Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Concert Review


In the most epic concert I've ever attended, Paul McCartney made good on all my years of Beatle nerdiness. For almost three hours the 68 year old played everything you would want to hear from his massive catalog of rock hits. He went non-stop for three hours! I get winded singing one or two karaoke songs, and I'm only 27. This guy is 68 and still rocks as well as he did in the 1960's. Unlike some other stars from his generation, he hasn't had to resort to new arrangements and lower octaves to keep performing. The songs he played last night sound exactly the way you expect them to.

Mary Anne and I arrived at Rio Tinto Stadium about an hour and half early, and I'm glad we did. This concert was rife with some really interesting people, and we enjoyed observing the crowd. It is a true testament to Paul's music that he drew such a varied group of people to the concert.  Like this guy, for example.

After a nice wait, the show got underway at about 8:15 with Paul, in his trademark collarless jacket, starting us off with the Wings medley- Venus and Mars/Rockshow that led into one of my favorite Wings songs- Jet. As the sun set on the band and the mood got more lively I felt a wave of emotion. This was the culmination of all those days and nights in middle school sitting in my room, singing along to The Beatles and Wings.

After welcoming us with his Liverpool charm, Paul cranked out a few Beatle tunes- All My Loving, The Long and Winding Road and Drive My Car. The crowd justifiably ate it up. Even though we were near the back, the large screens on the sides of the stage made it feel like Paul was right there. He was, of course, a tiny little Polly Pocket sized person when you actually got a view of the stage, but it didn't matter. Following the Beatles mini-set, was Nineteen Hundred and Eight Five, Let Me Roll It and a couple of newer songs that were good, but not great.

Once it got darker, Paul did a solo set without his band. He played Blackbird and his tribute to John Lennon- Here Today on acoustic guitar. It was nice to have a more intimate experience, but he quickly switched gears again, bringing his band back for Eleanor Rigby, Dance Tonight and a  great version of Band on the Run, complete with the cover of the album broadcast behind him.

His new hit about none other than Barack Obama, Sing the Changes, was a nice Bruce Springsteen-esque departure from the usual repitoire. I had never heard it before, and I now intend to download it. That was preceded by his tribute to the late George Harrison, Something. He started on ukelele and then was joined by the band for what I feel was the most emotional song of the night. The main part of the concert was finished off with a series of his biggest hits, but none was done bigger than Live and Let Die. There were flashing lights, fireworks and smoke and flames that really got the crowd into it. When he played Hey, Jude we knew things were winding down, but not before he took two encores- including Paul waving the Utah flag.

I could not have been more amazed by this night. Paul is a great showman who still has all of the charm and musical ability that made him so many people's favorite Beatle. The only drawback to the show was the fact that I had to pee for much of it. Live and learn, I guess. Or Live and Let Die!

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