The excitement in the air was palpable at AT&T Park last night. Sir Paul McCartney had returned to San Francisco. It was not only the first stop of his Up and Coming tour, but also his first time returning to the city since the Beatles’ 1966 concert held at Candlestick Park.
Though the venue was blanketed with lazy San Francisco fog, it did not stop fans from flooding the arena. The stadium was packed. Seats from the top of the upper level to the rows on the field were filled with enthusiastic concert goers. For some, it was a chance to relive their teenage years, and for others, like myself, it was a chance to witness the performance of one of the world’s most infamous musical artists.
Around 8:30pm the band began to play. The first half of the set was mostly from his solo EPs and Wings tracks, which excluded “Maybe I’m Amazed”, which was disappointing. In the second half he started to delve into Beatles songs and the crowd loved every minute of it. Everyone in the arena was on their feet during the entire performance. From an acoustic version of “Blackbird” to the appropriate “San Francisco Bay Blues” each song had the mob crooning along.
All I can say is Paul McCartney has still got it. He is energetic and charismatic on stage even at the age of 68. His performance was exuberant. No matter where in the stadium you sat, you felt like he was singing right to you.
His anecdotes in between songs were not only special, but comical. He stopped before playing “Back in the U.S.S.R.” to tell a story of meeting the Russian defense ministers. He went on to say one had informed him that he had learned English by listening to Beatles tracks and greeted McCartney by saying “Hello, goodbye”. During a guitar change, he let the crowd know that he was playing on the original guitar used to record the track.
He even treated the crowd to a song that he had not sung for quite some time and one that the Beatles had never played in San Francisco, “Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da”. During their electric performance of “Live and Let Die” a massive pyrotechnics display lit up AT&T Park. They ended the show with the unforgettable “Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. It was a truly memorable evening for all of those in attendance and I feel so honored and privileged to be able to experience such a phenomenal show.