There aren’t many times when you get out of your house for just a few hours assured that when you come back you just had the experience of a lifetime; unless you’re going out to watch Paul McCartney. Then you can be pretty sure you’re bound to an unforgettable, life changing experience. And what’s better: it doesn’t matter how many times you had the experience, it always work this way.
What is it about Paul McCartney that gives him this aura, this energy, this endless ability of making you feel good? When I wrote here about him, I said that in one word I thought he was God. But after my eighth (!) McCartney concert, I think he is actually above that. I can’t describe what he means to me, I can only say that every time I see him I only have good feelings. He is like a walking source of happiness.
And of course, there’s the band. It’s obvious that if you’re Paul McCartney band you better be good, but those guys that been with him since the early 00’s are by far the best ever since that other band from Liverpool. And that’s what enables him to play anything from his unmatched catalogue of great music, the talent of all the other musicians coupled with his own.
They opened with a rarely executed live Beatles number “Eight Days a Week”, followed by the Hard Rocker from the new album, “Save us”. Now, this song could be on any modern Hard Rock band record, instead it was written by this guy at 72.
The show followed with “All My Loving” sang even by the chairs at the stadium, the wonderful “Listen To What The Man Said”, the heavy “Let Me Roll It” (with the traditional Jimi Hendrix homage at the end) and “Paperback Writer” (played in the original guitar it was recorded).
The poignant “My Valentine” and its work-of-art video starring Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp, the upbeat “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five”, the always touching “The Long and Winding Road” (with the first tears coming to my eyes) and the tribute to Linda “Maybe I’m Amazed” were played when Paul’s first went to the piano.
It was time to some unplugged fun with the greatest country song ever “I’ve Just Seen a Face”, followed by “We Can Work It Out”, “Another Day” and “And I Love Her”. Then, Paul was lifted by a platform at the center of the stage to play “Blackbird” and his tribute to his dear friend John, “Here Today”. Actually, he should play the whole concert at that platform, above and beyond all common men who are there to worship him and be mesmerized by his talent and charisma.
Returning to his excellent current New album he played its title-track and the amazing “Queenie Eye”. I’ve said it before I’m gonna say it again: he wrote those at more than 70! His creativity was supposed to be withering, not blooming! He definitely came from another universe.
Back to The Beatles with “Lady Madonna” (with a wonderful video showing great women like Ella Fitzgerald, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, among others) and a couple of welcome odd choices to please the fanatics: “All Together Now” and “Lovely Rita”. He returned to New with “Everybody Out There”, then to The Beatles with the always brilliant “Eleanor Rigby” and… “Being For The Benefit Of Mr.Kite”! Now, talk about a guy who knows how to explore all the possibilities. That’s a Sgt. Pepper hidden gem, sung and written by John and he managed to make it his own; a real thrill for the fans.
Time to honor George with the exquisite live version of “Something” (beginning with an uklelele), and bring more tears to my eyes. “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” lifted the whole stadium spirit, followed by “Band on the Run”, “Back in the U.S.S.R.” and “Let It Be”. And that’s when I crumbled. The whole stadium was lit up by phone lights, the rain was pouting down and I started crying like a baby. Now, it was my 8th McCartney concert, how can those songs still have such effect on me? It was supposed to be more of the same. It’s only one more testimony to the strength of this man and his body of work.
And how do you top that? To Paul is simple: “Live And Let Die” and “Hey Jude”. Who has songs this good and this timeless to play in a row? That was the end of the first part.
For the encore: “Day Tripper” (one of the greatest riff ever), a surprising and much welcomed “Hi Hi Hi” and the perennial Rock and Roll classic, “I Saw Her Standing There”.
The second encore started with the ubiquitous “Yesterday”, “Helter Skelter” (the first Heavy Metal song ever written) and the final part of the magnificent Abbey Road medley: “Golden Slumbers”, “Carry That Weight” and “The End”.
When Paul said his goodbyes I was still floating. Paul McCartney doesn’t play concerts. He commands rituals of spiritual cleansing. It’s like a therapy. You leave ready to face anything bad life might throw at you. In one of his videos there’s a musical teacher who says: “How can anybody, be mad at anybody or anything after watching a concert like this?” And that’s the perfect definition.
I was interviewed by a local TV station about the concert and the reporter asked me what I would say to him if I ever had a chance. I simply answered: “Thank you for everything.”
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