posted on November 12, 2012 13:13
"Is it St. Louie or St. Louis???"
Those were the words uttered by rock legend Sir Paul McCartney as he brought his 'On The Run' World Tour to St. Louis as a kick off for an abbreviated 5-date North American leg. Though it was a cold and rainy night outside the arena, flocks of rabid fans came from far and wide and packed into Scottrade Center to worship at the altar of Paul. The long sold out engagement was the first show for McCartney in St. Louis in nearly a decade and the 70 year old rock icon most certainly did not disappoint.
With a legendary career spanning over 50 years, McCartney and his band brought out all the expected classics for a night of musical history that will not soon be forgotten. From classic Beatles hits everyone remembers to hits from Wings and everything in-between, the energy and good vibes didn't waiver for a moment during the nearly 3 hour and 38 song(!) set.
As an interesting club mix of Beatles favorites filled the arena, classic imagery from the ever cool band scrolled the large LCD screens flanking either side of the stage from old school to new. The energy in the room was palpable and as the lights went black at precisely 8:30, the house went berserk as Sir Paul took the stage to raucous cheers fit for rock royalty which only seems fitting for one of the biggest musical acts on the planet. Looking cool and dignified in all black, the former Beatle looked every bit the part and was ready to deliver the thunder. And deliver he did.
The band stepped off the set with an explosion of lights and sound as the Beatles anathematic classic 'Magical Mystery Tour' echoed off the walls. It was right in this moment that I felt something different than most shows...you could just feel the history. Watching the pure joy on the faces of those around me and of Paul himself, it reminded me of the power of music and just how important this artist really is in history. Having sold over 100 million albums, this man and his various incarnations has literally provided the soundtrack for people's lives and for a few hours he gave them permission to let go and enjoy the songs that have shaped their lives. It was a truly special experience.
Alternating from Beatles classics to cuts from Wings, the arena was a cauldron of energy, rock classics and crowd sing-alongs that felt oh so right. Sir Paul's voice sounded strong on Beatles hits like 'Drive My Car' and 'The Night Before' were surely early set highlights as was the Wings song 'Let Me Roll It' (with a snippet of the Hendrix classic 'Foxy Lady') that surely evoked memories of reaching for Zigzag papers for some in the audience. One thing that struck me while watching Sir Paul was just how much fun he looked to have while performing. He seemed generally joyful and playful throughout the set telling stories and interacting with his adoring crowd which was very refreshing. It was great to see a rock icon still having so much fun doing what he loves to do.
As Sir Paul took his seat behind the piano, the music was enhanced that much more. Huge songs like ' The Long and Winding Road' and ' Maybe I'm Amazed' found the venue singing each and every note and left me thinking...how can a 70 year old guy be this cool? Sir Paul effortlessly churned out hit after hit and the crowd gave the love right back after each and every cut. A funny moment during the end of 'And I Love Her' saw one of Paul's (stellar) guitarists have a bit of a flub. In true Paul fashion he quipped "Rusty has never goofed that song, so we're just going to do the solo again". With that, the band busted back into the song and the correct solos was shredded and the crowd loved every minute.
As the set reached the middle, Paul said "This is the bit in show where they leave me all alone with you. I think I can handle it." And handle it he did with a simple solo version of 'Blackbird' with a full moon projected behind on the LCD screens in one of the best moments of the night which was greeted by the crowd with an extended standing ovation and crazy cheering. So much so that you could feel the love dripping from the rafters. After the song, Paul told a cool story about people coming up to him through the years and saying that 'Blackbird' is the song they learned to play the guitar on.
A soft and stunning version of 'Here Today' filled the air of the venue. You could almost hear a pin drop as the crowd was so locked in on every word and moment truly savoring each and every note on this night. Afterward, Sir Paul said " That's a song I wrote for John [Lennon], let's hear it for John. " and the place went bonkers.
The band rejoined Sir Paul at this point and the energy was ramped up a notch. A fun version of 'Dance Tonight' saw the venue up and moving and even the drummer doing various dance steps (including the Macarena) which elicited a huge cheer and a fun vibe. The symphonic and English feel of ' Eleanor Rigby' was next as the classic Beatles tune howled through the venue.
A great moment was up next as Paul broke out the ukulele for a simply perfect version of "Something" in honor of the late George Harrison as imagery of McCartney and Harrison showed on the screens behind. The history and emotion here was palpable. So much so that it brought a few of the older women around me to tears....although, it may have been that 4th glass of red wine. The lights shined down like beams of rain as the huge sound of the Wings hit 'Band on the Run' resonated throughout the night in an enjoyable moment.
