How does one review someone like Paul McCartney? Someone who did more at the age of 28 than most have ever done in a lifetime? How does someone actually attempt to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and begin a review on a person who has shaped the soundtrack of our lives? It is impossible. It is not something you can review, you just experience. So with that, this preface is a disclaimer that this will not be a review but a document about the experience of what it is to witness a man whose songs are not just a part of your playlists on your iPod but are embedded in a special section of your soul. McCartney along with his three friends from Liverpool changed our lives, changed our world, changed rock and roll and generations later, still manage to do it, for what they did, and what Paul has done on his own, is simply timeless music and timeless achievements.
In the second of two sold-out shows at Yankee Stadium, McCartney switched teams for the summer of 2011 and drafted himself from the famous fields in Queens to the famous field in the Bronx for a weekend of unforgettable wonderment, emotion, excitement and most of all, proof that age is just a number. Opening with "Magical Mystery Tour," and in an outfit that mimicked his appearance as a Beatle on Ed Sullivan and his original Hofner bass that he has used since the beginning, it was a special moment right from the get go. He then went into "Jet" and, in a bizarre coincidence, planes began flying over Yankee Stadium as if Paul had ordered them to be part of the ambiance. It was when he went into "All My Loving" that the spectators would realize it was going to be a night of hit after hit. In a career-spanning 36 song set list that would include everything from his work with The Beatles, Wings, his solo material and his recent work with The Firemen, Paul and his band drove the paying audience into a night that they could truly get their money's worth -- after all nothing is cheap at Yankee Stadium!
As the songs would be a constant sing-a-long for the near three hours he was on stage, it was highlighted by his stories in between the songs, after playing a great instrumental cover of Hendrix's "Foxy Lady," he spoke of how Hendrix was in awe of the Beatles and how he picked up their songs very quickly and would alter them. With an interesting and fascinating life as Sir Paul's, it is those stories that only bring us closer to the songs. As he would discuss his friend and partner, John Lennon before playing the beautiful and touching "Here Today," he would encourage the audience to say what they need to say to loved ones or anyone because once the opportunity passes, it is over and it may never happen, as we understood that Sir Paul never had the chance to tell Lennon how much he loved him. It would be tender moments like that when he spoke of George Harrison, and how George gave him a ukulele and how they wrote "Something" on the tiny instrument, he would begin to play the original version of the song before the band would kick in for the studio version we know so well. As Paul made it sentimental, he then brought it back to the fact it was still a rock and roll show and with a firework display that could rival that of Macy's 4th of July spectacular, a highly explosive "Live and Let Die" was played. However, just as you thought the first set was done with a bang, "Hey Jude" under a full moon was played to an audience that were still screaming "Naaaah, Naaah, Naaah, Na Na Na Naah" long after the show was over.
During the first of two encores, Paul brought out Long Island staple and his friend Billy Joel out for a very cool version of "I Saw Her Standing There," as the audience simply recreated the sound that Paul first heard in Shea Stadium when the Beatles first arrived in America, it was as if the night could not get any better and Paul could close it at any time. It did only get better and he showed no care to stop. At 69 years old, he tired out a crowd that included some half his age, which was the beauty of the show -- aside from the songs, it was the aspect that grandfathers were there with their sons and grandsons, that mothers were there with their daughters and the young friends, old friends, middle-aged friends were all there together. Paul with all of his music defies generation, defies age and simply will live on for all of eternity. It is people like McCartney that come around and shake up our lives for the better and shake up our world and for that, we thank him and for that we keep coming back no matter how much the cost, how much the aggravation in getting tickets, we keep coming back... because it's for Paul.
A Version of this Review Appears on Officially A Yuppie.
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