Monday, July 25, 2011

Yesterday. . .

. . . 2F and I went to Comerica Park, on a muggy and sporadically rainy evening in Detroit (we endured a light shower for 10 minutes or so just before the band took the stage, but there was lightning in the sky all around us for a good part of the evening, and a few drops fell at random points during the show itself), to see Paul McCartney in concert, along with 40,000 or so of our closest and dearest friends.

It was the fourth time I've seen Sir Paul in concert, going back to 1993, when he played the Silverdome (and my best friend's wife was my date).  I saw him with a buddy in '02, at the Palace of Auburn Hills, and Jen and I saw him at the Palace in '05, as part of our Silver Anniversary celebration.  The open-air venue this time was a cool ambience, even including the few spits of rain we had to endure.  During the 10-minute shower above, I leaned over to the guy next to me and wondered if we should break into the 'No Rain!' chant, a la Woodstock.  He smiled at me and said, "Actually, when I was at Woodstock, the rain was much worse than this."  OK, then. . .

I'm just old enough to remember when the Beatles were first on the Ed Sullivan Show in February of '64 (seriously? that was almost 50 years ago?!?), and I followed them into my teens, then Wings through my college years.  At any rate, to a large extent Paul McCartney, and the Beatles more generally, have provided the soundtrack for a large portion of my life.

2F has been a Beatles fan from early on in her life.  When she was in 6th grade, I think, she did an Academic Fair project on the Beatles, complete with a tri-fold board adorned with the Sgt. Pepper album cover (I suppose, if I were a more astute father, I'd have been quicker to recognize her desire to form a connection with her dad; but I did have a lot of fun helping her with it).  So, when Jen and I came home from the concert in '05, having been cut off in mid-'na-na' from such sharing of McCartney's greatness with our daughter as we could manage at the time (I rang her up on my cell phone for the 'Hey Jude' singalong, but an usher saw me and threatened to bounce me from the concert; no further comment in that regard), I promised 2F that, the next time Sir Paul came to town (or heck, within a manageable drive of town), I'd take her with me, so I was duty-bound to fulfill my promise (and don't you wish your duty included going to McCartney concerts?).

We went to the concert  with one of 2F's friends - a young woman who has become one of her best friends and an honorary member of our family, even apart from a shared fondness for McCartney and the Beatles - along with the young lady's mom (who, conicidentally, has actually met - and been photographed with - Hugh Jackman, as her husband is a sometime film-industry hairdresser; please don't hate her, Lime) although their seats weren't by ours.  They were originally going to be joined by another friend, a young man from Scotland, who has also become a close family friend over the course of the past year, but he took ill at the last minute, and couldn't come (he must have been really, REALLY sick); the girl and her mom offered his ticket to 4M, so I got to go to the concert with two of my kids, which was quite cool.


The band was the same crew Paul has played with for the past 10 years or so, with Paul Wickens on keyboards, Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray on guitars and backup vocals, and Abe Laboriel on drums (and backup vocals; he also provided a bit of visual hilarity during 'Dance Tonight').  It's a tight group, and they really seem to enjoy playing together.

In case anyone is interested, here's the setlist they played last night:

Hello, Goodbye
Junior's Farm
All My Loving
Drive My Car
Sing the Changes (from his album Electronic Arguments under the pseudonym The Fireman)
Hitchhike (a Marvin Gaye number added just for his Motown friends)
The Night Before
Let Me Roll It (ending with a jam on 'Foxy Lady')
Paperback Writer
The Long and Winding Road
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
Let 'Em In
Maybe I'm Amazed
I've Just Seen a Face
I Will
Here Today
Dance Tonight (from his '07 album, Memory Almost Full)
Mrs. Vanderbilt
Eleanor Rigby
Band On the Run
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (you don't think he reads my blog, do you?)
Back In the USSR
I've Got a Feeling
A Day In the Life (ending with 'Give Peace a Chance')
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
Hey Jude

(1st encore)
Lady Madonna
Day Tripper
Get Back

(2nd encore)
Helter Skelter
Abbey Road Medley (Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End)

36 songs in all (which has been pretty standard for him in his recent shows) - 23 Beatles songs, 10 Wings songs, 9 that he's never done live before (at least in front of an American audience), spanning three amazing hours.  I've long thought that his '90 concert (the one chronicled on the CD Tripping the Live Fantastic) was the best of his recent live shows, and I've regretted ever since that I missed it.  But this show was right up there, on a par with the one 21 years ago.  And I can only hope to have anything close to Paul's energy level when I'm 69.

