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Paul's "Out There" tour (contains spoilers)
12 August 2013
9.47am
LongHairedLady
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parlance said

Funny Paper said
So parlance, what do you think of that discussion from another topic, about whether Paul's voice is quite what it used to be?  What was your impression of his singing ability from the concert, and does it compare favorably with his past?

Well, I don't think it's fair to compare favorably to the past. He's older. Voices deteriorate. But as I said over there, he's still in fine voice, and sounding better than the performances from last year. There were certain notes he hit that I was incredibly impressed by - not only the fact he hit them, but that the tone and quality sounded very much like a younger Paul.

parlance

I was BLOWN AWAY when he did Long Tall Sally in Seattle.  He can still pull that one off!  heart

"Please don't bring your banjo back, I know where it's been..  I wasn't hardly gone a day, when it became the scene..  Banjos!  Banjos!  All the time, I can't forget that tune..  and if I ever see another banjo, I'm going out and buy a big balloon!"

 

12 August 2013
1.03pm
DrBeatle
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parlance said

Funny Paper said
So parlance, what do you think of that discussion from another topic, about whether Paul's voice is quite what it used to be?  What was your impression of his singing ability from the concert, and does it compare favorably with his past?

Well, I don't think it's fair to compare favorably to the past. He's older. Voices deteriorate. But as I said over there, he's still in fine voice, and sounding better than the performances from last year. There were certain notes he hit that I was incredibly impressed by - not only the fact he hit them, but that the tone and quality sounded very much like a younger Paul.

parlance

I agree, I found him in fine voice a month ago...he sounds older but he doesn't sound old, if that makes sense?

Looking forward to reading your recap of the show, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!! :D

 

"I know you, you know me; one thing I can tell you is you got to be free!"

 

Please Visit My Website, The Rock and Roll Chemist

Twitter: @blackbookblur

 

12 August 2013
6.31pm
Funny Paper
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Thanks parlance, LHL and DrBeatle for your input.  Good to hear about Paul, parlance.

LHL, there seems to be an interesting (but annoying) phenomenon about these Paul concerts: people who attend in person rave about his voice -- thus you and that Seattle reviewer someone linked a few days ago (Timothy Egan) both say that he sang "Long Tall Sally" perfectly.  However, when I saw the video, it seemed like it wasn't as good as I've seen him do in the past (I mean it was phenomenal, but still not as good as before).  That makes me think that something tangible is lost in the translation to video, which is too bad.

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
12 August 2013
6.57pm
parlance
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Funny Paper said
Thanks parlance, LHL and DrBeatle for your input.  Good to hear about Paul, parlance.

LHL, there seems to be an interesting (but annoying) phenomenon about these Paul concerts: people who attend in person rave about his voice -- thus you and that Seattle reviewer someone linked a few days ago (Timothy Egan) both say that he sang "Long Tall Sally" perfectly.  However, when I saw the video, it seemed like it wasn't as good as I've seen him do in the past (I mean it was phenomenal, but still not as good as before).  That makes me think that something tangible is lost in the translation to video, which is too bad.

 

You're welcome. I agree that something's getting lost in the translation (though much of that has to do with bad audio equipment, and it's no wonder most artists forbid video recording). Friday night's performances of "Magical Mystery Tour" and the verses in "Live and Let Die" don't sound nearly as brilliant on video as they did in person. On the other hand, some songs like "Yesterday" hold up.

You know, there is warbling, that can't be avoided at his age with all the smoking he's done. But overall, I can't imagine anyone who's seen him in person walking away disappointed.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

12 August 2013
7.00pm
WETSRoosa
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parlance said

Funny Paper said
Thanks parlance, LHL and DrBeatle for your input.  Good to hear about Paul, parlance.

LHL, there seems to be an interesting (but annoying) phenomenon about these Paul concerts: people who attend in person rave about his voice -- thus you and that Seattle reviewer someone linked a few days ago (Timothy Egan) both say that he sang "Long Tall Sally" perfectly.  However, when I saw the video, it seemed like it wasn't as good as I've seen him do in the past (I mean it was phenomenal, but still not as good as before).  That makes me think that something tangible is lost in the translation to video, which is too bad.

 

You're welcome. I agree that something's getting lost in the translation (though much of that has to do with bad audio equipment, and it's no wonder most artists forbid video recording). Friday night's performances of "Magical Mystery Tour" and the verses in "Live and Let Die" don't sound nearly as brilliant on video as they did in person. On the other hand, some songs like "Yesterday" hold up.

