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Paul McCartney and Paul Simon Bookend ‘SNL 40′

Paul McCartney Paul Simon
Theo Wargo / Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images

Musical performances have long been a part of Saturday Night Live‘s appeal. And as the show honored its 40 years on the air Sunday night (Feb. 15), Paul McCartney and Paul Simon were on hand to bookend the celebration.

During the monologue, McCartney and Paul Simon performed a bit of the Beatles‘ “I’ve Just Seen a Face.” But McCartney wasn’t offstage for long. A little while later, Keith Richards introduced him by saying, “Hello, everybody. In the early ‘60s, a band came out of England, you know, and it changed the world. But enough about the Rolling Stones. Ladies and gentlemen, Paul McCartney.”

Seated at the piano, McCartney and his band proceeded to play “Maybe I’m Amazed.” McCartney’s voice sounded a bit worse for wear, perhaps as a result of his surprise Valentine’s Day concert at Irving Plaza the night before. Still, his band excelled, with drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr. and lead guitarist Rusty Anderson standing out.

Simon returned at the end to sing “Still Crazy after All These Years,” perhaps as a way of acknowledging the show’s continuing relevance. His closing of the show made some sense of the fact that Miley Cyrus sang his “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” earlier in the night instead of him.

With Kanye West in attendance (he did a medley of his songs aided by Sia and Vic Mensa), there were also several references to his interruption of Beck‘s acceptance speech at the Grammys last week. The funniest was during a revisit of “Wayne’s World,” where mock security guards were standing next to him to prevent him from getting out of his seat and storming the stage when Wayne and Garth admitted that Beck was better than Beyonce.

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