Robin Young: McCartney Performs Like It Was Yesterday

So I went to see Paul on Wednesday night.

It’s probably more accurate to say I was dragged, eyes rolling, to see Paul McCartney at Fenway Park, which is weird, because they were my tickets. As I told my guests, it’s just that my earliest memories are of the Beatles at Shea Stadium! I was at the Ed Sullivan show! I’m not into the whole “Wings” thing. What can I possibly learn from Paul McCartney today?


Video courtesy of New England Cable News

What was I thinking?

The music was largely from the Beatles but also “Wings” and his new project “The Fireman.” There were homages to John and George and Linda, a peek at the new Beatles video game and a night-long conversation.

At one point Paul marveled at how “Sergeant Pepper” came out on a Friday, and by Sunday, Jimi Hendrix had learned it for his concert — during which Hendrix called out, “Is Eric Clapton here? Maybe he can tune my guitar.” Ouch.

There were little kids everywhere, riding on their parents backs, absorbing almost 50 years of rock ‘n roll.

As the Boston Globe writes, Paul was “vital and relevant.” The Herald adds: “bloody brilliant.”

My favorite moment: “Black Bird.”

He began by explaining he’d written it in the 60s, when there was “some trouble” in the American south. He had envisioned a little black American girl. The little black American girl, now grown up and standing next to me, was shocked.

Beverly and I looked at each other and said, simultaneously, “Who knew?”

Well, maybe we did know at one time and forgot.

But at that moment, he seemed to be singing right to her. And I was thinking, I can still learn a thing or two from Paul McCartney.

WBUR’s Robin Young is the host of Here & Now.

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  • Amy

    It’s unfortunate you had to be dragged to the concert, and more unfortunate you chose to admit this. So you thought you would hate it, and ended up enjoying yourself. Is this supposed to be witty. Or some revelation that you alone discovered. You discovered what the people who filled Fenway and the other venues already knew. It seems you do have a lot to learn.

  • Beverly

    Amy should lighten up.

  • Chris

    We can all (re-)learn what we need through the spirit of the message woven into the great tapestry we all create together by a common love-coloured thread running round through all our lives known as the Beatles’ muse… (You, too Amy! Peace!)

  • David Magarik

    Robin, I think that I remember you going to the Ed Sullivan theater back in the day for the Beatles concert. I also remember when they arrived at JFK for the first time and all the girls in my eighth grade English class were screaming as we listened to the radio in class. I didn’t get it at the time, but have developed a greater appreciation of their talents since.

  • Joe B.

    A great thing about the concert, Amy wasn’t there!!

  • Steve

    To all
    I have never had the privilege of seeing a Beatle live. Remarkable to hear the back stories especially from Paul whom everyone considers the least thoughtful of the lyricists. “She’s Leaving Home” was no accident.

  • http://twitter.com/cmhill Chris


    I was at the Wednesday McCartney concert with my wife & 7 year old daughter (who was on my back :). It was her 1st concert and she knew most of the songs. We a fab night it was singing along to the classic tunes as a fsmily!

  • Dale Henry

    I, too, was at the Weds. concert. I had a really great time but got a free ticket; I had sworn off paying for Mccartney because after seeing him twice at the garden on the last tour and paying 300. to see the exact same concert-hey I could hear the songs over and over, no problem-but all the little asides and sentiments about John and George and getting a massage and the masseuse humming”yesterday” Something about it all felt prerecorded.Now, I’ve been a Beatle devotee since I saw them in person at the Boston Garden in 1964.I have loved them since, but John is my favorite, and Paul as brilliant as he is, is no John Lennon.That said , I had so much fun at that Fenway concert!!! But part of that was due to Fenway Park which I love love love

  • Dale Henry

    P.s. Amy, you really do need to lighten up!

  • http://www.wbur.org/2009/08/06/mccartney-essay Deb

    You nailed it, Robin, and-PTL-the concert was “medley free!!”

  • http://WBUR-FM Bobby G

    It is funny, but my experience was almost identical. A friend’s son scored some free tickets to FedEx field and the 4 of us went. I was floored! Paul was so good; his voice showed no age; he used it anyway/every way he chose. I could not believe it! His playlist was damned appropriate and the crowd around me (ALL ages, especially teenagers) were REALLY into it. What a lucky, historic moment. I’ll never forget I got to see McCartney and I admit I would not have gone out of my way to plan to attend!

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