Tuesday, July 13, 2010 was a special night in Salt Lake City. Sir Paul McCartney and his band played under open skies on a warm evening to a sold out crowd of 24,000. Not one person left the show disappointed.
There was a resounding magic in the air. The temperature was in the 80's and accompanied with a breeze from the north which circulated throughout Rio Tinto Stadium.
We arrived at the scheduled 7:30pm show around 7:15pm. We quickly located our 18th row seats on the stadium floor. We waited in anticipation for the start of the show, which was delayed until 8:05pm when Sir Paul and his band walked on stage.
The welcome for the former Beatle was deafening. He strapped one of his many guitars over his black sport coat and the band immediately went into three Wings songs, "Venus and Mars", Rock Show" and "Jet", with the crowd immediatelty screaming "Jet" at the right times, as if on cue.
McCartney then welcomed the crowd with several kind words. He gave notice to a sigh being held up which read, "Paul - Marry Us!" He quickly asked "All of you?", to which the sign holder yelled back, "Why not? After all, this is Utah!"
Paul went into "All My Loving", "Let It Go", "Drive My Car" and "Highway". He then paid tribute to Jimi Hendrix with a story of Hendrix opening for the Beatles during concert stops in the 60's and proceeded to do a cover of "Foxy Lady."
His rendition of "the Long and Winding Road" was perfect. He followed that classic with Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five. At this point he removed his sport coat, exposing a very pink shirt with trousers being held up with suspenders.
He then crooned his hit "Let 'Em In" after which he emotionally sang "My Love", which he wrote for his deceased wife Linda. He then performed "And I Love Her."
Sir Paul explained the meaning of his next song "Blackbird", telling the audience he wrote it during the Civil Rights Movement in the southern United States, mainly Alabama and Arkansas.
McCartney went through several more songs, including "Eleanor Rigby" and "Ram On".
He orated a memory of when George Harrison gave him a Ukelele, which already had in his hands. In a tribute to George, he did a solo rendition of "Something". The crowd was silent through the entire song.
He went on singing, "Band On The Run", "Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da" and "Back In The USSR". These tunes were followed by "I've Got A Feeling", "Paperback Writer" and "A Day In The Life".
He next did a touching tribute to the late John Lennon. His cover of the audience involved "Give Peace A Chance" left no eyes dry. He then moved to the piano to delight the crowd with "Let It Be", a fire work studded "Live and Let Die" and "Hey Jude". During the latter song he had the men and women in the audience take turns singing "Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Hey Jude". I must say, we weren't all that bad.
The band then exited the stage, but the crowd would have none of that. He came back on stage carrying a rather large flag pole with an equally large Utah state flag. One of the band member was carrying the British Union Jack. After a few minutes of running around the huge stage with the flags waving, the band adorned their instruments and played 'Daytripper", "Lady Madonna" and "Get Back", to the absolute delight of the crowd.
Again the band left the stage and, again, the crowd begged for more. Sir Paul returned to do a solo of "Yesterday", just as he did on the Ed Sullivan Show back in the sixties. The band returned to the stage to end the performance with "Helter Skelter" and "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (Finale/The End".
This concert was nothing less than magnificent. The 68 year old McCartney was onstage for three hours playing guitars, the ukelele, piano and organ, singing every song with a voice that has not changed over the decades since his Beatles years. His band exhibited perfection with their music and backup vocals during the 41 song performance. This was a night Salt Lake City, and I, will reflect on for years to come. My only regret is that I may never see Sir Paul McCartney in person again. "Maybe I'm Amazed."
(The pictures in this article were taken by the author and are copyright protected)