Sunday, July 19, 2009

Paul McCartney at Citi Field

Needless to say, it was an amazing experience. On my checklist of life was always "see a Beatle in conncert."


A concert to me, is always first and foremost about the music. It's not about the effects (which Paul doesn't need but does) but things like crowd energy add to the experience.

The crowd at Citi Field - from the very young to the senior - seemed to need to find their place (they would). Macca did the same set list as he did Friday night without any guest experiences (rumored - Eric Clapton, Ringo, Bruce Springsteen) but, really, how could that detract?

Let us review the set list:
Drive My Car
Only Mama Knows
Flaming Pie
Got To Get You Into My Life
Let Me Roll It/Purple Haze
The Long and Winding Road
My Love
Here Today
Dance Tonight
Calico Skies
Mrs. Vanderbilt
Eleanor Rigby
Sing the Changes
Band on the Run
Back in the U.S.S.R.
I’m Down
I’ve Got a Feeling
Paperback Writer
A Day in the Life/Give Peace a Chance
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
Hey Jude

ENCORES: Day Tripper
Lady Madonna
I Saw Her Standing There

Helter Skelter
Get Back
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/The End

OK, where to start? I'll leave the personal stuff until another time. Let this be (hey, where have I heard this before?) completely about the music and the show.

Any Beatles tune was simply amazing - period. McCartney's tribute to George Harrison, with photos in the background was stunning. Paul opened the song on ukulele - one that George gave him - and took the song to an amazingly emotional place. This was one of two tributes paid to deceased Beatles, as Paul did "Here Today", his ode to John Lennon.

Of course, they also did Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance", one of several sing-alongs during the show. I know some didn't but hey even I couldn't resist letting loose on everything from "Live and Let Die" until the end of the show. It's almost required that one sing "Hey Jude."

McCartney's band deserves a large amount of praise and I would name check them if I could find their names. Wow - what a group. They had great energy and were super-tight, as if they had the spirit of the older stuff in their veins. They did a great job exchanging vocals on "I've Got a Feeling" from the largely unappreciated "Let It Be" album.

UPDATE: Thanks to Darren DeVivo for filling in the names:
His band, which has been at his side for almost ten years now, was incredible. They feature keyboardist and vocalist Paul “Wix” Wickens, who has been with Paul for around twenty years now, lead guitarist Rusty Anderson, guitarist, bassist and vocalist Brian Ray, as well drumming powerhouse and vocalist, Abe Laboriel, Jr.
The background screen offers several different motifs - like the George tribute during "Something." I especially enjoyed the use of the video from The Beatles Rock Band during "Got To Get You Into My Life" (though it was not specifically an ad for the game, but the smarter fan knew it was). I got a kick out of it and subliminally, it made me want the game even more. There were other offerings like that as well, jumping into the past and adding a spectacle for the eye.

The stories that McCartney told, while tough to hear at times and rehashed, were nice touches. Paul can play the crowd - such as spotting a poster that said "Will you marry me, Paul?" He gave a one-word answer: "No." This might have been obnoxious from another artist but was quite cheeky from Sir Paul. The same can be said of his talking about "Yesterday" being recorded 3000 times and how the song came to be.

He is still the cute Beatle, after all.

From the solo Macca catalog (and other efforts like "The Fireman"), the songs played nicely and were familiar (some vaguely). "My Love", never a favorite, took on a new life and was part of a quieter set which also offered "Blackbird."

The show had been just kind of enjoyable - nothing to fuss about - until the opening chords of "Band on the Run" were played. Now he had us and the party had begun. Never had I seen a stadium dance like this and Citi Field, New Shea, Ebbets, whatever - was rocking. "I'm Down" showed off that, at 67, he can still wail a good rocker. "Live and Let Die" was a thrill, along with "Helter Skelter" - two personal faves. "Day Tripper" soared. "I Saw Her Standing There" still grabs and to me, has transcended eras in a way that I can't explain.

Even the quiet songs - which I don't think play well in large arena - came off well because we all knew them. For "Yesterday", there were 45,000 background vocals.

What songs did I miss hearing? Only "Maybe I'm Amazed" was missing from his solo work. From The Beatles - wow - "Penny Lane", "Hello Goodbye", maybe some John Lennon tunes like "Help."

No, I think the selection was fine.

Small complaints - lights on in many parts of the stadium - safety, I get it. Tough to hear McCartney talk from our seats. Minor; no big deal. Our seats, by the way, directly behind home plate in section 515 (top deck), two rows up, on the aisle. The band was small, but video screens took care of that.

Just a note - there were a few sections with open seats, and I only bring that up to let you know that if you're anything like me, and have always wanted to see a Beatle, then go online and look for tickets for the show on Tuesday night. You won't be disappointed. You will relive your childhood and/or make new memories.

Make sure to bring somebody who will appreciate it. I did and it was amazing.


RebelRebel said...

I am the woman who held up the sign that said “Marry Me Paul” It has been getting a lot of buzz on the internet including a youtube post. I had a feeling that Paul was going to say something to me because as soon as he saw the poster he -waved his finger back and forth like no, no, no. I never imagined that it would have played out the way it did. Paul has such comedic timing that it sent the crowd wild! I will be back at Citi Field tomorrow with my sign and a bit of a twist! Wish me luck! My sign is posted to my facebook - I will cherish it forever!

Jamie Moroni

Rob Adams said...

It was a completely hysterical moment and I know my sister and I both loved it! Congratulations on a moment that you will have forever.