Posted by Kelly Fincham at 7/19/2009 1:05 PM EDT
The 40,000 of us on hand on Saturday night in the New York Mets York's Citifield had the time of our lives.
Paul McCartney may be a senior citizen and hitting 68 on his next birthday but he took us all back to a time and an era when the world was young and Beatles music defined the most creative generation of the 20th century.
The sheer youthfulness of the man, scrambling around stage, rousing the crowd, performing his monster hits and staying on stage for almost two and a half hours was incredible to watch.
Like Tom Watson at the British Open, Paul McCartney has firmly turned back the clock for the baby boom generation.
The tribute to McCartney by Irish opening band The Script rang true. They said McCartney was the greatest professional they had ever worked with and had inspired them to aim higher than they had ever imagined.
McCartney's music has been doing that for generations now.
McCartney referred often to the legendary Beatles concert at the old Shea Stadium in 1968. He was just as good on this occasion.
There are two McCartneys of course, the creative genius with John Lennon behind the Beatles and then everything after.
The first phase is so vastly superior it is like chalk and cheese. And it was never more evident than at this concert
He was at his best with the soulful ballads, when he abandoned the guitar for the keyboards. The highlight was undoubtedly the rendition of "Hey Jude," with 40,000 fans singing along in unison.
McCartney milked if for all it was worth, urging first the men and then the women to sing the chorus separately. The wave of love and goodwill that washed across the stadium was incredible to feel.
"The Long and Winding Road" was another incredible moment, as was "Let it Be" and "My Love" his gorgeous tribute to his late wife Linda. Paul McCartney as balladeer has no equal anywhere on earth. As he noted the sheer number of cover versions of his ballads now run in the tens of thousands.
The other great highlights were the tributes to John Lennon and George Harrison.
The Lennon/McCartney relationship is one that will occupy Beatles biographers for the next century.
McCartney clearly feels many of the problems between the two were inevitable given their young age and the incredible pressure that mega stardom placed on them.
His loving ballad dedicated to John imagines a conversation between them in which they understand finally that they shared a rare and incredible spark of genius together and everything else was just background noise. From his celestial perch you can just imagine Lennon agreeing
He also played "Something" on George Harrison's ukelele, an announcement that brought the crowd to its feet. The Harrison/ McCartney relationship was nowhere as fraught with Harrison, but it was nice to see him pay due homage to the "Quiet Beatle", who wrote "Something" and was rarely credited with it. As he pointed out singers such as Sinatra have mistakenly attributed the song to him and Lennon.
As for the rest of the music, apart form some Wings songs, it leaves me pretty cold compared to the old stuff. That was certainly reflected in the crowd reaction. They stood and cheered every Beatle number but were indifferent to much of the other stuff though the version of "Live and Let Die," with a spectacular fireworks effect certainly lit up the night.
Paul McCartney owed the audience nothing by the end of the night however. It was an incredible mix of nostalgia, genius and love that he conjured up on the night. Paul McCartney was God for a few hours at Citifield.
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