I've never the means to really be much of a concertgoer. Oh, I enjoy going to them, but I've always thought the price charged for most of these shows was beyond outrageous and certainly now, with 5 kids, we don't have the means to attend major concerts. Shaftdaughter and I had looked at McCartney ticket prices, since he was going to playing in Moline, which is and hour and a half from here. After seeing what they charged, my daughter jokingly asked if she thought she would raise enough money if she set up a Gofundme for tickets. However, through an incredibly generous set of circumstances, we were able to get tickets and my daughter and I went on Tuesday night. I knew it would be by far the most significant concert experience of my life, just barely edging out Extreme with Saigon Kick in 1993 and LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" tour in 1992.
I wanted to get there earlier than we did, and finding parking was challenging. I just wanted to get in there on time and hopefully get a T-shirt before the show. Well, we only entered the arena about ten minutes before scheduled show time, so I knew we'd have to wait on the T-shirt. Silly me, I perhaps thought a nearly 77 year old man would have an intermission in his show. When the ending orchestral sweetness of "A Day in the Life" started playing the lights went down, I was filled with a feeling I can't describe, which was then only intensified with Paul came out on stage. To someone who has grown up loving the Beatles, it is hard to put into words what it meant to even be in the same physical space as Paul McCartney, even with him hundreds of feet away on stage. It was a specific moment I will never forget. After a few pleasantries, THE chord to start "A Hard Day's Night" came in and away we went.
I know some of you have seen him before, but I didn't know exactly what to expect going in when we got the tickets. Then I looked up the setlist from his earlier dates and was blown away that he played 38 songs a night. With such an embarrassment of riches to choose from, it must have been torture to choose. 3 hours straight, and the dude not only did not front-load the list to sing the more challenging songs at the beginning, he only took 2 sips of water all night. Unbelievable. Multiple times, I found myself thinking how selfless he must be. Now, I know he's making plenty of money from doing this. But he doesn't need the money. He doesn't need the applause, the adulation, the chance to play "Blackbird" for the 23,448th time. He does it simply to give fans the experience. The chance to share his music, both with people who grew up with it at the time, and those who came upon it later in life.
The show was epic. 3 hours. Probably 2/3 Beatles tunes, 1/3 Wings and 1/3 his solo stuff, mainly from "Egypt Station".
Highlights for me in no particular order:
- Obviously, I could have heard Beatles tunes all night, but I particularly loved the older stuff. "All My Loving", "Love Me Do", "A Hard Day's Night", "From Me to You" were all there. But when he went into "I've Just Seen a Face" (in my top 10) was the pinnacle.
- His Wings stuff was gold. "Live and Let Die" was particularly epic and after "Maybe I'm Amazed" I nudged my daughter and told her that right there is why I thought she should play that as her next performance piano/singing piece.
- I know they weren't as high in K4's rankings, which no one read the writeups on, but "Lady Madonna" and, particularly, "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" were huge highlights. He had a horn section accompanying his band that added a lot to LM (they were huge on "Got to Get You Into My Life" also). The crowd sang along with Obla just as much as they did with Hey Jude at the end of the show.
-I couldn't look over at my daughter during "Let it Be". I knew she was crying, seeing him perform the song that really, really got her into a love affair with the Beatles and Paul in particular. I knew I would cry if I looked at her. We both just stared and listened, transfixed. After the song, I squeezed her leg and she gave me a big hug. (Those of you with 16 year old daughters might realize this doesn't happen every day.) (As I type this, at this very moment, I can hear my daughter upstairs, playing "Let It Be" on her guitar and it's getting dusty in here again.)
- Ending the concert with "Band on the Run" "Back in the USSR", "Let it Be", "Live and Let Die" and then "Hey Jude" rocked my face right off. And then the encore was "Birthday", "Sgt Pepper's", "Helter Skelter" and appropriately ending with "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End". Are you kidding me? What did I do to deserve this?
- I am just so grateful I had the opportunity to see a legend and experience it with my daughter. I just felt bad for the dude to my right who was so busy trying to get everything recorded on his phone and then not having enough battery and storage and trying to finagle with that so he could keep recording that he missed the experience. I tried to keep my phone in my pocket the whole night to just take it all in. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience that I'll never forget.