Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Sir Paul

Yesterday I got a call from my friend Dave Charles. We'd been trying to get together for the last five months but for one reason or another it just hadn't happened. As soon as he said hello, I began to wonder if I can meet him at McSwiggans for a quick pint. But he didn't ask me to. Instead, he casually mentioned, "I got an extra ticket to see Paul McCartney tonight. Can you make it?"

Fuck yeah, I can make it.

Dave just happened to get a serious hookup from his ex girlfriend at MTV. His current girlfriend couldn't make it so I got a free ticket. We got a couple of pints and hot dogs then walked down to Madison Square Garden right after work.

I've been a serious Beatle fan since the age of 13. In fact, I did not buy another record until I was 15 because I hadn't yet mastered their entire catalog. I've gone to Strawberry Fields every year on the anniversary of John Lennon's death. But I never thought I'd see one of them play.

We were completely unprepared, to say the least. First off, neither of us bothered to wonder how good these tickets might be. Until we walked through the gate and saw the stage right in front of us. There was no opening act but there was a 10 minute video showing Paul's recollections from childhood through the Beatles to today. That's when it hit me. I'm going to see a Beatle. A Beatle is going to walk out there and play Beatle songs for me. If I had a can of soup I could hurt a Beatle with it.

Paul opened with 'Magical Mystery Tour' and immediately I see he's playing THE bass. For a musician, seeing that Hofner bass is almost as important as seeing Paul himself. I thank Elvis Costello for forcing Paul to pick that bass up again because now I can see it and hear it. He switched it now and then for one of the only original left handed Les Pauls in existence and the acoustic he played on the Ed Sullivan show. Lesson learned; treat your guitars well and you can keep playing them forty years from now. At Madison Square Garden.

The amount of songs he's written is staggering, and it's matched by his energy. I thought Springsteen had stamina for his age but Paul's got at least ten years on him. There were at least six times when I figured, "Okay, this is it. He can't play anything else" then bang. 'Helter Skelter'. 'Get Back'. 'Let It Be'. 'Jet'. 'Band on the Run'. 'Yesterday'. 'Hey Jude'. 'Please Please Me'. It went on and on. When he played 'Maybe I'm Amazed' I knew there was no going back. The man who wrote my wedding song is playing my wedding song in front of me. And kicking serious ass with it.

His band was fantastic too. I HATED his back up band from the 90's ('Paul McCartney and his Band of Twits' I used to call them) but he's changed all but one of those guys for new blood. The two guitarists and drummer were phenomenal, looked only a couple of years older than me and, dammit, I want their job.

Paul played for nearly three hours straight and we never once got over it. We said almost nothing to each other. Dave barely got out of his seat. By the end of the show, we were wiped. He did two encores and it was almost too much. I would have gone home satisfied after an hour but we got way more than that. I bought Dave a t shirt to thank him and we both went home, still dazed but our cheeks hurting from smiling.

Here's a really good review and set list of the show.


Dave said...

Maybe I'm amazed at the way you luck out all the time! Thats awesome man. Nice right up to, you should be a music critic.

The wife said...

What a GREAT time! I feel like I was there through this review!!!

you can save the can-of-soup experiment for Ringo....

Brian Kunath said...

Awesome. What an opportunity. That's just how life should work--a ticket out of the blue to a musical legend!

Michael said...

I went to see Paul here in Atlanta this year (and in 2002.) He definitely had more energy this time around, and I was duly blown away; I can relate to the feeling of awe. Helter Skelter as an encore was blistering. The guitarists really opened it up this year, and man, what a cool job they have. Anyway, I just wanted to take part in the mega-Macca jubilee.