Paul McCartney first graced these shores on February 7, 1964. Not being one to miss a big thing, I arrived a day later. 46 years forward, our paths finally crossed at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Monday night. You don’t a get a chance to see history walking around too often, especially when he has been so omnipresent in your collection as Paul has been in mine. John was always the popular answer to look cool when asked your favorite Beatle, but being a sucker for a good hook, more of my favorites were Paul’s works. We all go through that transition to where your music starts to grow up a bit as early teenagers and in late 76, I got Wings Over America and the Beatles Rock and Roll Music for gifts and I was off.
Flash forward to Monday night, in the company of my oft partner in crime, my lovely son, who is getting into some eclectic musicians and whose eyes went appropriately Tex Avery-like when this seemed like a possibility. Now, the Air Canada Centre is what the HSBC Arena would like to be when it grows up. Our tickets collectively were just shy of $130 for the pair. Pretty reasonable and we were in the building.
Okay, that’s in front of the building. Here, ya go:
About 18,000 people, as they didn’t sell the back of the arena and we might have been Paul’s guests at a cook out. He is that good. A crack band, all the songs you would expect (“Long and Winding Road,” “Let it Be”, “Hey Jude”), new stuff (“Dance Tonight”, “Sing the Changes”), stuff that flat out thrilled me (“Venus and Mars”, “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five”, “Let’em in”, “Two of Us”) as well as stuff that if you weren’t moved you need a check up (“Here, Today” and “Mull of Kintyre”), it was a great night. Even familiar stuff like “Live and Let Die” were a wonder with great players and some pretty impressive pyrotechnics. The capper of “Sgt. Pepper” with a little of Golden Slumbers medley from Abbey Road was perfect. It’s one thing to have that great selection of songs to work through, but the band was playing them, no going through the motions. The lengthy video montage to start the show was getting on my nerves a little as it went on forever.
But by not phoning it in, I was a happy guy as was my youthful cohort, savoring his first concert.
Well, the Toronto Star got better seats, but we were in the building. Insanely great time. It falls into one of those things I really couldn’t afford it, trying to live with in means and stuff, but sometimes you just have to say screw it and go for it.
The silly grins that my son and I kept exchanging were worth it.