I had the blessed pleasure of seeing Sir Paul McCartney in Atlanta's Piedmont Park, Saturday, August 15, 2009. This was my second time to see our beloved Paul. The first time was in Detroit during his 2005 US tour. While that was a great show, and even though it was 4 years later, Sir Paul eclipsed that performance. The set list was fairly predictable for those who follow Paul's official web site. Still, there is nothing like seeing one of the most masterful performers of recorded time playing the songs that he has made famous for up to 4.5 decades. To use the term "magical" is an understatement, yet it is a good place to start.
For 2 hours and 20 minutes, it seems safe to say that most of the 40,000+ crowd sang along to all the songs. Always reinventing himself, Paul played 14 different songs than when I first saw him, a testament to his diversity. The fact that he is still treating the world with opportunities to hear him perform live at age 67 is a testament to his longevity, stamina, and exhuberant spirit. I can only pray that all of us are doing as well when we reach that age.
While he merits a song by song analysis, I shall keep it simple and say that there were no low points in the show. The highlights for me were the tunes: a. Mrs. Vanderbilt, b. A Day In the Life/Give Peace a Chance, c. Back In the USSR, d. Highway, and e. Sing the Changes (two Fireman songs), f. Paperback Writer (had a great guitar jam), g. and his ever appropriate conclusion, The End. "And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make." Just the thought of seeing him close the show with that line still elicits tears of joy! Then came the massive epiphany and end, a thunderous exclamation point to one of rock music's most classic tunes, played on the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, and the 45th anniversary of the Beatles famous show at Shea Stadium. Wow!
Of course, even then he was not done. Paul has learned well the value of his closing line, "We'll see you next time!" In this case, I hope I do get that "next time." If you have never seen Sir Paul, I hope you also get the chance.
While I could comment about how I wish he had the confetti jets going at the end, or the cool pyrotechnics during "Live and Let Die," I shall leave that to those more inclined to address such nuances. Instead, I want to conclude this review with a couple of personal notes. Foremost, many dreams came true that night. I was 5 years old in a small Iowa town on a dark winter night when I saw the Beatles historic first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Now, 45+ years later, I had my dream come true when Sir Paul played one of rock and rolls greatest tunes, "I Saw Her Standing There." I danced like I have never danced before! Being present to hear and see that song played live was a Heaven-sent treat for the reason I have just stated, and especially because the day of the concert was my 51st birthday! Most of all, I was with the best company possible, the only person on the planet with whom I wanted to share my birthday and Sir Paul experience. While people may have left the concert to return to their lives, my heart is still there, dancing, rocking, and singing along with that legendary performer. Thank you, Paul, for the gift of your music, and for making my special day the greatest birthday of my life! I love you, Paul!