Seeing Paul McCartney live in concert for the very first time

Paul McCartney acknowledged the signs in the audience which led to a wedding proposal on stage involving a Rochester couple, with Jon singing When I’m 64 to Claudia.

c. 2014 K Durkot
c. 2014 K Durkot

I don’t know how to review seeing Paul McCartney in concert on July 5, what turned out to be the first stop on the US leg of his current tour. Want a review? Here’s one by Greg Haymes, and here’s another one by Greg, who I happened to see before the show, and I’d say they are pretty darn accurate.

Also saw Karen, one of my oldest friends, a Beatlemaniac before I was by a few weeks, and that was fab. (Sorry.) The Daughter and I took the CDTA down and back, and THAT was actually worked out almost perfectly.

So let me do a song-by-song musing:

Eight Days a Week – Karen saw his performance at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts last October, a highlight of her life, and he opened with that here as well. The Daughter (L) was so excited; this is the moment it became real, that she has actually seen a Beatle in person.

Save Us – a new song, the one with the line about “heat of the battle”. Enjoyable. I need to listen to that NEW album again.

All My Loving – The Daughter was in heaven.

Listen to What the Man Said -while I turned L on to a lot of Beatles’ music, I haven’t done nearly as good a job with Paul’s Wings and solo career. It was after this when Paul McCartney took off his electric-blue blazer and noted, “That will be the only wardrobe change of the evening.”

Let Me Roll It – it was at the end of this song (I believe) when the band segues into some Hendrix, after which Paul tells this story about Jimi hearing Sgt. Pepper, the title song, and playing it two days later, but asking Eric Clapton, who was in the audience, to tune his guitar; Clapton demurred.

Paperback Writer – some artwork by Richard Prince, an artist who lives in this area on the background screen. Among them were the nurses’ paintings.

My Valentine – his one new song on his 2012 album of standards, dedicated to his third wife Nancy. Later, L and I had this conversation about how often celebrities get married. But, I explained, “his first wife, Linda, died!” She knew of Heather, wife #2, from Dancing with the Stars.

Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five – even though L didn’t know it at all – I REALLY need to start with the Band on the Run album – she got into the uptempo sections of this.

The Long and Winding Road – the last song on Beatles #1s, which I gave her when she was five, to start the Beatles brainwashing.

Maybe I’m Amazed – the guy who was sitting on the other side of me was having a religious experience. It’s my favorite too, dedicated to Linda. No songs dedicated to Heather.

I’ve Just Seen a Face – after L and I saw the movie Help in 2009, I gave her a copy of the Help! album. (Yet because I grew up on the US LP, I STILL associate it with Rubber Soul.)

On My Way To Work – an impromptu addition to the setlist, unknown to the techies

We Can Work It Out – L’s second- or third-favorite Beatles song

Another Day – always thought this was a dopey song, but it’s better live

And I Love Her – I’ve long thought that, while Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road were major accomplishments, putting out the songs for A Hard Day’s Night in the midst of Beatlemania was amazing. Probably the second album the Daughter received.

Blackbird – by this point, he’s solo on the stage, in this forestage that rises as he sings. He tells the familiar tale of writing this during the Civil Rights struggle, particularly in the American South.

Here Today – his song remembering John Lennon. When I first heard it, on the 1981 Tug of War album, I thought it was a bit cloying, but after seeing his 2009 concert in New York City on ABC-TV, which I subsequently got on DVD, I found it amazingly affecting, and I did so again.

New – a new song we knew, because it showed up in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.

Queenie Eye – L and I liked this new song, but it may have gotten the most tepid applause of all his songs.

Lady Madonna – love that psychedelic piano. There were pictures of women and girls throughout on screen, from Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald to Anne Frank and the Mona Lisa.

All Together Now – this is a silly song, but the cartoon graphics onscreen were quite appropriate

Lovely Rita – at this point, L is hungry. Actually, she has been for the last several minutes. We squeeze past the other patrons and go down to the concession, where she opted for fried dough, with powder. I decide going back to our seats with this treat, while allowable, is not optimal. So we watch the next several songs from the large screen.

Everybody Out There – you know, he looks very good for 72. The left eye is slightly droopy, perhaps, at least on the big screen.

Eleanor Rigby – another of L’s favorites.

Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite – missed the laser light show, apparently. Love that he does a John song.

Something – Paul tells the story about being at George’s place and George playing the ukulele, so Paul starts the song playing a uke.

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da – L thinks it’s “weird” that I’m writing down all the songs we heard. That’s OK, I think it’s weird that she’s watched that Disney teen beach movie more than once.

Band on the Run – we return to our seats. This song has been mildly spoiled for me ever since I heard side two of THE SPASTIC PHONO BAND, “WINGS UNDER JAPAN”, a parody of Paul’s 1980 marijuana bust. I’m sure that the song came out before John died. (Go to, click on MP3s, then AUDIO.)

Back in the U.S.S.R. – Paul talks about going to Russia and finding officials who bought Beatles records, learning to speak English in the process.

Let It Be – I notice throughout the audience little white lights swaying to and fro.

Live and Let Die – I tell L that this might be a little scary. The song starts off a bit meh, and suffers from the terrible line, “But in this ever-changing world in which we live in.” But then the pyrotechnics come! My stars! I’ve seen it on TV several times before, but there is nothing like this live. L held my arm tightly; after she got over the initial fear, she really liked it.

Hey Jude – the usual ending, with him asking the guys then the “girls” to sing by themselves the “na na” parts.

He returns for the ENCORE, carrying a large American flag on a pole, while others had a New York State flag, and a UK Union Jack.

Day Tripper – another of L’s favorites, and mine.

Hi, Hi, Hi – Paul reminds us he means a natural high.

Get Back – another suitable ending.


Yesterday – I do believe this is required.

Then Paul acknowledged the signs in the audience (again), which led to a wedding proposal on stage with Jon singing When I’m 64 to Claudia.

Helter Skelter – Paul plays this a LOT in concert. I think he wants to be seen as a real rocker, not the guy with just the sweet songs.

Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End – another failing on my part; L does not recognize the closing suite from Abbey Road!

As I suggested, a great, magical night. Happy am I.

And interesting how much of this show is different from the setlist of that aforementioned 2009 show. That suggests that he’s not just mailing it in, which was pretty evident by his energy and demeanor.

Here’s the Paul McCartney YouTube channel.
“Early Days” is one of the highlights of Sir Paul McCartney’s most recent album, 2013’s New, but its music video might never have happened if it was left up to McCartney.


Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

5 thoughts on “Seeing Paul McCartney live in concert for the very first time”

  1. I love the Beatles too and they all were great singers. But now I think McCartney’s voice is not anymore what it was before, I always fear he breaks a note ! He is just a year older then I am and we became both a vintage !

  2. I saw the second Austin show, added because sales were so strong, because I had never seen a Beatle perform live either. Completely enjoyed the long (35 songs?) excellent show and appreciated McCartney’s enthusiasm, storytelling, showmanship and the sense that he values his fans. My favorite aspect of your story is Lydia – you are a very special dad.

  3. So cool that you and Lydia got to see my Paul in concert. He is coming to SD soon too, gonna plan on checking him out…Love to you guys.

  4. I remember seeing him in concert a number of years ago and thought he still sounded pretty good. At what point should a music icon retire from touring? I also saw an aging Ted Neely as Jesus Christ Superstar and thought his voice wasn’t anything like it was in his prime.

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