Thursday, July 29, 2010
Sir Paul McCartney
A few nights ago, I was one of the lucky thousands to be graced by the presence of Sir Paul McCartney, the reigning king of all things popular music. I got to see him last summer so I sort of knew what I was in for, but I also knew that the Bridgestone Arena would be a much more up close encounter than the huge field in Atlanta. Boy was I right. After selling a few organs, sending out numerous false graduation and marriage announcements, and holding a 24 hour telethon, I was able to afford a pretty decent ticket which allowed me to see a legend up close and personal. It was totally worth it (my apologies to that sucker who bought my lung). This was one of those shows that you never forget, one that you tell your nephews about when they are teenagers.
From the moment the lights went down to "The End", I was on my feet and loving it, much to the dismay of the squares behind me who really, really wanted me and my crew to sit down. They weren't just irritated, they were pissed. I don't know how you can be at that show and sit down, much less expect younger, more excited people to sit down on your command too. I told them, "When 68 year old Paul sits down, I'll sit down." Eventually the situation was resolved when they complained enough to the ushers to get moved to better, more cry baby sour pants appropriate seats and everyone was happy. Other low points of the show include the subliminal Obama worship song and the retarded Mexican kid that got onstage with an egregious sign and ruined "Get Back" for the rest of us.
Now on to the good stuff. Sir Paul rolled through all parts of his catalog, from Wings, to the long nameless solo career, and of course the Beatles stuff. The "Let Me Roll It" rocked so hard I almost couldn't stand it. Abe Laboriel Jr. seemed like he was going to put that huge kick drum right through my skull Vincent Vega style, and that was just seven songs into a roughly 35 song onslaught of rock favorites. Really, if I could write out a setlist for this band to play, it would pretty much match the actual one. All of my favorite fab four hits were involved. The show was stacked with runs like "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da", to "Back In The USSR", to "I’ve Got A Feeling", to "Paperback Writer" all in a row. We even got an impromptu little version of Pee Wee Herman's dance song "Tequila" which only Sir Paul could pull off, although he should have saved that for the talentless dunce that he pulled out of the front row. The touching tribute to George Harrison started with a bouncy ukulele version of "Something" that ended with the full band blasting out the rest of the song. The John Lennon tribute was alright too, with a "Day In The Life" that cheesed into an arm waving "Give Peace A Chance" love fest. Neither of these was as cool as the Jimi Hendrix tribute that included an instrumental "Foxey Lady" and a little story about Jimi and an old buddy Eric Clapton. Ending the set with an explosive "Live and Let Die" and the obligatory "Hey Jude" set up the encore, for which I was very excited after reading previous night's setlists. All of my favorites like "Lady Madonna", "Get Back" and "Helter Skelter" were in the double encore which ended exactly like it should, with "Sgt. Peppers" into "The End".
In many ways, this show was similar to the one I saw last summer. That one was great because it was my first time and it was huge. This one was also great, mostly because it was smaller and I could actually see the man and his band. The way Sir Paul bounces around the stage and makes his classic pucker up faces is a lot cooler when you don't have to watch it on the huge screen. Being able to see the band members, as well as their beautiful Gibson, Gretch, and Vox gear was also a real treat. This band really takes the show over the top. The vocal harmonies are top notch and they nailed every song perfectly, all while appearing to have the time of their lives. Really, who wouldn't be geeked beyond control to be in the band supporting the biggest rock gawd alive? I know I would be.