You know, there is warbling, that can't be avoided at his age with all the smoking he's done. But overall, I can't imagine anyone who's seen him in person walking away disappointed.

parlance

 

Especially when he's in his 70s and still putting on shows close to or exceeding 3 hours. That's just superhuman.

"There's no such thing as bad student... only bad teacher."
12 August 2013
10.32pm
meanmistermustard
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Ive never seen a bad Paul review either from fans or critics - which is some testimony to how good the shows are.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
13 August 2013
4.48am
parlance
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meanmistermustard said
Ive never seen a bad Paul review either from fans or critics - which is some testimony to how good the shows are.

I agree. apple01

Taking longer to get this write-up done than I'd hoped, so in the meantime, here are my photos of James and Paul.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

13 August 2013
5.57pm
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With all due respect, truisms like "at 71 years old, it's amazing what he's doing" and "the performances were amazing" etc. don't actually directly speak to the simple logic of the question, Is Paul singing as good as he used to sing?  None of those other extraneous points are necessarily relevant to this question's simple answer.

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
13 August 2013
7.10pm
DrBeatle
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No, he's obviously not singing as good at 71 as he did at 21 or 31 or 41 or 51 or even 61. But he still sounds DAMN good.

"I know you, you know me; one thing I can tell you is you got to be free!"

 

Please Visit My Website, The Rock and Roll Chemist

Twitter: @blackbookblur

 

13 August 2013
9.40pm
HeyTrud
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Loved your pictures, Parlance!  Can't wait to read your review also :)   I am off at 7 am tomorrow morning on my road trip to Regina to see that amazing man, Paul :)   7 hours on the road...can't wait.  Wonder if I'll sleep tonight?!  hearta-hard-days-night-paul-5heart

"....take a sad song & make it Meilleur"....

13 August 2013
10.36pm
parlance
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HeyTrud said
Loved your pictures, Parlance!  Can't wait to read your review also :)  

Thank you!

I am off at 7 am tomorrow morning on my road trip to Regina to see that amazing man, Paul :)   7 hours on the road...can't wait.  Wonder if I'll sleep tonight?!  hearta-hard-days-night-paul-5heart

If you're like me, no. ;-D Have a safe trip and a wonderful time! Can't wait to see your report too!

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

14 August 2013
4.33am
LongHairedLady
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DrBeatle said
No, he's obviously not singing as good at 71 as he did at 21 or 31 or 41 or 51 or even 61. But he still sounds DAMN good.

Well said!  a-hard-days-night-paul-8

"Please don't bring your banjo back, I know where it's been..  I wasn't hardly gone a day, when it became the scene..  Banjos!  Banjos!  All the time, I can't forget that tune..  and if I ever see another banjo, I'm going out and buy a big balloon!"

 

14 August 2013
4.35am
LongHairedLady
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HeyTrud said
Loved your pictures, Parlance!  Can't wait to read your review also :)   I am off at 7 am tomorrow morning on my road trip to Regina to see that amazing man, Paul :)   7 hours on the road...can't wait.  Wonder if I'll sleep tonight?!  hearta-hard-days-night-paul-5heart

So exciting Trud!!!  Have a wonderful time, I know you will!!  heartheartheart

"Please don't bring your banjo back, I know where it's been..  I wasn't hardly gone a day, when it became the scene..  Banjos!  Banjos!  All the time, I can't forget that tune..  and if I ever see another banjo, I'm going out and buy a big balloon!"

 

14 August 2013
11.54am
AppleScruffJunior
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I forgot to ask:
Did anybody make/is going to make posters in the hope of getting Paul's attention and being called onstage?
If he does a Dublin date, I'll definitely make one! :D

INTROVERTS UNITE! Separately.....In your own homes.----Make Love, Not Wardrobes!
14 August 2013
1.28pm
parlance
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AppleScruffJunior said
I forgot to ask:
Did anybody make/is going to make posters in the hope of getting Paul's attention and being called onstage?
If he does a Dublin date, I'll definitely make one! :D

Yes! Yes, you should. In SF, he brought up two women who asked for him to sign their wrists so they could get tattoos (you'll see a bit of that from my pics).

