5/22/13…Paul McCartney @ Frank Erwin Center

Paul McCartney

About a month and a half ago the following text exchange went on between me & my dad:

Paul McCartney

Needless to say, I was super excited to have a second chance to see him again.  I had last seen him 11 years ago at Madison Square Garden while living in NYC.  It was seriously one of the greatest shows I have ever attended.  I had a BLAST!  And the idea of being able to spend the evening with my parents, especially my Dad, the man who first introduced me to my beloved Beatles, was super exhilarating!!  I was stoked!  When we got to the Erwin Center we discovered that our seats were actually in the upper balcony.  Awww.  But the good news was that we were close to the left side of the stage.  So our view was high, but decent.  The video screens helped us out quite a bit.  We arrived just before 8pm and there was a DJ up on stage spinning Beatles & Wings tunes.  It was pretty cool.  Then a little after eight a video montage accompanied by McCartney songs began to scroll down the video screens.  This went on for what seemed like forever.  At first it was super cool to see all these great outtake photos, but then the crowd, including me & my parents, began to get very antsy for the show to start.  The video stopped and the house lights went down and Paul & the band finally came out at around quarter to nine.  The crowd went BERZERK!!!  I was no exception.  Then, when I thought I couldn’t get more excited…they started off the show with “Eight Days A Week”.  OMG!!!!  This is one of my all-time favorite Beatles songs & one he didn’t play at the last show I saw.  I was screaming, jumping around, & of course singing along.  It was FANTASTIC.  Surprisingly, this was Paul’s first time ever in Austin.  I couldn’t believe it!!  During the first few songs, I began to notice that Sir Paul’s voice had declined quite a bit in the 11 years that had passed since I had last seen him perform.  But, come on, the man is closing in on 72 years old.  I cannot fault him for that.  But it was an observation I made.  Throughout the show, Paul interacted quite a bit with the audience.  He would do a little dance after every song and if he did a guitar change, he would hold it up high, almost as if he were giving it praise and allowing the audience to praise it too.  It was kinda funny.  He started off with his Hofner bass, but also played both electric and acoustic guitars.  He also jumped between two pianos.  He had a lot of great stories that gave such interesting background on several songs; These were stories I had never heard before.  For example, I had no idea that “Blackbird” was written about the struggle for Civil Rights in the South.  It was like finding new treasures among all the wonderful Beatles mementos I already had.  Priceless stuff.  There was a smaller stage in front of the main stage that Paul hadn’t approached.  But before he did “Blackbird”, he walked onto it and when he began to play (pay attention in the video) the stage began to rise & rise & rise.  It got ridiculously high.  He stood alone, with his acoustic guitar, for all of us to enjoy & admire.  This was such a pretty & quiet moment in the show:

The entire set list was for the most part dedicated to his Beatles catalog.  There were a few Wings songs & only ONE solo effort.

As a Beatles fan, I was more than ok with his choices.  I kept looking over at my parents to see their reactions as each song came on.  It brought back a lot of memories of me playing my Dad’s Beatles records in our living room as a little girl.  It was so cool! The whole night was cool.  After Paul finished his main set, my dad was like, “Let’s Go.”  He’s all about beating traffic.  I was like, “Dad!!  NO WAY!!  He’s gonna encore!”  My dad seemed surprised at the idea of Paul actually coming back out to play some more.  But sure enough, back he came.  We (the audience) did NOT want this show to end.  We were all having way too much fun!!  Paul ended up doing TWO encores.  The man played for over THREE HOURS!! We finally left during the final Abbey Road medley because I knew he would end the night with the song “The End”.  Overall, this show was GREAT!  I would be utterly remiss if I didn’t shout out the four guys that make up Paul’s band.  These guys are insanely talented.  They played these songs with such love, care, & precision that you would think they had written them.  They have been playing with Paul for years now & it shows!  One of the highlights of the night was when Paul pulled out the ukulele and paid homage to George Harrison by playing “Something”.  He started the song off on uke (a favorite instrument of George’s) and then transitioned into an electric version of the song.  From that moment on in the show Paul’s performance lifted to another level.  He was magnificent!  “Something” was so beautiful & touching.  “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” got the audience completely engaged and when the opening notes of “Band Of The Run” came on, I just lost it!!  LOST IT!!!!  That song makes me crazy…in a good way!   I just LOVE it!!  I can keep going, but if you just look at the set list, you can see how off the charts the end of this main set was.  And the pyrotechnics during “Live And Let Die”????  Forget about it!!  FANTASTIC!!  Yes, this was another wonderful show…one I will always remember and cherish.  I finally got to experience a Beatles moment alongside the guy that started me off on my musical journey with the Fab Four…my dad.  And you just can’t beat that!!

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