Classic Rock Radio (UK) Facebook Exclusive
Originally Published: November 16, 2012
Uncle G’s FUN Concert Memories
Spotlight: Paul McCartney (14 Nov 2012 @ Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, U.S.A.)
Words and Pictures By Gary “Uncle G” Brown
I just attended what was probably one of the best live music events, I have ever attended.
My first real rock concert was the group Yes, when I was fourteen years old. Over the years I’ve seen a bunch of awesome performances, by some of the best names in the professional music business. In 1977, I saw Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden, in New York City. Hitchhiked there from the Jersey Shore, with a young lady 14 years old, and smelling like strawberries. I saw the Who twice, and Rush once. The list goes on and on.
Two days ago I saw, Sir Paul McCartney (and his awesome band) at Minute Maid Park, here in Houston (Texas, U.S.A.). What I witnessed could not be any more spit and polish. The musicians around McCartney were simply outstanding. They helped Sir Paul re-create some of the biggest, and most important songs, in all rock n’ roll history. The whole show was spectacular.
Note: Several people have asked. No one warmed up / opened for Mr. McCartney. Could have called it, “an evening with a true legend….”
I‘m not reviewing the concert. More reporting. Really, all I need to do is just show you the setlist, and you would know what a cool concert this was. Before the show, I read comments about the songs picked for this leg of the tour being special — wow — look at the Wings songs, and count the Beatle tunes. There were also changes in the setlist, from the previous show in Saint Louis, Missouri this past November, 11th. Was all good. Loved the results!
Didn’t really dawn on me immediately. Several people throughout the evening mentioned Paul McCartney now being 70 years old. This was almost a three-hour concert. Besides allowing for applause between songs, no breaks. Paul and company were like steam engines getting stronger by the minute. Started off with; Magical Mystery Tour. After a couple or a few songs, he takes off his jacket and rolls up his sleeves. McCartney tells the audience that it’s the only wardrobe change there will be that night. He’s telling the audience, it’s time he went to work. And that, he and his band did. The gesture was old fashioned. Very old school. His actions were true. What came next, astonished everyone in attendance.
Paul McCartney, point blank, just went out and did it. Again, a superb backing band (drummer got a lot of attention and applause). And as far as attending more concerts go, I don’t think I really need to bother anymore. I just attended the best rock n’ roll shows; EVER !! And FROZE my ass off in the process. Wednesday night here in Houston, it was 39 degrees, with a somewhat steady light breeze. Minute Maid Park has a roof that opens and closes. Sir Paul INSISTED the roof on the stadium be wide open. Reason being was for fireworks during the song, Live And Let Die. This WAS worth freezing my butt off for, by the way.
Check it out. I was SEVERAL stories high in the air. I paid under a hundred bucks. An old saying; one gets what one pays for. A hundred bucks back in the 1970’s got me two 15th row center floor seats for The Who, in MSG. Now a C-Note hardly buys crap. But that’s alright. I was cool with it. The trick was being there. I never attended a live concert by any other Beatle before. I was too young to have had the opportunity to see them perform as, The Beatles. This evening, I had a rail seat, so nothing in front of me was obstructing my view, and I wasn’t sitting elbow to elbow with a bunch of strangers. I’m sure very nice people. After all, this is Houston (city pride…don’t hate me). So here I was in separate seating away from the group, so to say. McCartney appeared in size equal to that of an ant being viewed with eyes at least 6 feet from the ground.
The sound, and especially for a large stadium like that (holds 70,000) was damn good. I was really happy about that. It wasn’t ear shattering loud.
To help those far away from the stage, there are two BIG screens on each side of the stage, displaying continuous marvelous projections, which I imagine are all state of the art equipment/electronics, producing super clear images. Made being so far away from the stage, a little more bearable.
Photo: Before Show
The smell of the fireworks during and after the song Live And Let Die, which by the way is my personal all time favorite solo McCartney song, was just what I imagined it would be from watching it at home on the television (from previously recorded live concerts). This is why the roof was open; pyrotechnics. Absolutely spectacular! And here’s a good thing about the crappy seat I had. Best location in the house to witness something this grandeur. I would say almost orgasmic. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a freak. After witnessing the stage erupt, and the WHOLE place goes absolute apeshit, the rotten egg kind of smell had a sense of satisfaction to it. Especially, when my nose first identified the odor. I smelled; victory. My dream was to be in the crowd at a Paul McCartney concert, and him doing the Wings tune with the fireworks going off, and not only visualize it, but smell it as well. It’s a rock n’ roll personal accomplishment for me, having to have been able to do that. Smell is signifying that I was, indeed, there. I used other senses as well. As an example, the stadium hot dog tasted OK. What made it better was that I downed it with a frosty draft of, Shiner Bock. Made the dog that was just OK, and that I just paid $8.50 for, go down all the easier.
Photo: After ‘Live and Let Die’
Magical Mystery Tour
All My Loving
Got to Get You into My Life
Sing the Changes
The Night Before
Let Me Roll It (ending with Foxy Lady)
The Long and Winding Road
Maybe I’m Amazed
I’m Looking Through You
And I Love Her
Something (starts off as only Paul, and ends with the band)
Band on the Run
Ob la di ob la da
Back In The USSR
I’ve Got a Feeling
A Day in the Life / Give Peace A Chance
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
Lady Madonna (also played at warm up)
Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End
Need I say more? One fact; The last NINE songs performed, all classic Beatles.
The Paul McCartney Band:
Rusty Anderson (Backing Vocals, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar)
Abe Laboriel, Jr. (Backing Vocals, Drums, Percussion, Bass)
Brian Ray (Backing Vocals, Bass, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar)
Paul Wickens (Backing Vocals, Keyboards, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion)
Paul McCartney: (Lead Vocals, Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Electric Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin)
Thank you, Sir Paul and band and road crew and all those behind the scenes for making this very special event happen. For visiting my home; Houston. All in attendance will remember that night, for the rest of their lives.