@AndyShore The anticipation of seeing Paul McCartney had been building since Zack first told me the show was announced. It built even more when my brother managed to get me a ticket while I was in the car, on the way home from San Diego. It reached a head last week, when I thought the concert was last Wednesday. What a disappointment finding out I had another week to go! I couldn’t take it anymore, by the time I got to my seat in the Hollywood Bowl. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited. Asides from excitement, Macca had me running the gamut of emotions. Tears welled in my eyes because I was finally seeing Sir Paul himself. I cried, unashamed, as Paul sang “Here Today” to John. I screamed at the top of my lungs after every song, and sat in silence after the show because there just wasn’t any words.
The Beatles have long been the standard of what bands should try and live up to. Every band I see from now on can thank Paul McCartney for becoming that for concerts I see. I fear everyone else will just seem pedestrian. It’s hard to believe that the Beatles ceased to be a touring band, because Paul McCartney is one of the best performers I have ever seen. He still has the same boyish charm that girls clamored for more than 40 years ago. He hears the roars at the end of each song and still shrugs his shoulders as if to say, “who, me?”
I was on my feet dancing from the opener of “Jet” to the last notes of “The End,” despite the fact I was sometimes the only one in my section standing. McCartney, the master craftsman, knows how to make a set ebb and flow. Early on, he mixed in Beatles songs at a pace of every other song or two. Later in the set it was almost all Beatles. He told stories when he needed to, and moved seamlessly from bass, to electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, mandolin and ukulele.
After a rousing “Let Me Roll It” Paul dropped into the face melting solo of “Foxy Lady.” He then told the story about how Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band dropped on a Friday, and Jimi Hendrix played it live that Sunday. To this day, you can tell how honored Paul was by that gesture. Like a comedian who comes back to an earlier joke, Paul briefly teased Jimi before dropping into “Sgt. Pepper’s Reprise > The End” to close the second encore.
Chills ran through me as the stage went dark and Paul sang “Blackbird” solo, acoustic with just a spotlight on him. He picked up the ukulele, and told a story about how much George loved the uke. Paul said that they used to play them together all the time, and one day he had learned a George song on it. He then played “Something,” with the first half on a ukulele that George had given him. It was the second fallen Beatle that Paul paid tribute to that night. Both brought special cheers from the crowd.
One of the biggest highlights of the night was “Live and Let Die.” After the opening verse, before the tempo picks up, there was a large explosion and flames erupted from the stage. Fireworks lit up the sky over the Hollywood Bowl, during the orchestral part that follows that. It was a rock and roll spectacle that I have only seen matched by Kiss and Rush live (the spectacle, not the music…don’t get your panties in a bunch y’all).
The first encore consisted of “Day Tripper,” “Lady Madonna” and “Get Back.” Had that been all that they played and not returned for a second encore, it would have been enough. Dayenu (I didn’t attend a Seder this week, so I’m making up for it here)! Returning to play “Yesterday” with just his keys player was a nice way to start the second encore. Paul then got on the mic and said it sounded like the crowd still wanted to rock. This brought on ‘Helter Skelter” and a comment from him at the end of, “well, you asked for it.”
I can honestly say this is the best concert I’ve ever attended, after having a full day to reflect on it and seeing how excited I’ve gotten every time I’ve talked about it. We’re doing an updated top-5 artists we still have to see list in the wake of my seing Paul McCartney (my former number one) for our inaugural podcast, the Podcrash. I may have to keep Paul in the number one slot as long as he’s on this planet.