Make sure the writing is big. And if he does a GA show, just get right up there to front row so he can see you and security can just grab you. :->

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

14 August 2013
3.43pm
DrBeatle
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HeyTrud said
Loved your pictures, Parlance!  Can't wait to read your review also :)   I am off at 7 am tomorrow morning on my road trip to Regina to see that amazing man, Paul :)   7 hours on the road...can't wait.  Wonder if I'll sleep tonight?!  hearta-hard-days-night-paul-5heart

Enjoy and let us know how it was!

 

"I know you, you know me; one thing I can tell you is you got to be free!"

 

Please Visit My Website, The Rock and Roll Chemist

Twitter: @blackbookblur

 

14 August 2013
3.44pm
DrBeatle
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parlance said

AppleScruffJunior said
I forgot to ask:
Did anybody make/is going to make posters in the hope of getting Paul's attention and being called onstage?
If he does a Dublin date, I'll definitely make one! :D

Yes! Yes, you should. In SF, he brought up two women who asked for him to sign their wrists so they could get tattoos (you'll see a bit of that from my pics).

Make sure the writing is big. And if he does a GA show, just get right up there to front row so he can see you and security can just grab you. :->

parlance

Interestingly, he read a ton of posters when I saw him in Boston, but he didn't call anyone onstage. From what I've read, it's the only show this tour where he hasn't done that...weird!

"I know you, you know me; one thing I can tell you is you got to be free!"

 

Please Visit My Website, The Rock and Roll Chemist

Twitter: @blackbookblur

 

17 August 2013
1.33am
parlance
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**********

A week to the day, I finished my epic write-up of epicness about seeing James McCartney at The Hotel Cafe, and Paul at Outside Lands. I meant to finish this earlier, but frankly, I was overwhelmed with taking it all in. It still feels like a dream.

And of course, there are spoilers.

**********

By the time Paul McCartney was announced as a San Francisco Outside Lands festival headliner, I had decided I finally needed to see him. Everyone had been telling me that he's an amazing performer.

Nevertheless, I was very reluctant to travel to Outside Lands. I didn't how long Paul would play, and my hatred of festivals runs so deep I've missed my favorite bands to avoid them. I hate standing out in the sun, enduring bands I don't like to get to the ones I do, the pushing, shoving, cutting in front by someone who didn't get up at ass o'clock like I did to secure my space.

Then I went to Ringo's exhibit at the Grammy Museum, and I thought of what it was like to be an eight-year-old discovering The Beatles, the way I couldn't wait to get home to watch that crappy cartoon. The first time I performed "Yesterday" (badly) for a school talent show. The first time I heard "Norwegian Wood," and the memories it brings of the first time a college boy openly flirted with me and held my hand as we talked. Hearing the later Beatles for the first time, beyond the 10 songs they always play on the radio - The Resurgence. Greedily inhaling all the albums one by one with headphones, and finally, truly understanding the genius of The Beatles.

The Beatles are part of my life fabric. They were my first fandom. Whether I'd admitted it or not, they've influenced the way I see and hear and think. I am very aware that I am lucky to be alive while a Beatle is still alive... and not just any Beatle, but one half of Lennon-McCartney. And as I told another fan, I think energy-wise, Paul could probably keep going, but I don't think his voice will let him. I knew I'd forever regret not taking advantage of that opportunity.

**********

Finally, the schedule was released. Paul was playing from 7:10-9:55. A full show, or damn close! But I was afraid to book my plane ticket for fear of getting booked on a job and having to cancel. But it seemed the universe was conspiring to get me to that concert. The first serendipitous event: the guy I've been freelancing the most for turned out to be a massive Beatles fan and booked his ticket to see Paul when I told him I was going!

Now that I was going, I decided to go for front row, and even included that mission as part of my daily affirmations. I had wacky anxiety dreams involving Paul as a dwarf, and another involving a spider with the head of a billy goat. Every once in while, I'd think to myself, "In a few days, you're going to see a Beatle!" I said the same to my hairdresser, who told me, "You're like a kid waiting for Christmas. You probably won't sleep the night before." And she was right.

**********

Wednesday the 7th. My vacation began to see the son, then the father. First up: James McCartney at The Hotel Cafe.

It was great to hear the songs again, and to be able to pick out my favorite performances. So far those are "Mexico," "Butterfly," "Individually" and his gorgeous cover of "Old Man" where his voice really soars, making you wonder how closely he identifies with the lyrics. A fan snagged a setlist where at the top, his roadie wrote "Killer Set List Bro!"

