Saturday, September 17, 2005
But let me get to the personal stuff first.
My daughter was supposed to take me to dinner before the concert, but the wait at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company was 1 hour to be seated and if we did that we would have missed the concert (supposedly). So we stood in line outside the American AirlinesArena, along with about a thousand others (it was about 6:40) The line was already pretty long, a second one formed and some people were sitting on the walls instead of standing. It looked like a Beatles concert was supposed to look, only most of us were well over 40. I ended up eating over price Papa Jonh's pizza ($7 for a personal pepperoni pizza) in my seat while waiting for the show to start.
They started letting us in at 7:00, and the line was SLOW because we all had to have our bags checked and we had to be wanded with a metal detector so we wouldn't take in any guns, knives, bombs or anything. Once inside Annie and I decided to buy our shirts first, so we got in line at the vendor...I did buy one for Tom, because I promised sicne he bought me my tickets, and Annie got one with sparkles that spelled out Paul McCartney (so that way Tom wouldn't steal hers) and I got one in red that reminded me of Peter Max stuff (Paul seems to like that color best, it was prominent on stage, his towels, and in his wardrobe), all of our shirts are different so we can't get them confused.
Then came the treck to the seats. Remember mine were sold as "behind the stage" seating so they were the really "cheap seats." Section 401, row 5 seats 5 and 6. Well, it turns out they were NOT the highest seats in the AAA there are seats to that actually went about 20 or 30 rows farther up than we were and behind actually meant beside. Yeah, they were really good seats. The only thing we couldn't see on stage was the drummer and the backdrop (we had a good view of the back of that). I didn't go to see the backdrop anyhow I went to see Paul and it was like watching Paul perform from above him, like looking out a 4th floor window at him performing in the yard below. GREAT VIEW!! We also didn't get blasted by the sound system, because we were behind the directional noise, but we heard very well. The big screen was near enough to catch "close ups" of his expression, but we had the advantage of seeing some "behind the scenes" working - like when the piano came up from below the stage so Paul could play . And we got to see him talking to the two other guitarists (who were younger and enregetic, and had voices so similiar to John and George that it was unbelievable) One guy Randy, with thick dark hair, had a haircut that fell in his eyes and he looked like he had a "Beatles" cut. The other guitarist Brian was a cute blonde, but a little shy.
So what was it like? How did I feel?
When the curtain came up (almost 45 minutes AFTER the posted ticket concert time) and I saw Paul I cried. It was not intentional, I was singing the song from the Sgt. Pepper album with 99.9% of the rest of the audience, (Roll Out for the Mystery Tour) but tears were rolling down my cheeks. It was Paul, and it brought a rush of memories of youth and of loss because I thought briefly about John and George and the brevity of life. But he sang, and I sang and I was filled with the joy of life. Paul was on stage and I was there. God's in His heaven and all is right with the world.
Paul looked a little stunned, as if he didnt' know what to expect - after all we were the first stop on this tour - it was like a runthrough I guess. He looked around and smiled and looked at us as if he'd come home. The two other guitarists looked psyched, I mean really psyched. After all, there they were on stage with Paul McCartney and the crowd was going wild. By the end of the song you could see that Paul was absorbing energy from the crowd and we from him, and that symbiotic exchange just got better and better all night.
There were a few first night glitches. As I said, a piano magically appeared from below stage so Paul could play and sing a few times. The first time it came up it was over amplified so that Paul's voice and the guitars were drown out, however they corrected that the next time the "magic piano" appeared for later songs. Also, when Paul sang one of his new songs, Jenny Wren, from the new CD, alone on stage playing accustic guitar the sound was off and some of the lyrics were lost. He also sang three other selections from the CD, but he sang songs from EVERY aspect of his career: Pre-Beatles, Beatles, solo career with Wings, and with Linda and now. It was a good mix. He sang "'Til there was you" and I think every female there thought it was intended just for her.
