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Paul McCartney and his welcome return to Australia … finally

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By the time this edition of Australian Medicine arrives hot off the presses, Sir Paul McCartney’s One on One world tour would have not only found its way to Australia, it will be almost over.

Because of early end-of-year publishing deadlines, combined with the usual lead times between design, print and delivery, this hard copy edition of AusMed won’t be able to include a review of one of Macca’s Aussie concerts. Do keep an eye out online though, because there will be a review. Sir Paul back Down Under will be too good to miss.

It was 1993 when Sir Paul last performed in Australia, as part of his well-received New World Tour. That tour was his last anywhere for nine years. He had his wife Linda with him then – an integral part of the band and the obvious love of his life – who died five years later from breast cancer.

McCartney was coming back to Australia in 2002. The tour had been announced. But it was cancelled after the Bali bombings, with the feeble excuse that the last thing Australians needed then was a pop concert when they were grieving for the loss of their citizens in that terrorist attack.

His excuse for cancelling didn’t add up at all, given the fact Sir Paul not only performed a special benefit concert in New York the month following the Twin Towers attacks there on September 11, 2001 – he organised it, rounded up his celebrity mates to lend a hand, and he even wrote a special song for the occasion.

All is forgiven, Sir Paul. The wait has been far too long, but Australia is pleased you have returned.

And why wouldn’t we be?

There is no other way of putting it than this – Paul McCartney is an absolute legend, and rock n roll music would not be what it is today if he had not come along.

It is no myth that even as a young lad, Paul McCartney could produce sweet music from any instrument he was handed. That natural talent simply improved as he aged.

Yes, many musicians (better musicians even) have come along since the Beatles, since Wings, since Sir Paul – but all have been shaped in some form by the music he has penned and performed.

The brilliance of Lennon and McCartney cannot be overstated and neither can McCartney’s driving and creative force in that dynamic duo and in the Fab Four generally.

Going by the set lists of his tour so far, audiences will be treated to a superb mix of Beatles’ songs. Let it Be, Love Me Do, Lady Madonna, Yesterday, Hey Jude, Blackbird and much more of the Beatles’ catalogue have featured so far – as well as nods to his former bandmates with Something (written by George Harrison), Give Peace a Chance (a John Lennon classic), and I Wanna Be Your Man (a Lennon and McCartney tune that was sung by Ringo Starr).

Then there are the Wings and McCartney solo numbers that have been pulled out of the bag this tour – Jet, Live and Let Die, Maybe I’m Amazed, and Band on the Run to name just a few.

There are literally hundreds and hundreds (close to a thousand) songs McCartney has written, either by himself or in collaboration.

At least half of those are instantly recognisable by music lovers across the generations.

Getting to hear and see a few dozen of these momentous songs being performed live by the man who actually wrote and recorded them is a treat that defies description.