Sunday, August 7, 2011

Maybe He Amazed

I went to Cincinnati with one Paul McCartney manic and returned with three.

No, I didn’t pick anybody up along the way. Instead, Sir Paul won over a couple of new converts through the sheer force of his performance.

My 14-year-old son is a fledgling bassist who is a huge fan of The Beatles in general and McCartney specifically. Kim and I went to Cincinnati for his benefit, but ended up benefitting, too.

It was simply one of the best concerts we’ve ever seen. Despite being 69 years old, McCartney played joyfully for nearly three hours, ala Bruce Springsteen. He covered a lot of ground from The Beatles to Wings to his solo career. All the while, he interacted with the audience and displayed a keen sense of humor.

For instance, McCartney opened with “Hello, Goodbye” and said it was good to be back, even though he last played Cincinnati 18 years ago. The kindly and talkative older gentleman in front of me claimed to have seen McCartney even before that, in 1964, for a mere $5 when the The Beatles played at Cincinnati Gardens.

I enjoyed more Wings songs than I thought I would, including “Nineteen Hundred and Eighthy Five,” “Jet,” “Band on the Run,” and the pyrotechnic-filled “Live and Let Die.” Of McCartney’s solo stuff, “Maybe I’m Amazed” took the prize. Of the Beatles stuff, I loved “Day in the Life,” which transitioned into “Give Peace a Chance,” “Lady Madonna,” and “Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End,” which closed the show.

The set included tributes to John Lennon, George Harrison and Jimi Hendrix. (Sorry, Ringo, I guess you have to die first).

Somewhere between “Hello” and “The End,” McCartney signed a fan’s shoulder. She left immediately after the show to make it permanent with a tattoo. I wouldn’t go that far for Sir Paul, but at least I understand why she did.

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