One year ago, Paul McCartney popped into the old Shea Stadium to say goodbye by joining Billy Joel on a couple of hits.

Last night Joel returned the favor and played keyboards on the Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There” as McCartney christened Citi Field with the first of three shows.

It wasn’t an easy night. Humidity was 100% and rain pelted down hard sometimes. Even McCartney and the band got wet. But it was well worth it. Among the crowd: Pierce Brosnan, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, restaurateur Drew Nieporent, country superstar Martina McBride with her husband and kids.

McCartney, now 67, simply rocked the house with the best show of 2009. He mixed Beatles songs with his own hits, and debuted some video from the upcoming Beatles “Rock Star” game due on September 9th.

As always, he makes it look easy, when it can’t possibly be. He runs from piano to bass guitar, singing impeccably and managing to tell some engaging stories about playing Shea with the Beatles in the 60s. He’s got tributes to John Lennon and George Harrison, including a medley he’s made of “A Day in the Life” with “Give Peace a Chance.” (He should finish the former, however; it’s a masterpiece.)

There’s plenty from his Wings era, but maybe not enough’just “My Love,” “Band on the Run,” “Jet,” “Mrs. Vandebilt,” and “Let Me Roll’ It.” McCartney doesn’t realize his fans want to hear “Too Many People,” “Another Day,” and even “Hi Hi Hi” or “Junior’s Farm.” What was impressive: “Sing the Changes” from his recent “Electric Fireman” album, sounded like it should be a radio hit. And I’d include “My Ever Present Past,” and “My Brave Face” over some other choices.

Still, McCartney remains a wonder. He’s at the top of his game again. He even dressed in a black suit and white shirt reminscent of the Beatles’ old early costumes. Nice touch.

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