In the movie, The Sandlot, Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez has a dream with the Babe who simply tells him, "Heroes get remembered, but legends never die." Less than 24 hours after seeing the former Beatle live for the fourth time, I thought this quote was appropriate for a concert just held in a ballpark. And, not just any ballpark, but Fenway Park.
It's hard for me to give an unbiased opinion on Paul McCartney. I love The Beatles. Before last night, I've seen Paul three times before and I know what to expect. I know he's going to blow you away. Still, it continues to amaze me. The guy is 67, right? Or at least the "first" Paul was before he was killed in a car crash in 1966. Maybe, a "replacement" Paul did take over and is much younger. There's no way this man is 67 and still one of the best, if not the best live performer alive today.
All kidding aside, Paul once again gave me my money's worth. He plays 33 songs for two and a half hours. He takes you on this magical ride and to a place that is unseen. He makes you forget about your worries. He makes you feel good about yourself. You dance and you cry. It's a mixed bag of emotions. You get a taste of The Beatles, Wings, and even recent material. You even get his witty chatter in between songs.
Save for the Amoeba show (which was an entirely different experience), Paul always plays the hits. With his concert staples from "I Saw Her Standing There" to "Yesterday" to "Hey Jude" to "Live and Let Die" to "Band on the Run", there's no stopping him from blowing down the house. His rendition of "Live and Let Die" at Fenway was Macca at his very best. All I could say when it was over was simply, "Wow!" I was speechless.
His tribute to his late songwriting partner and bandmate, John Lennon, has also recently become a highlight in his shows. All four times I've seen him, he has played it and it is always filled with such emotion. Every word out of his mouth during that song he means. You can just see it on his face. John will always be my favorite Beatle and I always choke up a little. Last night was no different.
Starting with "Mrs. Vanderbilt", I thought the show really started to pick up. Once he played "Band on the Run" last night, he literally went to another level that very few performers can go to. It was that special. You really have to be there to fully appreciate it in all its glory.
His band, which was been with him now for most of this decade, were also firing on all cylinders. They just have it down so well and really hold their own even though they're sharing the stage with a Beatle. Rusty Anderson, Brian Ray, Paul "Wix" Wickens, and Abe Laboriel Jr. need to be given props for their amazing work.
Where does this Fenway Park rank for me? I still have to say it's the second best concert I've ever seen. I don't think anything will ever top Paul McCartney at Amoeba in 2007. I camped out for that show and less than 1000 people supposedly were there. Smaller set list and shorter show, but it was so intimate. I hold that night very close to my heart.
Still, last night at Fenway was amazing. I loved that he played "A Day in the Life" with "Give Peace a Chance". It was such a smoothless transition. The "Foxy Lady" tribute to Jimi Hendrix was a reminder that Paul can really jam. "Hey Jude" is always the most fun sing-along you'll ever participate in. I could probably say something about every song on the playlist if I really wanted to, but for the sake of this post, I'm going to stop.
I know this annoys some people, but I simply love when he just raises his bass in the air to massive applause. He knows he's the best and I can't disagree. To go back to that quote from The Sandlot, Paul is a legend. A living legend, so I advise everyone to enjoy it while it lasts. They'll never be another Paul McCartney.
Set List for Paul McCartney at Fenway Park, August 5, 2009
1. Drive My Car
3. Only Mama Knows
4. Flaming Pie
5. Got To Get You Into My Life
6. Let Me Roll It / Foxy Lady
8. The Long and Winding Road
9. My Love
11. Here Today
12. Dance Tonight
13. Calico Skies
14. Mrs Vanderbilt
15. Eleanor Rigby
16. Sing the Changes
17. Band on the Run
18. Back In The USSR
19. I'm Down
21. I've Got a Feeling (extended jam)
22. Paperback Writer
23. A Day in the Life / Give Peace A Chance
24. Let It Be
25. Live and Let Die
26. Hey Jude
27. Day Tripper
28. Lady Madonna
29. I Saw Her Standing There
31. Helter Skelter
32. Get Back
33. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) / The End
*All photos taken by Mike Cersosimo.