I questioned why I decided to drive six hours in traffic to see a 79-year-old Paul McCartney perform in Seattle. It occurred to me that McCartney is nothing ordinary, he is modern-day history. Concert number four of his 16-date Get Back tour was a privilege. My heart pounded, the lights dimmed, and a sold-out crowd roar sent goosebumps everywhere. McCartney wore his classic waistcoat and jacket and jumped straight into his show as he sang, “Can’t Buy Me Love”. Thousands of fans, young and old, screamed when McCartney removed a layer of clothing and rolled up his white sleeves as he showcased his instrument versatility.
McCartney performed hits after hits from “Love Me Do” to songs on “Abbey Road”. McCartney mocked his fans when he played “Blackbird” on a rising stage. He asked how many fans have tried to play “Blackbird” and questioned how many of his fans were unsuccessful. “Here Today” broke me, and other fans had tears streaming down their face. A tribute to John Lennon that resonated with so many. McCartney suggested, “if you love someone, just tell them. Don’t wait.” The words were so simple yet, so comforting. “Lady Madonna” lifted the spirit of the crowd. Of course, McCartney was the center of the show, but “Being for The Benefit of Mr. Kite” felt like a circus as many gazed at the ceiling light show instead. “Ob La Di, Ob La Da” ignited the crowd. McCartney encouraged everyone to sing as people danced and shouted the bizarre lyrics. An elderly couple in their 80s caught me by surprise. I feared watching them struggling to walk to their seats. Nonetheless, when the 1968 Beatles song played, the married couple stood up and danced. For a few minutes, I witnessed a miracle catching a glimpse of the two in their 20s and pain-free. McCartney turned fantasies into reality. He paused his show for a few minutes to read different posters audience members created. McCartney read and explained that “Saiko” means fantastic in Japanese. Another fan held a sign which stated he attended over 120 of McCartney’s concerts. McCartney jokingly said, “that might be slightly obsessive”. His simple acknowledgments will be lasting memories by those fans.
Paul McCartney then said he wanted to enjoy the moment. His eyes moved through every inch of Climate Pledge Arena, gazing at as many faces as possible. A solid three minutes of loud cheers and appreciation passed. McCartney got back to his show by playing “Get Back” which included video clips of Peter Jackson’s documentary about The Beatles. Emotional fans lit the venue like stars with flashlights for “Let it Be”. However, “Live and Let Die” stole the show. A loud boom and several fireworks set off as the wind pushed McCartney’s hair in every direction. McCartney concluded the song by covering his ears as the loudest firework exploded. The arena continued to go wild as McCartney signaled he could not hear.
A Paul McCartney concert is not complete unless “Hey Jude” is in it. McCartney calmed the audience down and sang the famous words, “Hey Jude, don’t make it bad”. Strangers wrapped their arms around other strangers and sang “na na na nananana nannana, Hey Jude.” It was a touching moment to see everyone come together happily. McCartney enjoyed the moment himself; his eyes lit up, and a bright smile overcame his face while listening to the echoing crowd. As he walked off stage fans whistled and screamed until he came back out. McCartney picked up his bass and recited “I’ve Got a Feeling”. Unexpectedly, McCartney provided a twist. John Lennon appeared on the videoboard singing a verse with such great sound and visual quality that it felt like Lennon was there. The moment I saw McCartney and Lennon singing and playing in sync, I believed it was real.
McCartney finished the night with songs from “Abbey Road” including “The End”. Soon to be 80, McCartney looks as healthy as ever, but age will catch up. While the band left, McCartney remained on the stage to take one more moment to say thank you and cherish everything as we all should.
– By Mario C.
Photo Credit: Emerald City Journal