He said as the Quarrymen he and John and Duff and two other guys, I can't remember their names, went to record something, and it cost 5 pounds. So each of them chipped in a pound and they did the recording. They decided it was only fair that since there was only one copy each of the 5 of them would keep the record for 1 week each on a rotating basis. He said the two other guys took it for their week, Paul got his week, John got his week and then Duff, who kept the record for 23 years. That got a big laugh from the audience. Then he sang the song "In Spite of All the Danger". Not a memorable song from a Beatles standpoint, but historically significant.
As I said, it was a first night performance, I guess they hadn't worked out all of the kinks. He started telling us about how he and George played some classical guitar pieces for some gigs in their early years and he played a bit of one of them by J.S. Bach, as he called him. Then he said he wanted to tell us that because the first three cords inspired him to write the next song he sang "Blackbird". My daughter said that song alone was worth the concert because she REALLY wanted to hear him play that in person, and she got her wish. Blackbird is her very favorite Beatles song.
But as the the newspaper story will tell you he forgot the words in one part, yeah, Paul forgot which verse he was singing and since most of us were singing along with every song we knew the right ones and he stopped playing and made a comment about it. But he laughed it off and said "Well at least you know it isn't on tape". Then he finished the song with the right words.
Paul played until nearly midnight. Two encores, yeah, Paul played. Twice in the performance the "support band" went off stage and it was just Paul and us. The man is going to be 64 on his next birthday and the 30 year olds couldn't keep up with his pace. They had to rest ( so much for those youngsters, but then again Paul wasn't jumping around as much as they did). We all sang "Hey Jude" and I was amazed at how many male voices there were singing, when Paul made us break up and sing by gender the male voices were much stronger and louder. "Back in the USSR" was fan double damn tastic. The man can really rock!
Actually Paul played some really good stuff. The newspaper said he played "yeah yeah yeah" but that was incorrect, what he did play is that early Beatles song that goes " Imagine I'm in love with you, it's easy 'cos I know. I've imagined I'm in love with you many, many, many times before. And I'm telling you, my friend, that I'll get you I'll get you in the end. Yes I will I'll get you in the end, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah." I can never remember if it's called "I'll get you" or "Imagine I'm in love with you" and right now I am too lazy to look it up. My daughter calls it the "stalking song" because if you really listen to the words it's sounds like a young male who is so intent on getting his love that he's not above "wearing her down" by stalking. Very un PC for this day and age, but then in the 1960's it seemed like a young man determined to have his love despite her protestations to the contrary.
That is NOT "She Loves You" which is the yeah,yeah yeah song.
One song, "Live and Let Die" he did with the new fangled pyrotechnics, firweorks, loud explosions, the works, like you'd expect from a James Bond Movie. (Or a KISS concert) Now that's when my seat was too close..those loud bangs were a bit much, but quite effective for the venue, and I did like the fireworks.
He also played, he said, for the first time on American soil "Helter Skelter" - shades of psycheledic! It was like a trip without the acid! The screen was all flashing geometric shapes colors, the lighting was wild and the cameras shot quick shot glimpses of all parts of the stage and all aspects of the performance and the music was perfect. Loud, at times discordant and perfect.
His first call back to the stage was expected because he had material perpared. But the second call back seemed to amaze him. As I said we say the behind the scenes stuff, and at one point he was ready to leave when one of the crew handed him another guitar (he changed a few times alternating accustic, base and lead) and Paul sort of questioned him when the crewmember pointed to the audience and then Paul gave in and did another song. Finally though he just came right out and said, hey we really gotta go home and so do you (and he was almost booed for that) but the group started the Sgt. Pepper song that included the lyrics "we're sorry but it's time to go" so we knew that that was the end.
As they started the instrumental only part of it Annie and I got up and left so we coudl beat the crowd to the escalators and to the metrorail to get home. We didn't miss anything, we could hear the music all the say down the 4 floors and even out of the building on the front stairs.
It was a great concert. Everything I expected and MORE. If you get a change when he gets to a city near you (and you can score some tickets) then by all means go. It is worth every penny even from the cheap seats.