Unfortunately, James was less than enthused. There was a marked contrast to his appearance at the Hotel Cafe earlier this year, and you can see it in my photos. Whereas last time, he would occasionally actually smile, this time he was completely dour. And whereas the time before, he was full of stories (such as the fact it was, that night, the 15th anniversary of Linda's death), this time he merely introduced the songs with "Yeah, right, this next one is..." He ended his set abruptly, coming back for an encore telling us he really appreciated our coming, but you could tell he just wanted to be done.

I figured the 47-city-tour thing was going to wear on him, and it looks like it has. And in between the times I've seen him, he's done a few disastrous interviews including one for The Daily Mirror where he went the opposite extreme and told too much about himself and his family. I wonder how badly he got his wrist slapped for that.

I feel bad for James. I do genuinely love his music and want to see him do well. And there were positives, and I would see James again. But it seems James won't ever get used to performing in public. One of the fans later said to me that she notices that James is always keeping his eyes peeled for exits, and I can only imagine he must have had traumatizing experiences with fans growing up. It must be such an awful thing to have music burning inside him, while never able to escape comparisons to a giant like his father.

I didn't hang around to meet James this time, as I had a morning flight to catch.

**********

Thursday morning flight, scene of serendipitous event #2: I changed to an aisle seat when I checked in, and ended up sitting next to a former coworker I hadn't seen in 10 years. And he was also going to see Paul! During the shuttle ride, I spoke to a woman who'd traveled to see Paul. And when I arrived at the hostel, they were playing one of Paul's live albums in the lobby. It felt like most of San Francisco was buzzing with Paul's arrival.

Due to a late-arriving flight and - of course - barely sleeping the night before, I was too exhausted to risk trying to catch soundcheck, as I'd planned, and being too tired to wake up early the next day. The concert was the reason I had spent all this money, done so much planning - not soundcheck. Eyes on the prize.

**********

As my hairdresser predicted, I didn't sleep much Thursday night. As I lay awake, I almost left for the park in the middle of the night, but I didn't like the idea of walking around Golden Gate Park alone in the dark. So, I waited until the first rays of light to slip quietly out of the hostel.

I could barely contain my excitement on the N Judah train, every stop bringing me closer to seeing Paul, wondering if anyone else was heading for the same destination. But, no, it was just me. Along the way, we passed The Yellow Submarine sandwich shop. I took it as a good sign.

At the park, there were were about 15 people already ahead of me, with spaces being reserved for about four others. The first guy had arrived at 2:30am, and the guy in front of me at 6:30. It was drizzling, but I'd had the foresight to ask for a garbage bag from the hostel to sit on. Nevertheless, I knew from dealing with SF's micro-climates, I'd be sick after this concert, and sure enough, a week later, I'm coughing and hacking as I type this.

I immediately made nice with the others. I recognized one woman from her avatar on the Maccaboard that captured the moment she'd gotten Paul to sign the Blackbird tattoo on her shoulder, and she was now showing me his permanent autograph. She and her friend had heard soundcheck. I chatted with her friend, who was carrying a carefully folded sign. I didn't ask what was on it - turns out we'd all find out later.

After a couple of hours, a fan who'd been sleeping on a mat awoke, and we chatted. Cue serendipitous event #3. It turned out we'd met the summer of 2009 at a Tears for Fears concert. What a crazy tiny world this is.

**********

Meanwhile, the fan I was saving a space for was landing at Oakland and racing to make it towards Golden Gate Park before gates opened, along with her friend. She and her friend made it, pushing through the line, with literally two minutes to spare.

The gates opened and the mad dash began. We were separated into three short lines to get our bags inspected and tickets scanned. I got into the shortest line... which turned out to have the most incompetent ticket scanner. Scan. Scan. Scan. She couldn't get the ticket of the woman in front of me to clear. Scan. Scan. Scan. People who'd been behind me were now racing ahead. And the woman next to her refused to let us hand over our tickets. I snapped.

"HOW IS THIS HAPPENING?!" I wailed. The front-row window was closing. I was ready to rip this woman's head off and either throw it across the field... or scan it. Finally, she got the hang of it. I tapped my friend on the shoulder as I passed her to let her know I was making a run for it.

In my panic over the ticket scan, I'd forgotten my plan to pace myself, and crap, this place was the width of a football field! I'm not going to make it, I thought. Oh, yes, you are. You didn't travel to San Francisco and get up at 5:30am to settle for 10th row. Push it!

