It’s been almost two weeks since we saw Paul McCartney at Miller Park in Milwaukee, and I’m still trying to make sense of everything we saw and heard. It was almost surreal.
Buying seats on the field pretty much exhausted our concert budget for the entire year. But it was well worth what we spent. You just don’t get to see one of the Beatles up close every day.
So, a few memories from a staggeringly hot, muggy night at the ballpark:
— “Paperback Writer,” six songs into the show, was the first to give me the chills. McCartney was playing the same Epiphone Casino guitar that he used when the Beatles recorded the song in 1966.
— Really enjoyed hearing “Another Day,” a solo single from 1971, for the first time in a long time. We must have had the 45 when we were kids, because I immediately thought of the flip side, a blistering screamer named “Oh Woman, Oh Why.”
— One of our son’s friends plays “Blackbird,” so I took a close look when McCartney played it. I reported back to Liam that McCartney duct tapes the cord to the side of his guitar, just like everyone else.
— “Back in the U.S.S.R.” opened, of course, with the sound of a jet landing PLAYED AT THE VOLUME OF A JET LANDING and thundered on from there.
— I’ve never been a big fan of “Live and Let Die,” but when you shoot fireworks from the stage and from outside the stadium and ignite more and bigger flash pots than KISS ever used, I’ll buy in.
— As McCartney played the opening chords of certain songs, you’d also hear this: “GACK!” “AAUGH!” “MMPH!” Those sounds accompanied the momentary freakout that came as people recognized those songs.
Yet for all the spectacle on stage, you just had to turn your back to it from time to time and soak in the rest of it. You’re standing in left field in Miller Park, looking up at a sight that only the ballplayers see. There are 40,000 people surrounding you. Multicolored lasers are dancing on the steel framework of the roof, which is open on this hot summer night. It was, of course, a three-hour singalong.
It also was a night on which just when you thought McCartney would go one way, he’d go another. That took me back to one of the first LPs I ever bought. There, following the elegant “Dear Friend” and hidden at the end of Side 2 of Wings’ debut record, was this little surprise, a crunchy 45-second instrumental.
“Mumbo Link,” Wings, from “Wild Life,” 1971. It’s out of print.
Anyone else hear a little “Get Back” or “Helter Skelter” in there?
The set list from Milwaukee on July 16, 2013:
“Eight Days a Week,” “Junior’s Farm,” “All My Loving,” “Listen to What the Man Said,” “Let Me Roll It/Foxy Lady,” “Paperback Writer,” “My Valentine,” “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five,” “The Long and Winding Road,” “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” “We Can Work It Out,” “Another Day,” “And I Love Her,” “Blackbird,” “Here Today,” “Your Mother Should Know,” “Lady Madonna,” “All Together Now,” “Lovely Rita,” “Mrs. Vandebilt,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!,” “Something,” “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “Band on the Run,” “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Let it Be,” “Live and Let Die” and “Hey Jude.”
First encore: “Day Tripper,” “Hi, Hi, Hi” and “Get Back.”
Second encore: “Yesterday,” “Helter Skelter” and “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End.”
Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.