The Beatles are my favourite band and Paul McCartney, my favourite Beatle.
It started with my Dad, a huge Beatles fan who imported their records from overseas along with pretty much every other seminal 60s rock when he was a youngster.
He saw them in Sydney when they toured, he says there was a lot of screaming but it was great. I have his ticket, in mint condition, as my most prized possession.
I grew up with The Beatles (and The Stones etc) like other kids grew up with nursery rhymes.
For a band that broke up when I was a week old they sure have influenced me.
After that Wings and all the solo albums were played with voracity in my home. Lennon was murdered when I was 9, on my Dad's birthday. It was the next day we found out. Dad was quiet and sombre, I just didn't understand why someone would want to kill that nice man who wanted to give peace a chance.
And as a teen I idolised Lennon, but as I grew older it was McCartney I kept going back to.
In 1993, I was lucky enough to see him in Sydney, it was a great experience but at times he didn't sound so good. The set was mixed and I guess looking back he had only just started to embrace his legacy. Nonetheless I was thrilled and felt privileged to see him.
As the song sort of goes, that was (almost) 25 years ago...
... and in that time the bond deepens, the knowledge grows, the understanding of their musicality, the love of their heritage...
Hey Jude is not only my favourite Beatles song, but my favourite song of all time. I toggle between The White Album and Abbey Road as faves. I own the entire Beatles collection in spiffy vinyl. I'm getting back into Wings and I enjoy his new albums. I hate fanatical fans, I am not that, but I am a solid fan and Paul is my main man.
And then he announces his tour.
Tickets are much harder to come by in the digital age, I'm bereft and anxious in the week leading up to purchase day.
What if I miss out?
Well, I guess I have seen him before I console myself. But this time it's different. The feelings I have cannot be described. I HAVE to see him!
I'm going solo, no one wants to come with me and I refuse to miss out.
But I still need my ticket.
And so it passes I'm lucky enough to secure one. I can't stop crying...with joy, and the enormity of it.
And life goes on, gets hectic, and concert day sneaks up on me.
I'm staying in Olympic Park and catching multiple trains to get there. Issues at Strathfield and my anxiety is skyhigh. We really have no idea how to do public transport in Australia. But I get there, have a late lunch, a nap, then get ready and head out.
I'm anxious, nervous, excited, and just a teeny bit sad I have no one to share this with. But I realise he is my hero, and this is my adventure, and goddamn it I was going to have the night of my life.
The merch lines were long so I moved on hoping I could have a go after the concert. I was seated around 6.45. The show started at 7ish. A great selection of video clips and stills on cylindrical screens that spun around while a DJ played a range of Beatles/McCartney etc related songs.
I love this pre-concert buzz, watching people come in and take their seats, the range of ages and facial expressions. Such fun!
Then a little after the lights went down, the stage lights went up, and there he was stage centre.
And with a twang of that distinctive chord that opens only one song...A Hard Day's Night...the crowd went wild and the show began.
A Hard Day's Night was followed by Junior's Farm and then Can't Buy Me Love.
Great opening, by Can't Buy Me Love I was gone, the tears started to form, the bottom lip started to quiver, which normally indicates loud blubbery crying, lol, but I held it together.
He sounded great, he looked happy, he laughed and spoke to the crowd. I think we're gonna have a good time tonight. Oh yeah! Someone called out, "I love you Paul." He replied, "I love you too."
The band were tight, they've been touring with him for a long while now, so that should be no surprise. The set design well thought out and spectacular. Great lighting, amazing visuals, silent clips and stills of his long and vast career.
I was glad I was facing the stage, even though that meant I was further away than say the same tickets on the side who might be closer to the stage, but to see the whole spectacular front on was something else.
I'm not going to go through every song, but oh boy, every song was a gem!
A few more songs in they played Let Me Roll it, with that distinctive riff, I love this song and they knocked it out the park. He sounded great, the band kicked arse, and then straight into a Hendrix riff, Foxy Lady, they killed that too. This led Paul into one of the many, many stories of the evening. About Jimi opening with Sgt Pepper, two days after the album was released, they were all impressed.