Facing the stage on the right-hand side, I spotted one bald spot at the rail, but a guy was saving a space for a friend. There was still ample space for one more, so I got him to move over, and I wrapped my hoodie over the rail. Success!

Then I looked up. There was a gargantuan boom camera directly in our way. I looked around. This was truly the last space at the rail available, and our view would be partially obstructed.

My friend staked her claim in the center, which was now about 4 rows back. I hemmed and hawed about joining her. I made nice with the guy next to me to save my spot so we could visit the memorabilia tent. I bought a black t-shirt with one of David Bailey's images of Paul and one of the beautiful tour programs.

Over time, people zeroed in on the tiniest of bald spaces on the grass and cut in. So I returned to my front row spot. You see, I've separately injured both my knees, and I can't stand for long hours. A couple just behind me, who were saving a space for two friends well into the evening, let me sit and stretch my legs on their blanket, which would have been impossible front row center. So, thanks to the ticket scanning frustration, I made the smartest decision that day.

The guy next to me and I chatted about Paul songs we wanted to hear. I was familiar with the setlist, and I was happy to hear anything, but especially "Paperback Writer." He wanted to hear "1985." We both got our wishes.

Eventually, a woman about three feet tall slipped to the front ("I have a strategy," she declared), and we made room for her and her two friends. She'll make a return to this story.

I survived the day by munching on carefully-rationed Cliff Bars, which soaked up the water I was drinking in tiny sips so I only had to leave my spot once very early in the day. The guy saving the space for his friends was built like a Marine (though I don't think he was one). We established a system where I, sitting with my back to the stage most of the day, would spot someone trying to shove their way to the front. He would deflect the interloper, who would slink away and the guy's wife would give me an air-fist-bump.

I listened, occasionally watched, the bands leading up to Paul. The Smith Westerns, Surfer Blood, Band of Horses and The National. I liked what I was hearing, but most of them weren't my thing. I stood up for the Kronos Quartet, as they performed a number with The National, since they would be on my bucket list of bands to see if their shows weren't so expensive.

During The National's set, one annoying, probably drunk woman, kept yelling,"Take it off!" like five times, at least, and I shared an eye roll with the guy next to me.

During one of their last numbers, The National's lead singer suddenly flew over my head! He had jumped the railing and gone into the aisle right beside me, and made his way up around the pit, while people in the front tried to keep from getting strangled by the mike cord.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, one of my hostel roommates got a glimpse of Paul on the street. Traffic was cleared and Paul was accompanied by a police motorcade as he made his way across the city, with his window down, waving to people. He's such a cheeseball, I love it.

After The National finished, the crowd surged forward, and the Marine's friends joined us. It was time to stand for good. The long wait was coming to an end. Time for Paul!

**********

During the transition from The National to Paul, Paul's DJ played mash-ups of Beatles and solo songs, and he's as awesome as I'd heard. Meanwhile, a looping scroll of images of The Beatles and Paul through the years, bordered by splashes of his artwork, played on the Jumbotrons, making the hour pass by much more quickly, which is genius on Paul's part. Sadly, on the other side of the field, Chic were playing - a last minute replacement for D'Angelo - but they couldn't be heard from so far away with the DJ music going.

Finally, Paul emerged and the 60,000+ crowd went nuts. I screamed like I haven't since I was a teenager. And I was so, so, so happy for my front-row spot. Because, save for the occasional boom camera, there was nothing in the way of getting a good look at Paul and knowing I was there. No six-foot-tall guys, no beach ball, no LED screens. I didn't have to stare at the Jumbotron, which just makes me feel like I'm watching a concert on YouTube and wondering why I bothered to show up. And there was no one to get in the way of the occasionally decent shot.

There was a bit of crowd drama in the pit, the worst of which involved an extraordinarily high woman getting pulled out by security. As she was carried away, she sensuously reached out her hand and called out to Paul. Then she grabbed onto a barricade, and it took three guys to pull her off. Later, she was still causing a ruckus, and I counted no less than 15 security guards and cops running in her direction. "All this for one person?" the Marine-wife said to me, shaking her head while a security guard laughed.

**********

A few links: first, the setlist. According to this article, 26 Beatles songs, 8 Wings songs. It was about a 2 1/2 hour set due to the curfew. I was a bit bummed that he didn't do "Penny Lane," which it turns out he did at soundcheck, but that's a tiny quibble.

Here are my best photos. I had to use the old camera so the resolution isn't ideal, but I'm especially proud of the somber moment I caught of Paul as he waited for the stage to rise before playing "Blackbird" and "Here Today," particularly as his expression mirrors the one of James. Like father like son.

Also, you'll see comedian Jeffrey Ross, my one celebrity sighting, standing in that aisle between GA and VIP, looking either incredibly awestruck or incredibly high. Or both.

I also made a couple of crappy videos, one of Paul reading a fan's sign- "Sign My Butt" - and one of "Yesterday."

**********

Paul came out wearing his tapered, black coat a huge improvement over the busboy uniform he wore at the start of the tour. This was far more distinguished. Mid-show, he shed the coat, prompting me to yell, "Take it off!"

"Finally," the guy next to me said, "a legitimate moment to yell 'take it off!'"

I kept my attention pretty much glued to the stage, though I occasionally looked to the Jumbotron for close-ups on Paul's hands, not to mention the wacky fast cuts during "Live and Let Die," during which Rusty fell back on the floor in mock exhaustion.

Looking at my notes on specific songs:

Paul kicked off with "Eight Days A Week," but for some reason, it wasn't until he was three songs in, when he played "Magical Mystery Tour," that I started to cry. I couldn't figure out why that song did it, especially hearing the isolated audio now, the singing was a pitchy mess. I think it's because I expected to hear a hit like "Eight Days," but MMT was an obscure surprise, and it finally grounded me in being at that concert: This is Paul, this a Beatle. I'm not just listening to the radio, this is real. So, pitchy or no, I'm eternally grateful he chose to replace "All My Loving" with MMT that night.

And I turned to the Marine's wife behind me and tearfully choked out, "Buh-huh, buh-huh, ohmigosh, it's Paul McCartney, buh-huh, buh-huh."

She patted me on the shoulder and said, "Yes it is." Poor woman probably thought she had a basket case on her hands, but I pulled it together.

The second time I cried was during "Here Today," not surprisingly. It was one of the songs Paul did on the second stage that rose above the audience. He talked of how sometimes you mean to tell someone what they mean to you and you put if off, and that he wrote the song about his dear friend, John. "Let's hear it for Mr. Lennon," he said, while flashing the peace sign, and the crowd cheered. Then he introduced the song as a conversation he'd never had with John. I thought of how difficult it must be for Paul to sing that song every time, and I teared up.

I'm not a huge fan of the ukulele arrangement of "Something," but I couldn't help but be moved by it against the backdrop of images of George and Paul.

I may be in the minority, but I love "My Valentine." Paul told us Nancy was in the audience that night, and it was going out to her. I wanted to do the heart thing with the hands I saw people in Brazil doing, but no one around me knew about it, and I was too far off to the side for it to be appreciated. Someone or some people in the center did, though, and Paul nodded at them and made a heart with his hands.

San Francisco got two unique performances, the first being "San Francisco Bay Blues," which Paul dedicated to a friend named Shelley. I missed her being shown briefly on the Jumbotron before she darted away.

And of course there was "Yesterday," bringing the return of the Kronos Quartet to the stage. So, the first time I got to hear Paul perform the song was live was with strings. A friend later told me that that was the moment she cried at the concert.

The arrangement of "Eleanor Rigby" they're doing was also gorgeous. It would have been nice to hear that with strings as well, of course, but the acoustic guitar was still haunting. It was my favorite Beatles song as a child, and hearing that live, so delicately performed, gave me chills.

Some other personal favorites were "Let Me Roll It" - because that is a babymaking song if I ever heard one - "I've Just Seen A Face," "Mrs. Vanderbilt," "Band on the Run," and "Helter Skelter" - I just lost it on that last one. I think I knew that was on the setlist, but it was still a surprise, and I jumped and danced and head-banged as much as the tiny space would allow me.

I'm also happy to say that in the context of actually being there, "Hey Jude" didn't annoy me half as much as it normally does, particularly since Paul does what I call the five-hour version ("Now all the women. Now all the men. Now all the people from Kentucky with long-hair dachshunds...."). There's definitely something magical about being in a crowd of thousands singing in unison. Later, between the encores, people were singing the "Na Na"'s to bring Paul back.

**********

Overall thoughts:

Even though I kept hearing Paul puts on a fantastic show - and that was enough to convince me to fly up to see him - I don't think anyone could have prepared me for his phenomenal performance. Naturally, it's a tight show, visually dazzling and high-tech. There are the pyrotechnics for "Live and Let Die," of course (and, yes, I could feel the heat from where I was, and despite knowing what was coming, yelped like an injured puppy at the first blast). And the second stage with the LED images takes the riser concept to a stunning new level. But I was also impressed by the original animation for numbers like "Back In The USSR" and "All Together Now." And you can't help but be moved seeing Linda's photography during "Maybe I'm Amazed" of Paul and little Mary.

As for Paul himself, when people say he's a great showman, it doesn't do him justice. It sounds too Vegas, like he's almost phoning it in. But quite the opposite, I felt like he was always engaged. He's at once larger-than-life and accessible. He has energy for days. It's not just the length of the show that's astounding at his age, but the amount he moves around, jumping from his guitars to his pianos, dancing, even straight-up pogo-ing during songs like "Mrs. Vanderbilt" ("Maybe he got new knees," a friend commented).

Another fan later told me that she thought Paul was chattier with the audience than at other shows she'd seen. Paul's show is notoriously well-scripted, and I'd heard most of the stories he tells, like the one about Jimi Hendrix jokingly trying to get Eric Clapton to tune his guitar. And he made no less than three pot jokes, which apparently he always does in SF. A couple of stories, though, I believe were new or at least unusual, such as one about a stagehand at The Ed Sullivan Show asking Paul is he was nervous. When Paul said no, the stagehand said, "You should be. There'll be 73 million people watching you," and Paul mimed the curtain suddenly opening.

Much like his comment when reading the "sign my butt" sign ("well, let's have a look at it"), Paul was effortlessly charming and funny. He also had us do a a call-and-response thing early in the show. It started out with him having us sing things like "Oooh" and "Yeah-yeah-yeah." But then it got increasingly non-sequitury and weirder and funnier. By the end of it, he just had us all go "Grrrr." Because he's Sir Paul and he can.

On a random note, Paul shook out his hair after "Live and Let Die," much like he did during the 12-12-12 concert, starting rumors at the time that his hair had caught on fire. Maybe some embers keep getting in there, but this time he turned it into a joke by sticking his finger in his ear and pretending the fireworks were leaving him deaf.

Also, Paul is still a terrific flirt. As has been well-documented, he brought up a couple of fans onstage during an encore. And when he asked the name of the first one, she said, "Livia" - all nervous and jumbled together almost like one syllable - and I recognized her as one of the two friends ahead of me in line, the one with the folded sign! She and another woman had signs asking Paul to be their first tattoos, and Livia was very specific in her instructions about how she wanted it signed so she could see the signature every time she looked at her wrist. Paul joked that it might be difficult. And he obliged not only by signing their wrists, but wrapping himself around their bodies to do so. As the audience laughed, he said, "Well, I have to get the right angle." LOL, such an adorably dirty old man.

Another cute thing he does at each concert is come out waving a gigantic flag for each country he's in, while one of his band members waves a Union Jack. This time, another band member also waved around the California flag. And he matches the color of the confetti to the country's flag. I later told someone that I love that Paul now does things that only a 70+-year-old man could get away with.

But what also struck me, in terms of audience banter, when he introduced "Blackbird," is that Paul asked how many of us had tried to learn to play the song on guitar, and it seemed the majority of the crowd cheered. And Paul said "How cool is that for me? C'mon, give me love," as the crowd cheered some more. It struck me as an unusually vulnerable moment for Paul, letting us know that he needs to knows he's still relevant to a younger crowd. And that just endeared him to me even more.

As for the enduring question, I thought Paul was in fine voice. I later found listening to some videos on YouTube that he wasn't actually sounding as great as I heard him, but some of that can be chalked up to cheap audio. But a recording engineer friend of mine later explained that what I was hearing live was a combination of acoustics/good miking, excitement and "yer own singing along," and she's right. I can't help but sing at a concert. Nevertheless, with the caveat that he doesn't sound as great as he used to, he still sounds great. Truthfully, every once in a while, he'd hit a note so perfectly, it would actually sound like it was coming from a much younger Paul. And I doubt anyone ever comes away from a Paul McCartney concert disappointed.

I'm not a gear-head, but I tried to get a photo with every single guitar he played with. Including the basses, I counted 7? Before he would hand the Hofner to a roadie, he would hold it up to the crowd in triumph in a way that made me want to sing "Circle of Life." He played two pianos, a Yamaha and the psychedelic piano on which he composed "Hey Jude," among others. It was dizzying watching him run around.

Another advantage I enjoyed by being so close is that I got to witness some of the interactions among Paul's crew. They really seemed to enjoy working for him. Usually, a crew looks like they can't wait for a show to be over, like they hate life. But this crew seems to enjoy a real camaraderie. The camera boom guy was bopping and singing along to "Get Back," and the confetti guy was smiling, and during "The End," he caught my eye and sang the last line with me. I especially enjoyed watching Paul's official photographer, MJ Kim (no press photographers were allowed during Paul's set). He was smiling and joking, and ribbed the confetti guy when a little confetti blew out prematurely. It was immediately clear why he has the job; not only his he professional, but seems like a very personable guy. And if he ever needs an assistant, I'm available. ;->

And towards the end of the show, a female crew member walked over to the three-foot-tall woman standing near me and, completely unbidden, handed her a set list. So freaking nice!

On a side note, you can see the set list among my photos, and it's interesting that certain songs - presumably the ones that change from city to city - are highlighted in pink. But the version the woman got still has "All My Loving" instead of "Magical Mystery Tour."

After the concert, I walked around the Outside Lands grounds in a daze, feeling disconnected. I was wishing I had someone close with me to enthuse about the show, but with thousands of people using their phones, I'd stopped getting enough bars to text or call anyone after 3pm. At first, I was disappointed it was over so quickly. And then I was disappointed that I'd allowed myself to be spoiled about the setlist, and so little of the show was a surprise.

It was only later that I realized that what seemed to be disappointment was only shell-shock. On the shuttle back to the Civic Center, I had the good fortune of sitting next to a woman half my age who just wanted to gush over Paul. Back at the hostel, my roomies were still awake and wanted to hear all about it. During the rest of the weekend, it seemed the entire hostel was buzzing about his performance, throwing around words like "epic" and "legend" and "a god." Over the next few hours and days, the reality of actually having seen a Beatle in person washed over me, leaving me with warm fuzzies dipped in pixie dust.

**********

I didn't want to deal with checking out and jumping on a plane early the next day, so I decompressed with an old friend over soup dumplings in Chinatown and record shopping at Amoeba and Rasputin's. That night, the hostel was having a party with free booze, so I flirted with a roomie who sounds and looks like Jay from "The Inbetweeners," and tried to convince him to check out Paul's solo music.

The next morning, as I packed, I spoke with an Outside Lands volunteer staying at the hostel who was planning to make her own front row run for The Red Hot Chili Peppers with a similar plan to mine, right down to meager bottle of water and Cliff Bars. I got to the airport super early, and tried to change to an earlier flight, but no dice. This was just as well, because that's where Serendipitous Event #4 took place.

I'd just returned to the gate, having bought the latest Rolling Stone declaring Paul one of the best live acts right now, when I noticed a Black man wearing braids and sunglasses, shielded by a small entourage, sitting in a chair. He was listening to his iPod. There wasn't a lot of fuss being made, everyone was calm, so I was suspended in a surreal space, thinking, "Is that Stevie freaking Wonder waiting to board the same flight?!" and "No, it's not possible that I'm inhabiting the same space as Stevie Wonder. Must be someone else. An excellent imposter."

I pretended to be texting and took a photo to be safe. A family went up to his entourage with a child and asked for a photo, and I heard him speak. And you can't mistake that voice. It was indeed Stevie Wonder, whom like everyone, I've idolized since I was a kid, and have seen playing at the Hollywood Bowl and jamming with Prince at The Forum. He boarded early, and I ended up standing within six inches of The Wonder. Somehow I managed not to pass out. As I went down the aisle, I got one last good look at him, and overheard a woman on her cell phone telling a friend that he was on our flight.

It was an unexpectedly perfect end to an already perfect weekend. Thank you, universe, for making this weekend even more marvelous than I possibly could have imagined.

**********

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

17 August 2013
3.57am
DrBeatle
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I really enjoyed reading that! :D

 

thanks for sharing!

"I know you, you know me; one thing I can tell you is you got to be free!"

 

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17 August 2013
3.59am
parlance
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Apple rooftop
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DrBeatle said
I really enjoyed reading that! :D

 

thanks for sharing!

 

Oh, I'm glad. Thank you for reading it!

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

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