After three days of searching, I finally found my Paul McCartney ticket just 21⁄2 hours before the doors opened. It turned out that one of my cousins had an extra and was willing to sell it to me for face value. Once I knew I had a ticket, I felt a great relief at no longer having to deal with the scalpers on StubHub or the psychopaths on Craigslist. I started geeking out. I went so far as to dig out my old red JOHN PAUL GEORGE RINGO t-shirt. Yes, I decided to dismiss concert etiquette and wear a Paul McCartney shirt to a Paul McCartney show.
My parents and I went downtown and met up with my cousin. I gave her a check in exchange for the ticket. It was the most expensive concert ticket I’ve ever purchased, even more expensive than the prime seat I accidentally bought for the Eagles’ Hell Freezes Over tour back in 1994. (I’m not kidding. It really was an accident.) Here’s the Paul McCartney ticket:
There was no time for small talk. I gave my cousin a hug and headed for one of the metal detector lines. “I’ll see you at Christmas,” I said over my shoulder. My parents and I split up on the other side of security, and I went off to find my seat. It was a surprisingly excellent seat…far away from the stage, but with good sight-lines and a metal bar between me and the section in front. The people on either side were nice, as well. Here’s a pre-show shot:
The next two hours and 45 minutes were probably the most joyous and magical two hours and 45 minutes I’ve ever spent in my life. Or at least the most joyous and magical two hours and 45 minutes I’ve ever spent at a concert. I had a big grin on for most of the show and even got a bit teary-eyed once.
Main set: A Hard Day’s Night / Save Us / Can’t Buy Me Love / Letting Go / Temporary Secretary / Let Me Roll It / Foxy Lady (instrumental Jimi Hendrix cover) / I’ve Got a Feeling / My Valentine / Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five / Here, There and Everywhere / Maybe I’m Amazed / We Can Work It Out / In Spite of All the Danger (early McCartney/Harrison composition recorded by the Quarry Men in 1958) / You Won’t See Me / Love Me Do / And I Love Her / Blackbird / Here Today / Queenie Eye / New / The Fool on the Hill / Lady Madonna / FourFive Seconds (recent song recorded with Kanye West and Rihanna)/ Eleanor Rigby / Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite! / Something / Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da / Band on the Run / Back in the U.S.S.R. / Let It Be / Live and Let Die / Hey Jude
Encore: Yesterday / Hi Hi Hi / Birthday / Golden Slumbers–>Carry That Weight–>The End
For those of you keeping track, that’s 23 Beatles songs (if you count the Abbey Road medley that closed the show as three), 7 solo Paul McCartney songs, 6 Wings-related songs, and 3 other songs that don’t quite fit into one of those categories. It was all great. The only song that came anywhere near being a dud was “Temporary Secretary.” It’s a slightly-annoying, completely weird song that Paul has, for some reason, plucked off McCartney II and started playing at shows. The funny thing is that I was totally singing along about halfway through. I’ve still got it in my head as I’m writing this.
What we really should be talking about here are the highlights. There were so many. The biggest highlight of a night full of them was a surprise performance of George Harrison’s “Something.” I call it a surprise because it’s a song that’s so clearly associated with George. Sure, it’s a Beatles song, but George wrote it and George sang it. I’m still kind of shocked that I got to hear it–played on a ukulele nonetheless. It was beautiful and I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried like a big, stupid baby.
Other highlights include “Here, There and Everywhere” and “Maybe I’m Amazed” played back-to-back, a mini Grand Old Opry-style set featuring acoustic versions of early Beatles classics, a boisterous “Live and Let Die” with explosions and fire shooting everywhere, “Ob-La-De, Ob-La-Da” and “Hey Jude” sing-alongs that I actually participated in, an unexpected ba-ba appearance in “Lady Madonna”, and the magnificent “Golden Slumbers–>Carry That Weight–>The End” medley that closed the show.
By the time we got to “The End,” I was happier than I’ve been in a while. I felt light and clean and had to fight the urge to high-five complete strangers. I would’ve been willing to spend a lot more money than I did to feel that way. The way I look at it, I got a bargain. I met up with my parents outside the venue, high-fived both of them, and then listened to my mom talk about how “awesome” Paul McCartney is, how great he looks for 74, and how she no longer regrets that my grandmother wouldn’t let her go see the Beatles when she was a little girl in 1964. All is forgiven.
And my dad looked around all sneaky-like and told me he’d secretly recorded a dozen songs on his iPhone. That pirate!