McCartney is a consummate performer and showman.  His concerts have always left me happily satisfied, and yet wanting more at the same time.  Having seen him on multiple occasions over the course of nearly 20 years, it has seemed to me that, as the years pass, he is coming to a greater and greater appreciation of the warm affection in which he is held by his audience; he added a couple singalong numbers (beyond 'Hey Jude') to his setlist this time, but it almost didn't matter - all through the show, we were hearing the band in one ear, and in the other, 40,000 people singing along.  It was a magical evening.

I don't know how many more of these concerts I'll end up attending (heck, I don't know how many more of 'em Paul is gonna play), but every time I start to think that it's becoming 'old hat', I'm just blown away by the one I'm seeing today.  It was an amazing evening; an amazing show by one of the great performers of all time. . .


  1. My nephew was there. Maybe you saw him ...right! ;)

  2. You are a lucky man (and that's not a reference to the Emerson, Lake & Palmer tune.) It appears to have been a wonderful evening, and to have the opportunity to share such sweet sounds and memories with two of your offspring who dig the same stuff... Just wonderful.

  3. Seriously, I am genuinely impressed by folks who can see past the crowds and enjoy the show. Crowds just ain't my thing and it takes a lot for me to live in the moment.

    Now sharing an experience out in the woods with just the daughters an me, that's cool. I get it, really I do.

    Glad you were able to experience it.

    Is it true that Paul wrote all their best songs and John usurped his credit?? ;-)

  4. That's so nice Craig. I remember sitting in a homemade blanket fort at Carol Havleczec's house listening to "Meet the Beatles" over and over again when I was a kid. We'd argue forever about our favorite Beatle. I'm a huge Beatles fan, my husband a huge Stones fan but he was kind enough to buy tickets for Sir Paul's tour prior to this most recent one. Unfortunately work obligations prevented me from going. Husband made $500. I feel kind of bad about that but the person he sold them to was really happy. They were very nice seats apparently {sob}.
    I'm hoping for a next time.
    On the family at a concert note, we enjoyed a P-Funk concert with our then 18 year old son. And a Further show with or then 16 yo daughter. A bit weird, but fun. Mostly we just drag them to the symphony. We are not too old to rock and roll but just feel they don't need to see us doing it.

  5. Glad you were able to see him again! I've only seen U2 twice, but I can't imagine ever getting tired of seeing them perform live.

  6. sounds like it was really a wonderful evening, even considering the rain. and no i don't hate the lady photographed with the delectable hugh jackman. envy her, yes. hate her, no.

  7. Skip - If you'd told me he was gonna be there, Id've known to look for him. Perhaps he recognized me - I was the 50-something guy wearing the McCartney T-shirt. . .

    Suldog - Heck, just having kids who dig the Beatles is cool, all by itself (and I've got WAY more than just two of those. . .)

    Xavier - Well, maybe you could ask Sir Paul, and he could play a show for you and yer girls, in the woods behind your house. . . It's a long shot, but, you know, you could ask. . .

    And I have my own definite preferences as to 'John songs' and 'Paul songs', but I try to stay out of silly quarrels. . .

    Schweeney - Aaarrrggghhh! That would drive me stark, raving nuts to have tickets in hand, and not be able to use 'em. But at least yer hubs turned a nice profit. . .

    And listen, don't tell yer hubs, but the Stones played a stadium venue walking distance from our house, a couple years back. (Altho, just between you and me - Mick and Keith haven't aged quite as gracefully as Sir Paul. . .)

    Beej - Yeah, I can't really imagine his shows ever getting old, either. But I worry a little, especially as he stands on the doorstep of his 70s, that a day is coming when it just won't be the same anymore. . .

    And the ticket prices are an entirely separate question. . . ;)

    Lime - I knew you wuzn't the hatin' type. . . ;)

  8. Oh come on, get silly with me man!! :-)

  9. Xavier - Well, I thought the concert in the woods was pretty silly. . .

  10. well, yeah, that'd kinda scare the turkeys and deer away. And if it didn't, the band'll probably be scared away when I take a shot ....

    come to think of it, sounds kinda fun!

  11. Hmmmm. . .

    Can we table any discussion of shooting at Beatles? It's been done, and it wasn't a happy thing. . .

  12. The last time I saw him in concert - I think I have seen him twice, but oh, I honestly can't remember now! - it was while on a horrible, horrible blind date. Who pays that kind of money to take a person they don't know to see Paul freakin' McCartney??! The concert was the only satisfying thing about the entire experience!

  13. faDKoG - Good to see you, my friend!

    A McCartney concert for a blind date? At least give him credit for shooting for the moon. . .

    And, like you say, at least you got to see McCartney, even if it was a lousy date. . .

  14. Um, I'm not shooting at no Beatles .... where'd that come from?

    I'm just a humble hunter trying to get some game for the table. 'Cuz, ya know, they're gonna be hungry after the concert.

  15. Oops; my bad. I misunderstood your syntax. . . Sorry. . .