I am going to include a cool video a friend found on youtube below and it is little snippets of the concert, not everything but key parts of some songs and some of the stories!
He was so happy to tell his tales, and have a laugh or be a bit serious. You could tell he was loving every single minute of it and that was so very heart warming.
Some of the lovelier moments were dedicating the new and stunning My Valentine to his wife who was in the audience and a few songs later dedicating Maybe I'm Amazed to Linda. In fact, he messed up the beginning, not that you'd notice, and stopped everyone, explained what he did, said well you think to yourself can I keep going and fix it or should I stop. I decided to start again and do it properly. Everyone applauded and cheered. He then said, at least you know we're live! As if there was any doubt, lol!
He also sung another Wings fave, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five. So good!
Of the Beatles stuff, and there was a lot, there was the songs you expect, Love Me Do, And I Love Her and so forth, but also classics like I Just Saw A Face, and You Won't See me...two gems I was thrilled to hear.
He also tossed in a Quarrymen song, In Spite of all the Danger, and told the story of how that was the first record they ever made, five of them (no Ringo as yet) and 5 pounds to make, 1 pound each and a week at each of their houses, except the keyboard player who kept it for 20 years then sold it back to Paul and made a profit.
Before moving into a newer section, he played a stunning version of one of my faves, Blackbird...more tears...and it was followed by his ode to John Lennon, Here Today, even more tears. His sentiment - and let's face it he can be a little overly sentimental - was en pointe and just right. The man can write a song unlike no other.
And he keeps going and BOOM, Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite - now I never thought I'd hear that and it was divine, the psychedelic graphics and lighting across the stage very fitting and pepperesque. It got loads of cheers, the unexpected is always the best at a concert. This was song 24 and only a little over halfway there and whilst that first halfish was superb, he then took it up a notch.
From thereon in it was mind blowing after mind blowing stuff.
He comes out with a uke and talks about George Harrison, cue more tears from moi, and then begins a truly sweet version of Something, before changing to a guitar and adding the band for a very beautiful end to the love song.
A Day in the life...morphing into Give Peace a Chance.
Upbeat and sassy, Ob La Di, Ob La Da!!!
And the distinctive opening of my favourite Wings song, Band on the Run, sweet perfection!!!
They rocked Back in the USSR before hitting the piano and slowing down with Let it Be and a lovely singalong.
Then back up many notches to blow the stadium apart with a theatrical and pyramaniacal Live and Let Die. WOW!!!!
Ending with my beautiful Hey Jude, that was a truly amazing performance. If there was one song I wanted to be perfect (and believe me pretty much all of them were anyways) it was this one, and it was. I have never felt so happy singing and crying (cringing if you will) along to this special song.
And off they went...for all of 2 minutes...you knew there was going to be more.
Out they came, holding four flags, the Australian flag, the UK flag, the Aboriginal flag, and the Rainbow flag....huge cheers!
Yesterday, such a stunning song, written so many years ago when he was so very young, but oh boy, he nailed that sentiment and it holds up beautifully today. All of his material does.
Followed by a rousing rendition of birthday.
And then he started Mull of Kintyre. Now If you had said to me a day prior that I would called this my highlight I would have laughed at you and thought you mad. Firstly, to my knowledge, he doesn't sing that much and secondly I am soooo not a fan of it. Mostly as it was always Number 1, and for so very long, beating my favourite bands, it made me cranky as a kid and then when I started music classes at school that was a key band number...oh vey. You hear a song too many times, and no matter how good it is, it can be disturbing.
But then, a good song is a good song and it will always come back to you. And that night it did just that. By the end of the first verse I was weeping, it truly is a great song and that was BEFORE the freaking Pipe Band joined them on stage. And so, right at the Bagpipe section of the song, on walk the Governor Macquarie Memorial Pipe Band, bagpipes, drums, marching, twirling. I was gone, crying like a baby, everyone around was close to tears or in tears, it was one of the most electric, memorable, spine-tingling things I have ever seen on stage. Just perfection.
