is that ever fun?

We've seen McCartney play at London's Opening Ceremonies, when he was just OK. We've seen him at various charity shows. We've seen "Hey Jude" at countless outdoor concerts... on television. But, they always seem so far away. They always seem like they're in a different world, even if they're down the street.

He has appeared a little weathered. A little grumpy. He can be forgiven, because he's 70 damn years old. Of course, that's not what appeared at BC Place on Sunday.

No, this was young McCartney again. And, the new one. It was vintage and voyage. There was that same boyish smile you see in early photos from their time in Liverpool, or the psychedelic German clubs, or their first appearance at Shea Stadium.

There was a floppy-haired rocker who seemed very well aware of who he was and where he'd been, but was also transfixed on enjoying the moment.

For the audience, you got to cross another one off your bucket list. Hearing "Hey Jude" live? How can that not be on there? Is there another song anywhere in the universe that begs the same effect, or comes with the same aura, when its played to people who've paid to see and hear it?

"Hey Jude," and, "Get Back," and, in his best performance and the show's best fireworks display of the night, "Live and Let Die."

He played for three hours. Three hours. Most 70-year-olds you know are worried about the colour of their shuffleboard broom. Paul, meanwhile, has more energy than Bruno Mars jumping in front of a train for you.

On Sunday night, Paul McCartney had his way with 60,000 Canadians. They're all now on the other side of the bed, enjoying a cigarette.

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Photos courtesy of Robert Whitaker on behalf of LIFE Books