Monday, August 1, 2011

You still have six hours to get your hands on McCartney tickets

Posted By on 08.01.11 at 02:16 PM

Live and Let Die as its meant to be experienced
  • "Live and Let Die" as it's meant to be experienced
I went to last night's Paul McCartney show partially for nostalgia's sake, partially because I had free rooftop tickets, and partially because of my not-as-morbid-as-it-sounds policy of trying to see as many aging rock legends as I can before they die. (OK maybe it's a little bit morbid.) In fact I almost didn't go—I was tired, it was hot out, Wrigleyville, etc.

Luckily I did go, because it was hands down one of the top musical experiences I've had in my life.

Sir Paul's never been afraid to admit that pleasing his audience is as important to him as making Important Art—though he's perfectly capable of the latter—and his set was more or less a love letter to the tens of thousands of fans who packed Wrigley Field and the surrounding rooftops (and with few exceptions screamed and sang their way through the entire three hours he was onstage). The set was heavy on hits and light on the deep cuts and new material that people basically don't want to see at a concert by a legacy performer.

Being Paul McCartney and all, he has more top-shelf material than one can fit in a three-hour set, and appropriately for the venue he leaned heavily on his biggest and most anthemic material. Sure, he brought out "The Long and Winding Road," "Yesterday," and "Eleanor Rigby," and they were far from simply being breaks for him and his band to catch a breath, but for the most part he stayed away from syrupy sentimentality and concentrated on burners like "Jet," "Live and Let Die," and "Helter Skelter," which have no problem making it all the way up to the cheap seats, or ones like "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" and "Blackbird," which quickly turned into arena-size sing-alongs. And he played them with a fervor that could (and should) make musicians a third his age think about stepping their own performances up a notch or 20.

He played "Something" (accompanying himself on a ukulele) as a tribute to George (who was apparently an accomplished ukulele player). He played "Give Peace a Chance"—an unexpected but synergistic coda to "A Day in the Life"—as a tribute to John. He played "Foxy Lady" because why the fuck not. The explosion of fireworks and pyro at the end of "Live and Let Die" was one of the best things I've ever gotten to see at a rock concert. Joining 50,000 people in singing along to the second half of "Hey Jude" was an experience that in terms of feeling one with the universe far exceeds the fleeting hints of cosmic satori that psychedelics have given me.

There were plenty of scalpers around last night. If you don't have a ticket for tonight's show, you should think about hitting one up. I'm thinking about it myself.

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