Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pwahl McCahtney at Fenway

My stepmother got us tickets to see Paul McCartney at Fenway Park as a birthday present for me, knowing what a Beatlemaniac I was (and still am, I guess). I got there in a somewhat crabby mood because they wouldn't let me bring in my backpack (I had to pay $10 to check it), expecting to be appreciative but not impressed by the concert, but I was happily surprised. I expected a 67-year-old geezer phoning it in Vegas-style ("You've been a great audience -- thank you. I'm here all week... Please tip your waitstaff") but actually, he is a great performer and a showman to the core. A real hambone, to be sure, and he really can't pull off this cheeky aw-shucks crap at his age. Sometimes I was rolling my eyes, but eventually I was pulled in (even when he twice "offhandedly" remarked that at Beatles shows, they could never hear themselves play because of all the screaming girls, evoking a predictable response). And just once I got a tiny inkling of the feeling the girls once must have had, perceiving his combination of cuteness, charm, and thrilling-but-not-threatening sexiness, even though it was totally calculated, when he said, "Everyone’s gone and left me alone with you. But it’s OK. I kind of like it." And then last night a week after the concert I had an erotic dream about him (not fully X-rated), which had never happened in all my teenage years of Beatles fascination. He's still got it going on. Great body, still has most of his hair (though I saw some suspicious lighter areas on top when he bowed, not to mention the obvious dye job), a little jowly, but for 67 he looks great.

Other impressions:
  • We were surprised later to find out they'd sold 45,000 tickets. The bleachers and some other sections were blocked off, but of course there was field seating. It was weird to see the field and stands in darkness.
  • The crowd was amazingly multiaged, though all white, and definitely clean and sober.
  • Paul has a great feel for pacing a show, moving the energy level up and down, serious to light-hearted (though thank God he didn't do "Silly Love Songs." After "Blackbird" and "Here Today" (the sob song addressed to Lennon right after his death), he joked abut "bringing up the mood up from almost suicidal" and launched into the perky lightweight "Everybody's Gonna Dance Tonight."
  • Musically he and the band were strong and tight. His drummer had the physical heft and power of John Bonham, and another guy in the band was fantastically versatile, doing keyboards, accordion, harmonica, etc. And the electronic stuff was also excellent -- it really sounded like strings and other orchestral instruments, not tinny imitations of same. Oh, and Paul's falsetto is still terrific. And even his whistling.
  • At one point he noted the full moon (which I couldn't see), saying, "Give it up for the lighting! Hello, moon!" And although he made some obligatory references to the Red Sox, he couldn't have known about the famous lunar eclipse on the night they won the 2007 World Series here. (ETA: it was 2004 -- they won the Series for the first time since 1918. Stupid of me? Well, I was in the Deep South at the time...)
  • Nice tributes to George (playing "Something" on an initially unaccompanied ukelele that George gave him) and John ("Give Peace a Chance" refrain singalong).
  • Couldn't help cringing during the obligatory pyrotechnics during "Live and Let Die" because the fake flames reminded me of the tragic 2003 fire at The Station nightclub in Warwick R.I.
  • He ended the show with the Sgt. Pepper reprise ("we hope you have enjoyed the show"), then three encores. After playing the first (Day Tripper, Lady Madonna, I Saw Her Standing There), leaving and returning, he joked, "Are you not exhausted yet?" For the second encore he entered shadow-boxing (hammy again) and played "Yesterday" which I hopes we would escape, but the third encore was a truly kick-ass pairing of "Helter Skelter" and "Get Back.
  • The you-know-you're-in-Boston moment was when I went up for a beer and a guy behind me said, "I'm heah to see Pwaul McCahtney but I'm wonderin' how the Red Sawx ah doin!" (For the record, they lost in Tampa Bay, 6-4.)

1 comment:

summer61 said...

Great review, but good golly miss molly, the lunar eclipse was the 2004 World Series...

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