Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sir Paul McCartney Makes History with a Special Friend at Fenway Park!

On Sunday, July 17th, Sir Paul McCartney took
This billboard was not there the prior night for
 Dead and Company; must have been put it up the day of!

his One to One “Magical Mystery Tour” to Fenway Park in Boston. It was my third time seeing Sir Paul live on my third night row at Fenway, having been there two nights straight for Dead and Company. As Sir Paul said himself, he played “old [tunes], new [tunes] and in
between tunes.” Songs ranged from The Quarrymen tune “In Spite of All the Danger” to Beatles hits such as “Blackbird “ and “Love Me Do” to his newest tune FourFiveSeconds.
My friend Lauren and I waiting for the show to begin!
 It was my first time sitting in State Street Pavillion,
which has a nice little counter to put your drinks on.
We were high up but had great views of the band,
as you can see in photos below.

If I had one major regret of the show, the audience was kind of left hanging from 6:30 PM
to 8:00 PM. Normally if show is listed as 6:30 PM and does not list an opener, I would try to get there around 7:00 PM for 7:15-7:30 PM start time. However, Dead and Company almost promptly started each of the previous nights at 6:46PM; therefore I thought Paul would start around then or 7:15 PM the latest. If he is going to start as late, that is OK, but he should have an opener as he usually does.

Firstly, I'll dig into the songs everyone wanted to hear most, the famous Beatles ones. At 8:10 PM, Sir Paul opened the show with a bang: “A Hard Day's Night”. Most people were sitting down, perhaps they were tired from the late start; however, many were singing. The guitarist Rusty Anderson, Brian Ray, bassist/guitarist, and drummer Abe Laboriel JR, drummer all contributed vocals “I've Got a Feeling”, “ We Can Work it Out” and other major Beatles hits. Some of the songs led into some extended jams; Rusty Anderson played a nice upbeat, fast solo on “Lady Madonna”.

One should note that this current band has been touring with Sir Paul so long that they surpassed the length of time that he toured with the Beatles and Wings. Similarly, Jeff Chimenti has toured with members of the Grateful Dead longer than other keyboardist lasted with the band.

Of course Paul did play several The Wings hits. He pulled out his colorful electric guitar for the first time of the night for “Let Me Roll It.”
Paul with his Picasso style guitar during "Let me Roll it! 
 All week long, the words “My heart is like a wheel; let me roll it” have been stuck in my head! Band on the Run got everyone singing along and continued the July 4th spirit with its mention of Sailor Sam. If that wasn't enough however, Live and Let Die featured Paul's typical fireworks after the slow part.

Sometimes I do wish Paul could stick to the Beatles songs, Wing's hits and extravagant solo tunes like “Maybe I'm Amazed”. Paul played one of his most beautiful songs “Here Today”, a tribute to the John that is as bittersweet as Clapton's “Tears in Heaven”. Right after that he two lackluster songs from his new album- “Queenie Eye” and “New”.

If he is going to play those songs, he should put in somewhere else on the set list than after such a serious song. Later in the set, he followed likely one of the best songs of the night “Lady Madonna”, to what I personally think is the second worst song he ever wrote, his most recent one with Rihanna and Kanye West- “FourFiveSeconds”. This song was likely just a money grabber and a way to build his brand among teenagers who have not even heard of the Beatles.

Having seen Paul twice before, it was hard to not share too much information to my friend Lauren and the couple sitting next to us. I didn't want to spoil some of Paul's funny stories and additional entertainment like fireworks and dancing. One thing I was disappointed about was not hearing “Dance Tonight” and seeing Abe Laboriel get up and dance!

After the whole crowd contributed their parts to Hey Jude and a brief 5 minute break, Sir Paul came on solo for the predictable “Yesterday” encore. Then, magic happened............

My friend Lauren could attest that the whole night I was half-jokingly shouting for Bob Weir to come on for “Hey Jude” as that was a song the Dead covered a fair amount. I thought about the possibility of “Dear Prudence” as well but that was a John song.

My reaction when Bobby came on;
 photo credit to Lauren

After hundreds of people, including myself, shouted “me, me, me” when Bobby asked 'Who was here last night?”, they played a bluesy “Hi, Hi,Hi”. Not being a huge Wings fan myself, I actually wasn't familiar with the tune and thought it was just an old Blues standard. I had flashbacks when I saw Bobby play blues solos for the first time on “Corinna, Corinna”, a song that Clapton often plays,with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Peach Festival 2015.

Next Sir Paul screamed like a maniac and they exchanged solos on “Helter Skelter”. Sir Paul also brought up Patriots player Robert Paxton (Gronk) Gronkowski to dance and play air guitar. Honestly I could have done without him up there and I would have preferred Sir Paul to let Bobby sing but I can't complain as I got was begging for, as Bobby did come up. “You can always get want you want, but if you try so hard, you get what you need.”

Despite the Dead famously turning the Beatles on to marijuana, as Bill Kruetzmann describes in his autobiography “Deal”, it was the first time a Beatles ever played live with a member of the Dead! After Bobby walked off the stage, Sir Paul asked “Grateful Beatles- how does that sounds?!”

The band then went into “Birthday”, which was extra special to here live for me. In 2010, I saw Sir Paul as guest for Ringo on his 70th birthday, playing the song live ever for the first time! Paul then did his predictable nevertheless fantastic “Golden Slumbers-Carry That Weight- The End” trio.... What can I say- just like, when any Dead related band does, “Help on the Way- Slipknot- Franklin's Tower”, Sir Paul always wows the crowd with this ending.

Since the two Sir Paul shows I saw in 2009 and 2011 felt like they were almost identical in set list, I had a lots of hesitation about going to this show. Not only did he repeat a lot of songs both of those shows but he repeated a lot of the same stories e.g talking about how Jimi Hendrix played a cover of “Sgt. Peppers” a week after the song was written and writing “Blackbird” about a girl he had a crush on at the bar. This time he just said it was a song about civil rights:) I appreciated a little less talking and more playing than normal this time round.

So all-in all, it was a superb show, yes- we will still need him and feed him when he's 64 (+10 but who's counting!)

Drummer Abe Laboriel!

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