Thursday, September 29, 2005

It was seven days ago today...

... that I saw Paul McCartney in concert. (but I was too busy preparing to drive to Bethesda last Friday to write about it.)

Last thursday evening, myself (along with thousands of others) packed the Wachovia Center in south Philadelphia to watch the legendary Rock/Pop star perform the fourth date on his current US Tour. (during the show Paul described that "US" stood for us, you know, you and me. meh, come on Paul, you know it stands for "U.S.")

This was the third time that I've seen Sir Paul perform live. I'd seen him first during his mid 90's tour in a football stadium at Ames Iowa. The second time was here in Philly, three years ago, during his Driving Rain tour.

Though the cost of my ticket clocked in at just under $100 (yeow!) and I was about 6 rows from the ceiling, the show was worth it!.

The concert was to begin at 8PM promptly-but it didn't. To kill some time I talked with an attractive blonde girl in her early 20's about McCartney and the Beatles. She and her mother came to tonight's show but had single tickets. They couldn't get a pair together. So she sat here and her mother sat clear across on the other side of the arena. She told me that not only did they have tickets for the Friday show (9/23/05) but for the October 8 show in Washington DC as well.

That's either devotion or people with a lot of disposable income.

At 8:15 the "opening act" began. It was a DJ and he stood very tiny on the stage scratching his records that combined obscure McCartney solo work. (for god sake, when was the last time anyone played Temporary Secretary???) Now had this been a dance club this may have been bearable, but in a jam packed arena full of fervent fans waiting for old Beatles and Wings tunes- this went over like the preverbal lead balloon. So we did what any self respecting crowd would do.

Booed him the hell off the stage!

About 8:20, the lights went down and a brief bio-film was shown (as if anyone in this crowd didn't know any of his history). Finally, the curtains went up and the 5 piece band broke into Magical Mystery Tour.

Over the next few hours Paul played a nice combination of Beatle and solo tunes. He of course also shoe horned in tracks from his new release, Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard (much to chagrin of most at the show, but hey, I liked them).

So after the opening number, he followed with:
Flaming Pie (solo),
Jet (Wings),
I'll Get You (Beatles),
Drive My Car (Beatles),
Till There Was You (Beatles),
Let Me Roll It (Wings),
Got To Get You Into My Life (Beatles),
Fine Line (New Solo),
Maybe I'm Amazed (Solo),
The Long and Winding Road (Beatles),
In Spite of all the Danger (Never released First Beatles tune),
I Will (Beatles),
Jenny Wren (New Solo),
For No One (Beatles),
Fixing A Hole (Beatles),
English Tea (New Solo),
I'll Follow the Sun (Beatles),
Follow Me (Beatles),
Classical Bach tune that he and George would play together,
Blackbird (Beatles),
Eleanor Rigby (Beatles),
Too Many People (Solo),
She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (Beatles),
Good Day Sunshine (Beatles),
Band on the Run (Wings),
Penny Lane (Beatles),
I've Got A Feeling (Beatles),
Back in the USSR (Beatles),
Hey Jude (Beatles),
Live and Let Die (Wings),

And then they left the stage. Ah, but we're a concert going savvy crowd, we know what we have to do. We stand, shout, whistle and clap until our hands are raw for the inevitable encore.

So Paul headed back on the stage (eventually joined by the rest of the band) for:

Yesterday (Beatles),
Get Back (Beatles),
Helter Skelter (Beatles),

Then, they left again. OK, let's do our part. Yell, clap, whistle, yadda, yadda, yadda and, the weary five-some reappeared, waving both the American flag and Pennsylvania state flag. Once, done with the flag waving, they lit into:

Please, Please Me (Beatles),
Let It Be (Beatles)
Sgt. Pepper, Reprised (Beatles)
and finally
The End (from the Abbey Road medley)(Beatles)

And that was it. I great way to sum up the show As an aside, before the Sgt. Pepper number, the band brought on stage three little kids dressed in Sgt. Pepper garb. Their parents had brought the trio garbed like that to the show and on stage the kids sang along with the number. That's a nice way to end the show, though the cynic in me began to wonder if they were a plant.

But hey, I'm not a cynic..............right?

On the way out, I succumbed to the souvenir stand and pulled out the plastic to purchase "affordable" trinkets like a $30 program (the cover you can see at the beginning of this piece) and $35 for a T-shirt. I justified my splurge to the fact that this quite possibly could be the last chance to see him live.

I wasn't surprised by his choice of a finale since I believe he ended his 2002 tour with the same tunes. I was surprised by the really Beatle heavy number of tunes (what no love for Wings?) and was equally surprised by the inclusion of I Got A Feeling (the drummer sang the John part) and Helter Skelter (an extremely hard rocking version that they played, hours into the show as an encore!)

Which leads me to my final note. Sir Paul is 63 years of age now and the concert ran just under 3 hours. While the rest of the band took breaks while Paul soloed on acoustic guitar or piano, Paul was on stage the whole time!

And he sounded great!

(take that losers like Brittany Spears and Madonna who have to lip-sync!)

If the tour comes to your neck of the woods and you can spare a house payment for a ticket, do it. You won't be let down.

(unless of course you're one of those rat bastards who think that the Beatles are an overrated pop band. If that's the case, stay home. Maybe there'll be a "kewel" video to watch on MTV 2.)

No comments: