By Betsy Hijazi
When I look at the big picture and consider that The Beatles broke up before I was born, I find it surreal that I've just attended a Paul McCartney concert, here in Boston at Fenway Park.
When I was growing up, The Beatles were still popular, I suppose just as they are today. Through strife, conflict, individual achievement, politics and even death, The Beatles, the group, its members and their music have endured for 40+ years. Everyone knows The Beatles, and each generation for the past 50 years has been touched by Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr or George Harrison, someway, somehow.
I grew up singing Beatles songs. I never owned a Beatles album, but I sang their songs, just as I sang songs from Wings and John Lennon. I was very much aware of who they all were.
It's odd, though, to think that I was just 11 years old when John Lennon was killed. I remember his death like it was yesterday, and yet I was so young. Nearly 30 years later, John's music is as important and poignant as it was in the 70s. Who hasn't wished his words true, "Give Peace A Chance"? And in the 80s when his son Julian Lennon became a music sensation, who wasn't constantly reminded of John every time they heard Julian's voice or saw John in his son's face?
In the 80s, Ringo Starr seemed to be everywhere. He collaborated with other musicians and later became an actor and voice actor for the popular children's series Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. Since the late 80s, Ringo has toured with his band called Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band, which has included various famous band members over the years.
In the late 80s, George Harrison formed The Traveling Wilburys with music legends Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison. The Traveling Wilburys had two successful records. Sadly, George passed away in 2001.
So here we are, 40 years after The Beatles went their separate ways, and Paul McCartney is touring the U.S. Never did I think that in my lifetime would I have the opportunity to hear him sing live.
The rumor that Paul McCartney would play Fenway came about 2 months ago, and shortly thereafter, tickets went on sale. Luckily, I was still able to purchase one when I found they had gone on sale a couple days after the fact. He had not sold out!
However, price was important; I was NOT going to shell out $250 for a field seat. Love McCartney, but no way would I pay that! I did, however, get a great seat at a reasonable price. The only bad thing was that my camera wasn't powerful enough for great video or photos. But what I do have makes for nice memories!
The song I anticipated hearing the most was Jet. I've always loved this song and it was the 2nd song Paul McCartney sang! It was a great way to start the show!
Paul sang non stop for 2 1/2 hours, which was unreal! Most of the songs were under 3 minutes, so he sang a LOT of songs! I didn't know about a third of the songs, but they were all great!
One of the best moments of the concert was when Paul introduced Blackbird. He told the audience the meaning behind it, which I had never heard. And as he sang it, the whole audience at Fenway sang with him. To hear 40,000 - 50,000 people singing Blackbird...it was eerie, and it was amazing.
Paul was funny, and he connected well with the audience. He joked about how when The Beatles first came to the U.S., they couldn't hear themselves sing because the girls were screaming so loud! On cue, the ladies in the audience screamed and Paul said he still can't resist it! How surreal it must be for him!
Paul sang some of my favorites, Band on the Run, Hey Jude, Let It Be, and Yesterday. Really though, aren't they all our favorites? Just about every McCartney, Wings and Beatles song makes you feel good!
Paul also sang Day Tripper, Drive My Car, Eleanor Rigby, Got to Get You Into My Life, I Saw Her Standing There, Lady Madonna, Long and Winding Road, and My Love. Paul sang Back in the USSR, and then commented that it doesn't even exit anymore.
Paul also combined A Day in The Life and John Lennon's Give Peace a Chance, and he paid tribute to George Harrison by telling us how he played Something on George's ukulele, and then sang a cute acoustic version of it before the band came in and played the familiar album version. The song was accompanied by a montage of photos of George that played on the screens at the back of the stage.
Rocking it out, Paul and his band performed Helter Skelter, and the highlight of the night was the performance of Live and Let Die, which was accompanied by unexpected pyrotechnics and fireworks! The song was fabulous, and the fireworks blasted twice during the show! It was awesome!
Paul McCartney sang at least a dozen more songs that I don't recall. He was incredible. Paul performs with a great band too! They are all rock and rollers for sure! The drummer is a beast! And the lead guitarist is all over the stage.
McCartney even paid tribute to Jimi Hendrix, playing one of his tunes and telling us a story about a time when they jammed together. McCartney's band knows how to rock and it was pretty cool to see them all play another legend's signature piece.
It was amazing to attend this Paul McCartney concert. At 67, he has as much energy and life in him as he did in the 60s, perhaps even more now! I'm grateful that I was able to participate in such an historic event.
The Beatles seems like a million years ago, true history. But there before me stood this man, this icon and music legend, singing songs from his music catalogue 45 years in the making, and I loved every moment of it. I hope he's around for years and years, and that I get another chance to see him!
Betsy Hijazi's articles can be found at http://www.BetsysView.com.
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