In Concert: Paul McCartney

As part of our “Catch Them One More Time Before They Die” bucket list, the Roy clan made its way to Busch Stadium last night for a performance by Sir Paul McCartney. McCartney was big in the ’70s and ’80s with a band called Wings. Before that he was in a band called The Beatles. If you don’t know those two groups, just go away. I don’t write this blog for mindless millennials.

We had seen McCartney several years ago at Busch so I had no great desire to go through all the crap one has to go through for a big-time concert these days, but Laurie seemed determined to go, and since she was buying the tickets, who was I to complain? We decided to take Andrew with us since a ticket would be only slightly more than the cost of hiring a sitter, plus he had never been to a concert before that didn’t involve bringing your own lawn chair, plus he seems to really enjoy the music of The Beatles.

He likes most music, but he really perks up when he hears the Fab Four. Once we were driving home from the farm and “Norwegian Wood” was playing on the stereo and I heard this odd sound that I couldn’t make out. Laurie was asleep as usual and I turned around and there was Andrew — singing —  along with John. I had never heard A string together more than five words, so this was a major thing. I woke Laurie up to listen, but as soon as he realized the spotlight was on him he stopped. And I never heard him sing it again.

Sigh. But I digress…

Once the tickets are purchased, the next decision is how to get downtown. One option is to take Metrolink, but everybody will be taking the train so you’re going to be doing a lot of waiting and a lot of standing. The other option is to drive downtown, park in a lot, and walk to the stadium. The downside to that is the possibility of being shot in a drive-by or beaten by punks playing the knock-out game.

We decided that there would be enough people downtown during a Paul McCartney concert that it would be safe to drive downtown and park in the lot where Laurie works. Free parking, and as long as L was driving, who was I to complain?

Day of show finally arrived. L insists we wear our Union Jack shirts because (a)  we are adorable when we dress the same (b) it’s easy to keep track of each other when we dress the same, and (c) people love Union Jack shirts. We got many complements on our outfits, the same as when we went to The Who concert.


The lines were long and slow-moving when we got to the stadium. Now I remember why I stopped going to concerts. The mob was large and difficult to wade through. Now I remember why I stopped going to concerts. I wind up sitting next to a man large enough that he spilled out into my seat. Now I remember why I stopped going to concerts. $6 for a Coke (because they were out of Sprite). Now I …

The concert was to start promptly at 8 p.m. It started at 8:30 p.m. Because Sir Paul’s time is clearly more valuable than mine. And no, I don’t consider the half-hour spent watching an odd video slowly scroll across the giant screens as part of the show. Now I remember.

But then Paul finally took the stage and I quickly remembered why I used to enjoy going to concerts. Macca ripped through a nearly 3 hour, 38-song set that nicely spanned his long career. It was a stronger show than the one I remember from the ’90s. Interesting set list, lots of Beatles songs, a few Wings tunes, the unfortunate handful of new songs that few people care about. Too many highlights to list (I never thought I would hear a live version of “Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite”). Good use of video screens and lights and, of course, blowing stuff up during “Live and Let Die.”


McCartney sounded as strong as ever, unlike some of the other geezer rockers I’ve seen in recent years. Probably one of the benefits of never stopping your career. He told stories and seemed very engaged with his audience. An excellent show, well worth the overpriced tickets.

Now if you’re going to take you autistic son to a concert, you might not want to pick the one where you have to sit for almost 4 hours. Especially when you forgot the beads and gummi bears. That $6 Coke did not last long.

paul2Still, Andrew handled everything with a smile and a laugh. He put up with the delayed start time much better than I did (But then, I suspect everyone handles delays better than I do). While it was nerve-racking waiting for him to melt-down, it was also a lot of fun watching him react to the music. He would smile at the songs he knew, rock and clap, and never got anxious. He didn’t sing along. He probably annoyed the person sitting in front of him, but hey, after years of being surrounded by obnoxious jerks at concerts, it was my time to be the troublemaker.

Overall we had a good setup. Only one person in our section insisted on standing up and dancing and she only did that a couple of times and she wasn’t in my line of sight so I didn’t care. The weather, which looked ominous at 8 p.m., turned cool and pleasant and the rain held off until morning.

Getting out of the stadium was quite the challenge but we somehow managed to get out of Busch still alive and still together. As expected, there were plenty of people walking around. We even went a block out of our way to get to the garage and still didn’t get killed. After all the sitting the walk did us good. The garage was far enough away from the stadium that getting out of town was not a problem. Especially since I wasn’t driving.



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