Sir Paul McCartney
This isn’t our usual content. I guess that’s because it’s not everyday that you get to see Sir Paul McCartney in concert. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid to see one, if not all of the remaining Beatles, live in concert. Thanks to Hotel 1000, that dream has become a reality.
My Dad would play Beatles records in his garage while he worked on cars. I would steal his Abbey Road, Revolver and Magical Mystery Tour cd’s to listen to while doing my homework or playing games like minesweeper on our computer. The first time I took Jade out to eat I was wearing my lucky Beatles t-shirt. Their music has gotten me through some really tough times in my life and has been there with me during the best times too. I have listened to Paul’s RAM album so many times in the past 2 years I can sing all the words to each song straight through without any music playing. Suffice to say… seeing Paul was high on my bucket list.
On our way to the concert in Seattle, we did not fathom the amount of people that might be going the same as we were into the city. The traffic was ridiculous. Luckily, we left early enough, even though we sat in traffic for hours, we got there with an hour or so to spare. We showed up to Hotel 1000, checked in, and they handed us an envelope that, in my memory, was glowing with a choir of angel accompaniment. As I pulled them out, I read the seat placement and number… row 25, section E on the field. I had never been to SafeCo field before, but I knew that it seats 50,000 people and we were going to be within 50 yards of the stage. The hotel is only 10 blocks down from the stadium, so we were able to walk down with plenty of time to fight the crowds down to our seats.
The view was spectacular and on either side of the stage were massive digital screens that were scrolling pop art with bits and pieces from Paul’s career as a musician and life as a rock and roll icon. Just as it was about to turn to dusk… he and his band arose from the depths and took the stage. Sir Paul was wearing a old fashioned, navy frock coat and what looked like some of the classic boots he would wear when he was in the Beatles. Paul and his band took their respective places and wasted no time getting to the rocking and began with the early Beatles classic, Eight Days a Week. They continued to jam out the solid hits one after another, playing all flawlessly with polished precision. The sound was astonishing. It sounded like I was listening to a studio recording it was so perfect!
After the set of full band songs, the pace changed as the rest of the band took a break and Paul donned an acoustic guitar and began with his B-side, Another Day. He reminisced about his past and told the audience stories he could recollect. My favorite of his stories was his remembrance of Jimi Hendrix, “a kind and wonderful man” he said, while he was on stage at a show in the late 60’s. He said Jimi used his whammy bar a bit too much, and the thing about whammy bars is that they throw your guitar “wildly out of tune” when you use them. After Jimi riffed a particular set using his whammy bar, he was attempting to retune between songs. Paul said he began shouting into the crowd for Eric (Clapton) to come on stage and tune his guitar up for him. I love to hear stories about how these huge icons of yesteryear were just real people with great senses of humor who knew how to joke about a situation. Even at 72 years old, Paul could spin a yarn and make the audience feel at ease in the middle of all of the awe. You could see the knowing smiles on all of the audience members facse just like if they were hanging out with an old friend, swapping stories over a drink.
I think one of my favorite parts of the concert before the encores was when he played a few of my favorite Beatles songs, All Together Now, Lovely Rita, and Being for the Benefit for Mr. Kite (a John Lennon song,) which he said had never been played before live. They carried them out just as if I had put on a pair of headphones and was listening to the Beatles recordings. But the jaw dropping moment of the night was the finale when he played the title song he wrote for the 1973 James Bond movie, Live and Let Die. The song is intense on its own with a full orchestra sound, but during the chorus, the stage flashed with balls of fire that arose from cannons embedded on the edge, and the top of the stadium erupted with fireworks! It was as if James Bond was behind stage fighting the Russians and was setting off explosions to thwart their evil plans! I mean, I could feel the heat from the flames on my face! The next and final song was Hey Jude, which was a perfect way to wind down the epic evening. It was a ballad that trailed off into the night and I would have been 100% satisfied if the show would have ended right then… but it didn’t…
Fore the encore, Sir Paul, the master of awesomeness, brought out a few special guests: two thirds of Nirvana! Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and their former touring backup guitarist, Pat Smear. WithPaul fronting their line-up, they were a new super-group critics have now dubbed “Sirvana!” I am a huge Nirvana and Foo Fighters fan and never had the opportunity to see them in the past, but seeing Paul and the boys rock out was even better. Paul donned his cigar box guitar and totally ripped it. The final 6 songs with the whole band plus Sirvana on stage was excellent. Visibly and audibly amazing while they only kept the climax going higher and higher. It blew me away and is hands down the best concert I have seen… ever.
After exiting the stadium, we walked back to our hotel room hand in hand reminiscing about all we had just seen. Was this real life? We entered our room and found chocolates on the pillows and a box of assorted chocolates and champagne waiting for us on the desk. Hotel 1000 really knows how to spoil their guests. So we decided to sip champagne and unwind with a hot bath. The perfect ending to a perfect evening.