If there is one item that should be included on everyone’s bucket list regardless of age, it should be the opportunity to see a former member of the Beatles perform live on the concert stage. In a world that has left us only two remaining members of the Beatles, last night at MetLife Stadium in the great State of New Jersey, seventy thousand fans got the chance to cross off a big-time bucket list dream. On August 7th 2016, Paul McCartney took the stage at MetLife Stadium at approximately 8:25. Although the MetLife Stadium website had announced that Sir Paul would start the concert exactly at 8:00 pm, the long lines due to the multiple security stations getting into the stadium, not to mention parking lot madness, and good old New Jersey/New York traffic, made MetLife’s management’s on time promise, simply ridiculous. But for everyone who suffered through the journey to their seats, the opening chord of “A Hard Day’s Night,” quickly erased everyone’s troubles. And quite simply, that is what Paul McCartney has always been most successful at accomplishing.
Paul McCartney’s MetLife Stadium concert presented fans with a deep mix of Beatles songs, Wing’s songs, McCartney solo album songs, and even some pre-Beatles music. To coin an old phrase, it was a night of “some old, some new, some borrowed, and some blue. While the song selection was designed to accommodate fans of McCartney’s entire body of work, the performances of the material regardless of era were all played with the same furious virtuoso intensity that made fans shake their heads, bodies and souls in total astonishment. Paul McCartney’s band is filled with world-class musicians performing at the top of their games. The band consisted of guitarist Rusty Anderson, bassist Brian Way, keyboardist Paul Wickens and crowd favorite, Abe Laboriel Jr, on drums. Paul McCartney’s voice was hoarse throughout the night, but it hardly mattered because he had seventy thousand fans to help him sing the songs all night long.
There has always been a simplicity and honesty found in McCartney lyrics, especially in his post Beatles material. McCartney’s earnest lyrics were echoed by his honesty in answering fan song requests that were scattered on signs held up in front of the stage. McCartney responded by saying how it was not easy to remember all the chords and lyrics to the songs. It was a moment that must have made many musicians in the audience feel a little better about themselves.
After spending the past 60 years on the concert stage, Paul McCartney is so at ease speaking to an audience that he sounds like an uncle conversing at the dinner table instead of a man at a microphone standing in front of seventy thousand people. At MetLife Stadium, Paul McCartney told stories that dated back to watching Jim Hendrix perform, to McCartney’ trip to Russia and performance in Moscow’s Red Square. Fans laughed hard when McCartney reminisced how Jim Hendrix had yelled out to Eric Clapton in the audience asking for help in tuning his guitar. McCartney’s Russian accent had people rolling the aisles when he spoke of how high-ranking Russian Government officials told McCartney they had learned to speak English by listening to Beatles’ songs.
There were many tributes mixed in with the stories McCartney presented to fans at MetLife Stadium. Paul McCartney dedicated songs to John Lennon, George Harrison, his current wife Nancy, and his former wife Linda McCartney. The tributes were heartfelt, emotional and respectful to those seemed very dear to him. At times when the mood might have saddened a bit, McCartney was quick to jump back and play a rocking number to lift the crowd back up.
To choose the highlight of the show is almost impossible because just about every song was a highlight. For myself, the highlight of the show was watching my 14-year-old son enjoying his first rock concert and sharing the experience of seeing one of the Beatles together. I am sure that was a shared experience for thousands of parents and children throughout MetLife Stadium. In the end, I asked my son what was his favorite performance of the night? He quickly responded with, “Live and Let Die.” Interesting!
Check out Paul McCartney’s great new 4 cd set. Click on the pic for more info: