Next to Bob Dylan, who is the most influential musical icon still alive? Hands down, it’s Paul McCartney. The Rolling Stones may be the most iconic band still on the road, but McCartney represents half of the living members of the greatest band ever to play, and more importantly, write music. Despite never being a live band, The Beatles accomplished more in six years than thousands of bands have or ever will. Even though he’s gained his worldwide acclaim as a Beatle, McCartney owns a solo career stacked with platinum records and world tours. When I heard on 102.9 FM that new Mc-Cartney tickets had leaked out for the second show, 250 dollars seemed like a worthwhile investment. Considering I invested in their music for the first time in sixth grade – a very unpopular time to endorse the favorite musical group of all your friend’s parents – I knew this could be the last time to feel the presence of such an untouchable legend.
I never second-guessed myself on the value of this golden ticket until I was sitting on the floor of the Wachovia Center under the neon banner of advertisements for Chick-fil-A, Power 99 FM, and Verizon Wireless. “Dylan, the master himself, only charges 50 bucks for two hours and 18 songs,” I thought. “Am I another fish caught in the net of an overpriced, over-done production?” I know for a fact these same fears keep thousands each year from investing in, Barnum and Bailey, “The Greatest Show On Earth!” “I saw [The Beatles] in 1966 at JFK stadium, it was nine songs, 45 minutes, and cost like five bucks,” said PJ the DJ of WNWR 1540 AM. Friday, Sept. 23, 2005, was thirty career spanning songs, a seven song double encore, and two and a half hours of one-onone entertainment. “Imagine it’s our living room and we’re having fun,” said McCartney of the mood he set the entire evening.
The total presentation of the concert was less of a concert, than a cultural event. Fans pulled everything from McCartney they have been trying to possess since The Beatles first landed in New York City. McCartney shared a unique intimacy with the crowd and a very personal exposition of the very humorous, goofy bloke he actually is. Exploding into the night with “Magical Mystery Tour,” McCartney failed to disappoint a single Beatles fan with other classics like “Drive My Car,” “Got To Get You Into My Life,” “Blackbird,” “Penny Lane” and “Eleanor Rigby.” He reached deep into his early Beatles collection; many which he played for the first time in years. Also performed were “Follow The Sun,” “Till There Was You” and the first recording John, Paul and George made together, “If You’ll Be True To Me.” McCartney floated between bass, acoustic and electric guitar and a techno-colored piano. He flipped back and forth between his solo career, including a few tracks from his newest album, Chaos and Confusion in the Back Yard, and Wings.
I have never been so entertained and will be forever disappointed of the lack of showmanship at every other concert to come. The mentality McCartney established over 30 years ago still remains evidently true in his heart and soul that he continually delivers every night. “And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make.” (“The End,” Abbey Road).