So due to money reasons and a tight schedule, I thought I'd have to miss this grand 8-show run that McCartney is having in the NY metro area. I got lucky enough to get a great deal on floor seats for last night's show, got off work at 4, and was in Newark by 7pm... I feel incredibly lucky. And especially lucky to have shared the show with someone I love.
- This is my third time seeing Paul. The first time was 7/16/11 at Yankee Stadium (the height of my teenage Beatles fandom), the second was last summer at Metlife. This was almost certainly a better show than last summer's, but the Yankee Stadium show still has a special place in my heart, especially for the special appearance by Billy Joel.
- Paul was, in my opinion, in better voice last night than he was last summer at Metlife. I was shocked at how good he sounded on songs like Jet and Helter Skelter, and even the ballads were sung well. I think Paul is finally starting to understand that his voice isn't what it was in the 70s (or even what it was 15 years ago), and he's started to approach some of the songs a bit differently. I've Got a Feeling certainly had a more conservative approach, but he still lets it rip on Band on the Run, etc. Overall though? He's singing way better than he did last summer.
- I just about jumped 10 feet in the air when he started Listen To What the Man Said. I thought I would never get the chance to hear that one in person. One of my favorite Wings songs.
- A great deal of the setlist is the same, but last night had been changed enough from last summer at Metlife and from the Yankee Stadium show that I felt I had gotten my money's worth... In any case, it was the closest I had ever been. Any time spent in the same building as a Beatle is priceless.
- Probably time to retire Queenie Eye. The crowd responded pretty nicely to New, but Queenie Eye was a "black hole" as Paul said.
- Other songs that should probably be retired after this leg of the tour, if not earlier: Can't Buy Me Love, Let Me Roll It (or at least the Foxy Lady ending), My Valentine (which holds up surprisingly well after a few years), In Spite of All the Danger, Love Me Do, FourFiveSeconds (please someone tell him to stop playing this one), Ob-La-Di (which kinda falls flat in the live show for me, especially following a song like Something).
- When the 2nd song of the encore was Sgt Pepper's Reprise, my heart sank. I thought he had cut Golden Slumbers and was ending shows with Sgt. Pepper's/The End again. Thank goodness I was wrong. That being said, the reprise doesn't really stand on its own. Why not move a song like I Wanna Be Your Man to the encore, and move the ACTUAL Sgt. Pepper's title track into the main set?
- Did I mention that Helter Skelter was just epic? Brought the house down. I can't believe Paul is still rocking the way he does at his age.
- I held out hope that I Saw Her Standing There would start and he'd go "ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bruce Springsteen!" but alas, it did not happen.
- Please please never cut Mr. Kite from the setlist!
- I wasn't sure how the indoor pyro would look for Live and Let Die, since I'd only ever seen him in outdoor open air stadiums, but it was still a spectacle.
- One thing that I noticed from seeing him last summer... He seems less happy onstage. Or maybe just that he's concentrating extra hard. I feel like he's not enjoying it the way he did when I saw him in 2011. He seems less animated on stage, more willing to stand stationary and rigid in front of his mic, less bopping and hopping around... Wonder if he'll stop touring one of these days. While I want Paul to do what'll make him happy, I have to admit it's really a wonderful thing that we can see one of the top musical geniuses of our time in such great shape so many years after his prime.
- Last night was the first time I really appreciated the band. When I think about the mishmosh of crap that Elton's band brings onstage, the occasional sloppiness and dirgelike nature of Billy Joel's band, and the lifeless "Beach Boys" headed by Mike Love, I really have to appreciate what Paul brings to the table. This might be one of the best concert tickets you can buy.
I'm seeing Brian Wilson in about a week and a half, and while I love Brian and his music, I have a feeling that I'm going to be thinking about Paul for much of that show. If only Brian had held up like Paul did.