We waited four lingering years for his return and were rewarded with a spirited display of the classics.
The Complex swarmed with fans sporting their “Better With You” t-shirts and hot pink Jesse McCartney fanny packs. The bags alone were enough to transport you back to the early 2000’s, but it was his music which actually sent you there.
Concert goers went wild for the supporting acts. It wouldn’t be fair to say that every individual in the hall was there for McCartney, not with openers like Just Seconds Apart and PUBLIC performing. Most opening acts leave crowds bored and stagnant, but these two did the exact opposite. Attendees sang, danced, jumped and genuinely had a good time.
Just Seconds Apart started the show with pop tunes and a lot of energy. The band, made up of 18-year-old triplets, played several covers of popular songs. Their rendition of a Twenty One Pilots track got the whole crowd singing. While the music they played was upbeat and fun, it was their drummer, Sela Poulos, who truly caught my eye. My gaze couldn’t stray from her impeccable talent and passion — not until the next performer came on, that is.
The second act really got the audience moving with their musical flair. PUBLIC, a pop band from Cincinnati, knew how to captivate the room. Their cover of “Toxic” by Britney Spears was a real crowd pleaser. The anticipation for McCartney himself was masked by the crowd’s joy for the 2004 track, which transported the room to the beginning of the century.
PUBLIC left the stage and we knew what was to come.
McCartney appeared and the room was absolute mayhem. He began his 17 song set with “She’s No You,” followed closely with “Leavin’.” Screams, cries and joy met the two singles. It had been at least 10 years since anyone in Salt Lake City has witnessed a McCartney performance and the excitement was evident.
Not only was his presence on stage exhilarating, but his vocal performance was absolutely phenomenal. It’s easy for an artist to sound better on tracks than live, but that was of no concern with McCartney whose vocals sounded near perfect.
It’s safe to say the entire show was flawless and the setlist was no different. McCartney sampled new music with “Selfless,” “Wasted” and “Soul,” among others. It was the oldies, however, which really got the mob of admirers to bop. Toward the middle of the set, McCartney said, “You guys want to walk down memory lane a little bit?” The collective answer was yes and McCartney continued with “The Stupid Things,” “Body Language” and “It’s Over.”
McCartney ended the show with “Beautiful Soul” to the unquestionable delight of the crowd. The stage erupted with smashing drums at the song’s conclusion, sending McCartney off with a proper bang. He finished the show ‘leavin’,’ just as his song suggests.
Undoubtedly, the worst part of the night was when it ended and the mass of McCartney’s supporters exited the venue to head home. All that was left of the night remains in our J. Mac merchandise and ticket stubs. The only thing left for fans to do is blast McCartney’s music on the stereo and wait patiently for his return to SLC.