There was a lot going on at Fenway Park during the Paul McCartney show Tuesday.
The legendary musician employed many of the standard trappings of stadium shows including huge video screens, showing psychedelic images as well as clips of McCartney through the years from cute Beatle to Wings-man to elder statesman. There were flurries of confetti and elaborate lighting schemes. For an exhilarating tear through “Live and Let Die,” there was a riot of pyrotechnics and fireworks.
As enjoyable as those production elements could be, all the magic that McCartney really needed was right there within his own power.
Thanks to his unparalleled repertoire, his miraculously still-marvelous voice, and the skills of his crackerjack, four-man backing band, even the most intimate moments — a delicate, solo acoustic “Blackbird” or the chills-inducing “Eleanor Rigby” — were as captivating as brawny, spectacle-assisted rockers like “Back in the U.S.S.R.”
The always affable McCartney pinwheeled through his career playing more than three dozen songs, telling a few stories about them along the way, and bantering with the all-ages crowd in a two-hour, 40-minute set.
Beatles songs came in all of that band’s flavors including the whimsical — “All Together Now,” “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” — the pensive — “The Long and Winding Road” — the early favorites — “And I Love Her,” “Eight Days a Week” — the fidgety rockers — “Paperback Writer,” “We Can Work it Out,” “Day Tripper” — and on and on.
McCartney lovingly tipped his cap to his former bandmates, singing the clear-eyed but poignant “Here Today” for John Lennon, and “Something” for George Harrison, on Harrison’s beloved instrument the ukulele.
Wings fans got their due with spins through tunes like “Band on the Run” and “Junior’s Farm,” and McCartney managed to wedge the heartfelt “My Valentine,” from his most recent album, “Kisses on the Bottom,” into the jukebox that had the sold-out crowd singing along for most of the night.
Not enough can be said about McCartney’s four-piece, who provide their leader with everything from a celestial choir to white-hot guitar solos to crisp and hard-hitting time-keeping to ably serving as cheerful onstage foils. McCartney may be in a class of his own, still in possession of that ineffable quality that manages to be both mythic and accessible, but his band — for whom he has clear affection — plays a major role in keeping him on his toes.