Here is a link to it from the same night!
After that it was straight into Sgt Peppers before tearing up Helter Skelter, and I mean they fucking killed that, how he could continue I have no idea, they ripped it up big time. It was sheer rock and roll.
And he moved gently to the piano and sang us all a lullaby.
They ended with the Abbey Road Trilogy, Golden Slumbers, The Weight, and The End. They only way to end a show really. This piece (it is one piece with three movements) is something that the more I listen to, the more I adore, possibly a Number 2 Beatles song.
As faux fireworks filled the stadium, he sung those immortal words from The End, "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."
The band bow, wave goodbye and are hidden in a cloud of smoke and glitter.
I sat down, having been on my feet for a bit, and just breathed in, wiped the tears from my face, smiled, and headed to buy some merch.
It was a little after 11, exactly 3 hours since the concert began, and what an amazing 3 hours it had been, remember the man is 75 years old!!!!!
I still cannot believe I was lucky enough to witness this event. It has easily wiped out many amazing concerts to reach Number One/all-time concerts and that is saying something. I never thought anyone would knock Prince off Number One. But this was a mix of history, adoration, genius, fabulous musicianship, great performance, amazing lighting and staging, and just love and fun and sentiment. This is a man who has captured my heart for almost all of my life, and whilst I had the privilege of seeing him before, this was something altogether different. It was more than a concert.
I knew this would be a long post/blog. I thank you for hanging in there. My pictures are not great, but I hope they give you an idea.
After the clip is the full Setlist, it's pretty amazing and history indeed.
This is a highlights reel from Youtube, it's pretty good.
1. A Hard Day's Night (A Hard Day's Night, The Beatles)
2. Junior's Farm (non-album single, Wings)
3. Can't Buy Me Love (A Hard Day's Night, The Beatles)
4. Letting Go (Venus and Mars, Wings)
5. All My Loving (With The Beatles, The Beatles)
6. Let Me Roll It (with Foxy Lady on the end, Hendrix) (Band on the Run, Wings)
7. I've Got A Feeling (Let It Be, The Beatles)
8. My Valentine (Kisses on the Bottom, McCartney)
9. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five (Band on the Run, Wings)
10. Maybe I'm Amazed (McCartney, McCartney)
11. I've Just Seen A Face (Help, The Beatles)
12. In Spite of all the Danger (Quarrymen first single)
13. You Won't See Me (Rubber Soul, The Beatles)
14. Love Me Do (non-album single, The Beatles)
15. And I Love Her (A Hard Day's Night, The Beatles)
16. Blackbird (The Beatles - The White Album, The Beatles)
17. Here Today (Tug of War, McCartney)
18. Queenie Eye (New, McCartney)
19. New (New, McCartney)
20. Lady Madonna (non-album single, The Beatles)
21. FourFiveSeconds (non-album single, McCartney/Rhianna/West)
22. Eleanor Rigby (Yellow Submarine, The Beatles)
23. I wanna Be Your Man (With The Beatles, The Beatles)
24. For the Benefit of Mr Kite (Sgt Peppers, The Beatles)
25. Something (Abbey Road, The Beatles)
26. A Day in the Life (Sgt Peppers, The Beatles)
27. Ob La Di, Ob La Da (The Beatles - The White Album, The Beatles)
28. Band on the Run (Band on the Run, Wings)
29. Back in the USSR (The Beatles - The White Album, The Beatles)
30. Let It Be (Let It Be, The Beatles)
31. Live and Let Die (non-album single, Wings)
32. Hey Jude (non-album single, The Beatles)
33. Yesterday (Help, The Beatles)
34. Birthday (The Beatles - The White Album, The Beatles)
35. Mull of Kintyre (non-album single, Wings)
36. Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise) (Sgt Peppers, The Beatles)
37. Helter Skelter (The Beatles - The White Album, The Beatles)
38. Golden Slumbers (Abbey Road, The Beatles)
39. The Weight (Abbey Road, The Beatles)
40. The End (Abbey Road, he Beatles)