Monday, August 3, 2009

Paul McCartney in Washington DC on 8/1/09 [Music Monday]


The Beatles got me through high school. I don't listen to them a ton today, but they were the first musical group that I ever truly loved and connected with. And Paul was my favorite: I remember assaulting my friends with song-by-song analyses of why Paul was actually better, deeper, more sensitive, a better singer, more intellectual than John. I remember getting in a shouting match with one acquaintance about who was better: Paul or John. I had some silly misguided Yoko hate-on. I listened to Eleanor Rigby on repeat every. single. day. I still remember the track number on the Beatles #1 album (16).



What I'm saying is that Paul McCartney means a lot to me. I've always been REALLY jealous of J, whose first concert was Paul and has seen him once since. I never thought I'd see Sir Paul in concert myself, so when the DC concert on Saturday was announced, I bought tickets immediately. There was no way that this show could not exceed any expectation I've ever had, and disappoint them as well.



The show was one of the best I've ever seen - but the context was a little disappointing. I was so thrilled by the music and thankful that I got to see him that I can't bear to complain in the same place I rhapsodize, so I'm going to write this in bullet points.

Let's dispose of the negatives first:
  • Opener was awful. Headache inducing techno. Songs were indistinguishable. Paul deserves better.
  • Couldn't hear too well from our seats.
  • Showtime on the ticket was 7:30. Paul went on at 9:15. It was hot and sweaty and the long wait killed the energy.
  • Though Paul played enough Beatles to satisfy me, he loaded the middle of the show with new songs - it seemed like every other song was a new song, and it dragged down that part of the show a bit.
That's about it, but the last one put me in a nasty mood after a 5-hour drive to get there (especially anticipating the drive back).

Moving on to the positives:
  • Merchandise was positively affordable! Our home is decorated largely with concert posters, and I was excited to snag one for only ten dollars.
  • Paul looked very small on stage, but the huge screens were really helpful. (He looks great, by the way.)
  • Good balance of old and new material in general (see above). He played at least 15 Beatles songs.
  • Moved to tears during Eleanor Rigby. Moved to tears just thinking about it now. Listening to the song that made me feel someone understood my misery in high school w
  • Banter was great - not pat or rehearsed, he interacted with the audience and had location specific songs (Michelle was a lovely tribute to our lovely first lady)
  • Despite having played so many of these songs so many times, he looked engaged and excited.
  • Long show - 2.5 hours! - but energy never wavered.
  • Pyrotechnics during Live and Let Die shocked the hell out of me and made great punctuation to a great song. (In other Wings songs I loved: Let Me Roll It)
  • Rest of the band was great, particularly the expressive drummer.
  • Lovely little Jimi Hendrix "Foxy Lady" jam and accompanying anecdote.
  • The two-part, eight-song encore of entirely Beatles songs was probably the summit of the show. After sitting down the whole show, I went to the unpoliced aisles to dance to Lady Madonna, Helter Skelter, I Saw Her Standing There, and more.
Paul McCartney's performance on Saturday was an experience I've been building to for a decade, and will be a venerated memory when I'm 64.

Next week in Music Monday: A review of New Riders of the Purple Sage in Charlotte on 8/8/09

1 comment:

  1. Paul > John. No doubt!
    FYI, Favorite solo album: Flaming Pie. Although Chaos and Creation in the Backyard is also delightful. Check that shit out!
    As far as I'm concerned, Sir Paul can do no wrong. My jealousy that you got to see him perform live truly knows no bounds!

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