Friday, August 21, 2009

Sir Paul

Everything I've read and heard indicates that Paul McCartney was terrific Wednesday night in his concert at JerryWorld's Cowboys Stadium.

More than two and a half hours. More than 30 songs, half of them from his Beatles days. That's about as good as it gets.

Is McCartney the greatest living musical icon? I'd say so. And the fact that Michael Jackson is gone doesn't change that opinion at all. McCartney's songwriting and his impact with the most influential rock and roll band of all time is enough for me. At age 67, he's been doing this for 50 years all across the globe.

But look at this picture from Wednesday's concert. Other than the hair, he's looking his age. He's three years older than his "will you still feed me, will you still need me when I'm 64" lyrics from the 1960s.

The fact that he can still tour and still wow audiences three years from age 70 is a great tribute. His voice is still strong, but you wonder how much longer he can do this. His music will last likely forever, but he won't.

I wonder which will provide the most entertainment value at Cowboys Stadium -- McCartney or tonight's riveting Cowboys-Titans preseason game?

Made my first visit to new Cowboys Stadium last night and guessing (just guessing) that the next trip Friday for Cowboys-Titans will produce a slightly lower entertainment value than Sir Paul McCartney did.

More than two and a half hours. More than 30 songs. More than half of them Beatles songs.

If you want to say it got off to kind of a slow start before the acoustic part with "Blackbird,'' I won't argue. As for the sound I have heard lots of complaints. It wasn't bad on the club level left of the stage where I was sitting.

I tend to believe Cowboys beat man Todd Archer, who walked around the place at the George Strait concert and said the sound was different ranging from really good to awful depending upon where he went.

But I've never been to an outdoor (even though the roof was closed, it's still huge) stadium where the sound was great whether it was for Springsteen or Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (am I that old?) or Paul at Texas Stadium almost 20 years ago.

Enough about the sound.

This might have been my last chance to see a Beatle. Yours, too, who knows? Paul is 67 this year and won't be doing this forever.

Got to see George at Tarrant County CC in about '75, I guess. Saw Paul at Texas Stadium right after he had decided it was OK to sing Beatles songs and not force Wings down the audience's throat.

And now he appears to be at peace singing almost anything, even Lennon's "A Day in the Life'' Wednesday night.

Two things I think about when I see Paul.

One is how could someone who was so creative in his early and mid-20s (he was only 24 when he came up with the Sgt. Pepper concept which was mostly his) not produce better stuff after the Beatles' break-up.

The other is that no matter what he did, even when he made a good album like "Band on the Run'' would critics and fans ever accept it is good enough? Pretty sure the answer to that question is no.

The other thing I thought about, talking to friend before show, is what if the Beatles had broken up, put out the music that they did and all managed to stay alive? What if they were now doing a reunion tour and all could still perform at the same level McCartney can?

How much would those tickets go for on the scalper's market? It's unfathomable.

Paul sounds great whether he's doing their more famous material or even singing "I've Got a Feeling'' from the "Let it Be'' album or "I'm Down,'' which was the flip side of "Help'' on the old 45 singles.

But there's not much he can do to recreate those Beatles harmonies that have never been duplicated. All you have to do is listen to those CDs that came out in the '90s with all the demos and rehearsals and outtakes from their entire career.

Listen to them all laughing their way through a version of "And Your Bird Can Sing,'' -- Paul, laughing the most -- and think how fabulous those harmonies sound on something they knew would never make the album because they had already screwed up.

I don't know how much fun Paul was truly having in those days but he certainly looked happy at Cowboys Stadium last night. Nothing can bring back the Beatles but the fact that one of them can still perform and sound like that almost 40 years after the break-up is something we should cherish.

It's a great closing act to the greatest band of all time which always knew how to pull down the curtain.

And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.


Brandi said...

I was there with floor seats and was blown away. I was dancing and having a great time until he sang "Something" by George and I lost it. I couldn't hold back the tears especially with all the pictures in the background. My nephew's name is Jude and got emotional when he sang that too. I loved the "Live and Let Die" performance with all the sparks, flames, and fireworks. No one can hold a candle to Sir Paul McCartney and I'm going to be telling my children and grandchildren for years to come about the day I got to see a legend and one of the best musicians/performers live.

Jamey said...

All of The Beatles CD's have been remastered and will hit the stores on 9/9/09

This will be the clearest way to hear all of those great 2 & 3 part harmonies.

The Beatles Rock Band video game is also being released the same day, allowing a new generation, an entry to this incredible music. Beatlemania 2 may be open us.

I really believe, in 100 years, when all The Beatles and all the baby boomers are gone, this music will be around, and draw the same sense of wonder it captures every generation.