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Review: A still-Fab McCartney shows age just a number with Fargodome show

Paul McCartney performs during his “Out There” tour Saturday night at the Fargodome. Nick Wagner / The Forum1 / 3
McCartney acknowledges the audience during the show. Nick Wagner / The Forum2 / 3
Sir Paul McCartney jams out with fellow band members during his “Out There” tour Saturday at the Fargodome. Nick Wagner / The Forum3 / 3

FARGO - That a 20-something Paul McCartney wrote and sang about needing assistance when he’s 64 speaks to the folly of youth. Now 72, McCartney got by with just a little help from his friends at the Fargodome on Saturday night.

Sir Paul held court in front of a crowd a little shy of the expected 17,000, leading fans on a magical history tour through his extensive song book.

He kicked off the two-plus hour set with “Eight Days A Week,” a nod to how exhaustive the night would be.

After his newish song, “Save Us,” it was “All My Loving,” complete with clips from old Beatles movies on the screens behind the stage. Unfortunately for Wings fans, the next tune, “Listen to What the Man Says,” didn’t get the same visual treatment, but they likely appreciated a healthy dose of music throughout the night from McCartney’s “other band.”

Known to Beatles fans back in the day as, “the cute one,” McCartney still had the ladies screaming (though not fainting) when he took off his jacket a few songs in and with his mugging. He rewarded them by picking up a guitar for the live staple, “Let Me Roll it,” then lighting up with a taste of Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady.”

At times he sounded his age. The spare “Blackbird” didn’t soar like it once did, but McCartney sang it with as much heart and warmth as ever and it was one of the night’s highlights.

So many of the songs still sounded ageless and he had the boyish energy to roll through rollicking tunes like “Paperback Writer” and the Wings’ tune, “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five,” which featured McCartney on piano.

With a backing band of only four, McCartney still delivered the symphonic scope of “The Long and Winding Road,” with drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. helping with the vocals.

He didn’t need much help with some impressively soulful belting over his piano on “Maybe I’m Amazed,” but returned to the close harmonies and acoustic guitar on the country-ish “I’ve Just Seen a Face” and “We Can Work it Out.”

Most impressive was just how much fun he was having. A millionaire many times over and a member of the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame, the only thing McCartney needs from touring is the satisfaction of playing.

He doesn’t need to push sales of his latest disc, “New,” but the title track and “Queenie Eye” sounded right at home next to “Lady Madonna.” While a block of new songs is generally prime time to grab another beer or go to the bathroom, fans on the floor stood and danced the whole show.

He also could’ve cut the show in half and strictly stuck to the hits (how many ticket-holders expected to hear the trippy “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” though the laser show was a big hit) and the Fargo fans would’ve been happy with the first performance by a Beatle in North Dakota.

Where Bob Dylan’s “Never-ending Tour” has frustrated fans with his rearrangements of classics, McCartney stuck pretty close to the recorded versions, outside of starting George Harrison’ “Something” on ukelele.

He left the heavy hitters for the end of regular set, blasting out “Band on the Run” and “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” without much of a breather. That would come when McCartney say at the piano for the contemplative, “Let it Be,” which brought out the waving phone screens as this review was being filed.

McCartney proved that 64 is too early to hang it up as long as you’re doing something you love. He may not get back to Fargo, but at this rate he can stay on that “Long and Winding Road” road for a while.