It was at this point, that the classics started coming at a fast and furious rate. A run of ' Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' and ' Back In The USSR' brought the dance party into full effect. The slick sound of ' I've Got a Feeling' had an anthem feel as the crowd was a swaying mass of hands and arms that just could not seem to get enough as Sir Paul said "I've got a feeling here tonight in St. Louis" which garnered huge cheers as pretty much everything did.
A great run of songs were next as ' A Day in the Life' morphed into an entire venue sing-along of ' Give Peace A Chance' with a large Peace sign shone brightly on the screens behind. It was surely one of the moments of the night...which were coming often at this point. Sir Paul then took his seat back at the piano for an absolutely incredible version of 'Let It Be' which seemed to feel right in every aspect as you could feel the music creeping into your soul.
A gigantic version of 'Live and Let Die' was next up next with enough pyro and explosions to please KISS in what was surely the song of the night as Sir Paul was hammering away on the piano in what can only be described as rock domination. A multi-colored piano was wheeled out next for the final song of the main set as the Beatles classic 'Hey Jude' resonated through the venue. Sir Paul led the entire venue in a classic sing along as the crowd was arm in arm and loving each and every second of it. With the venue seriously about to lose it, the band came to the front of the stage and bowed to their adoring congregation and waved and left the stage.
The band returned a short time later for the first of two encores with Paul toting a Missouri flag that he waved from side to side at the front of the stage. The 4 song first encore featured huge songs as 'Lady Madonna', 'Birthday', 'Day Tripper' and an absolutely shredding version of 'Get Back' with big guitar solos and huge sound. With that, the band bowed and left the stage again to a seemingly bigger cheer than the first. You could feel that the crowd didn't want this special night to end anytime soon.
Not soon after, Sir Paul returned to his congregation one final time to finish it off right. A perfect mix of Beatle classics including 'Yesterday' and 'Helter Skelter' finished the show in near perfection. It appears that the 50 years olds dancing in attendance won't be the only one reaching for the Ben-Gay this morning as Sir Paul took a bit of a spill heading from the piano to center stage during the second encore however nothing could dampen the spirits on this night. Paul quickly got up, dusted himself off and played a perfect medley of 'Golden Slumbers' /'Carry That Weight' /'The End' to close the show.
All in all, I truly felt privileged to be able to watch a living legend perform his craft last evening in St. Louis. Sir Paul brought out everything you would expect and more for what will surely be one of the best concerts of 2012 in our fair city. St. Louie....or St. Louis, you can call it whatever you would like Sir Paul, just make sure you call again someday soon.
Overheard around the show:
"Hurry up and get going Paul...It's Late!!!"
- Older gentlemen seated by me......at 8:30pm.
"That was honestly and truly the best show I have ever seen in my life"
- Hipsters exiting the venue after the show. I thought hipsters can only like bands you have never heard of. Guess that doesn't apply to Sir Paul.
- To the Gestapo usher singling one lady out on the floor for shooting video with her phone while approximately 400 people around her did the same. Not only did he threaten to kick her out, but to have her arrested as well. You sir, are a dick.
SETLIST: Paul McCartney @ Scottrade Center 11/11/12
Magical Mystery Tour(The Beatles song)
Junior's Farm (Wings song)
All My Loving (The Beatles song)
Jet (Wings song)
Drive My Car (The Beatles song)
Sing the Changes (The Fireman song)
The Night Before (The Beatles song)
Let Me Roll It (Wings song) (with Foxy Lady snippet)
Paperback Writer (The Beatles song)
The Long and Winding Road (The Beatles song)
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (Wings song)
Maybe I'm Amazed
I've Just Seen a Face (The Beatles song)
And I Love Her (The Beatles song)
Blackbird (The Beatles song)
Mrs. Vandebilt (Wings song)
Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles song)
Something (The Beatles song)
Band on the Run (Wings song)
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles song)
Back In The USSR (The Beatles song)
I've Got a Feeling (The Beatles song)
A Day in the Life (The Beatles song) (with Give Peace A Chance snippet)
Let It Be (The Beatles song)
Live and Let Die (Wings song)
Hey Jude (The Beatles song)
Lady Madonna (The Beatles song)
Birthday (The Beatles song)
Day Tripper (The Beatles song)
Get Back (The Beatles song)
Yesterday (The Beatles song)
Helter Skelter (The Beatles song)
Golden Slumbers (The Beatles song)/Carry That Weight (The Beatles song)/The End (The Beatles song)
Photos By: Ben Fournier
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