April 3, 2010
I had the privilege of seeing the legendary Paul McCartney in concert (my first time) last Saturday night at Sun Life Stadium in Miami. He rocked the sold-out venue for close to three hours WITHOUT a break! It had to be one of the greatest concerts I have ever witnessed. The memories flooded in with each and every Beatles song. He even included two songs he's never performed in the U.S. until this past week; his solo work of "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five" from the near-perfect 1973 "Band On The Run" album that he released with his band Wings, and the 1968 Beatles' classic "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," from the double-disc whammy "The Beatles" a.k.a. "The White Album."
Other Beatles' songs included "Eleanor Rigby," "Day Tripper," "All My Loving," "Got To Get You Into My Life," "I'm Looking Through You," "The Long And Winding Road," "Two Of Us," "Blackbird," "Paperback Writer," "A Day In A Life" (which segued into John's "Give Peace A Chance"), "I've Got A Feeling," "Back In The U.S.S.R." "Let It Be," "Hey Jude," "Lady Madonna," "Get Back," "Yesterday" and "Helter Skelter." His final of three encores climaxed with "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)" in a medley that ended most appropriately with (what else?) "The End."
To say I was blown away and felt quite emotional during the plethora of Beatles' songs would be an understatement.
Also, Paul offered a touching song that he wrote about John two years following his death, entitled "Here Today." The song was a conversation he wished he had, but never did, with his longtime friend and creative partner. There was also a great story about George, before he performed his emotionally-charged jewel "Something." If that wasn't enough, McCartney even treated us to the Jimi Hendrix classic "Foxey Lady" with a great story of how Hendrix performed the entire Sgt. Pepper's album in full, just two days after its release in 1967. The stories were as poignant as the music.
In addition, he did at least a dozen and a half of his own compositions as a solo artist, several Wings songs and two from The Fireman. The solo work plus the Wings compositions covered his finest hits from 1970 - 1976, the earliest being "Maybe I'm Amazed" and the latest was the ditty "Let 'Em In." In between, the audience and I were mesmerized by the quality and craftsmanship of his pristine touring band through solo compositions that included his opener "Venus & Mars/Rockshow," "Jet," "Let Me Roll It," "My Love," "Mrs. Vanderbilt," "Band On The Run" and "Live And Let Die."
He skipped his '80s and '90s work completely, and drew from a couple of selections from his 2005 album "Memory Almost Full," which included "Dance Tonight," and a couple of songs from last year's "Electric Arguments" by his band The Fireman, which included "Sing The Changes."
I was thankful for the exclusion of "Silly Love Songs," but could have benefited greatly with something from "Magical Mystery Tour," which he left out completely. Oh well. Now I'm sounding greedy. But when you're in the presence of greatness, the more you get...
The three hours of his (and John's) genius, along with stills and footage of himself with Lennon, Harrison and Starr, were overwhelming as a backdrop.
I've seen a lot of concerts in my day, every legend from the Grateful Dead to the iconic Barbra Streisand, but nothing, and I mean nothing (with the exception of Streisand) could have prepared me for the overwhelming sensation I had last Saturday night. Nothing.
To sum up my feelings, I'd have to quote one of Lennon & McCartney's earliest compositions and simply say, "I Feel Fine."