How does one go about describing the experience of seeing Paul McCartney live in concert? How can you even put it into words? For me, it was one of those moments that was, I can say without a single bit of doubt, once in a lifetime.
I have seen a Beatle.
I'm going to let this Rolling Stone article introduce it for me:
"But the biggest fireworks at Outside Lands' opening ceremony – literally and figuratively – came with the day's anchor act, the Beatles' Paul McCartney. Some fans found the performance cathartic. Some cried. Others had wide smiles from start to finish. Nearly everyone understood the weight of Sir Paul tearing soulfully through Beatles and Wings numbers with the conviction of the person who wrote those songs – "Blackbird," "Paperback Writer," "Hey Jude," "Eleanor Rigby," "Let It Be," and so on and so forth – which, individually and collectively, helped shape our very idea of rock & roll." Read more of this article here.
ALL of the above, people, ALL OF THOSE EMOTIONS. I described it as having "several heart attacks" during the show. A few examples: jaw dropping, grinning, tearing up, gasping, screaming, "woo-hooing," jumping up and down, and swaying back and forth.
And not only have I seen a Beatle, but I've seen a Beatle put on a SHOW! The man is 71 years old and still rocking a three-hour concert like a youngster. Unbelievable. I have seen my fair share of legends in concert (ah hem, Neil Young) and did not have this experience.
But then, I feel like my early years were defined by Beatles music. The poster you see above was on my wall for years, and one of my all time most favorite tracks is, randomly enough, the recording of "From Me to You" from the Anthology 1 record (track 31). My favorite album is Revolver, followed by Sgt. Pepper's, followed by the White Album. Whenever I listen to the end of Eleanor Rigby, I automatically hear the guitar strum followed by John's voice, "When I wake up early in the morning, I lift my head, I'm still yawning..." (Remember those days before discovering the "shuffle" option on your boom box?) It's just that kind of music for me.
This is, of course, the influence of my parents. My mom suffered from Beatlemania as a girl (the audio recording playing before the show last week aptly characterized Beatlemania as an ailment that "could only described by the person suffering from it.") So naturally, my sister and I (like so many others from our generation) grew up listening to and learning about the Beatles. My mom and aunt made their famous quilt in honor of their favorite band.
If you've never seen the Beatles quilt, it's truly something:
Photo courtesy www.sue-nickels.com
So anyway, seeing Paul live, in the flesh, performing his little 71-year-old arse off... was... ya know, AMAZING.
In no particular order, these were my favorite songs he played:
1. Band on the Run (Best medley ever, if not greatest song ever.)
2. Something (No comment necessary.)
3. Maybe I’m Amazed (Have you listened to the lyrics to this song in a while? I mean, COME ON! What a love song.)
4. Let it Be (Nuf said.)
5. Eight Days a Week (He opened with this one....)
6. Live and Let Die (Pyrotechnics, that's all I'm going to say.)
7. Lovely Rita (Don't you just love rhyming "Rita" with "Meter"?! It's even more fun when you can scream it at the top of your lungs surrounded by thousands of people.)
So, in conclusion, I highly recommend spending a chunk of time listening to the Beatles today. If you have Spotify like me, there's a live show called "Good Evening New York City" that will give you a taste of Sir Paul's live shows.
Here are a few pictures. My phone died during the first song, of course, so I borrowed a few. Probably for the best, since it's impossible to recreate the experience anyway.
Oh, there's just one other thing I need to comment on, sorry if you've got stuff to do! Look below. See what the green arrow is pointing to:
So that girl was holding a sign, and she eventually got put on stage, to have PAUL SIGN HER WRIST WITH A SHARPIE... And that was just about the most adorable thing you've ever seen. She was absolutely HYSTERICAL, I'm talking Beatlemania hysterical, suffering from symptoms of shock (shaking, turning red, crying uncontrollably) from meeting Paul McCartney. Here she is:
Unbelievable. This girl was not a day over 25 years old, and she was literally about to pass out from the gravity of meeting Paul McCartney. After she hugged him (hugged him!), she turned to walk off stage, and as she started walking she turned back to him and said, voice trembling, "I love you." And I don't think she was exaggerating.