Staff Reporter 

Fifty years later, Paul McCartney rocks the house

Write to the Point


The skinny-legged jeans could have belonged to anyone.

The black boots and the hairdo to any tribute artist.

But the voice that finally sang the first words of “Eight Days a Week,” was definitely an original – Sir Paul McCartney.

Playing before a sold out Safeco Field crowd of more than 45,000 in Seattle on a perfect Puget Sound last Friday evening, one of two surviving members of the Beatles immediately had his fans – let’s call many simply admirers – going back in time and grooving to the music.

Traveling back nearly 50 years in fact.

It was pretty stunning all of a sudden to think that the famed British Invasion began in February 1964. Stunning more was being able to remember it and recall where you were and what you did when McCartney and his chums – John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr – first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show Feb. 9, 1964.

Funny how when introduced to a couple I met last year, their names escape me, yet rewind nearly a half-century and I remember when the old Muntz color console television decided to crap out that Sunday. And there was not have a repairman to call.

That sent the family – yes, even my parents – scrambling to find a place to watch. The Beatles looked just fine on some friend’s black and white portable that got its signal on rabbit ears from KXLY’s tower on Mt. Spokane.

Today we’d have just gone to another room to watch, tossed out the defunct TV and bought a replacement Monday.

The journey to see McCartney in the first-ever concert held in the 13-year-old Safeco Field began with my wife, Melanie, who had this as one of those must-do “bucket list” items. And after completing a 37-year career as a teacher in June, her mother thought that the $120-ish ticket price – less of course TicketMaster “convenience charges” – was a nice way to tell her congratulations for a job well cone.

Mel of course is that ultimate Beatles fan, owning ALL the albums (the vinyl ones) as well as CD versions. She grew up in Southern California and was in fourth-grade when the boys from Liverpool had all the girls screaming hysterically wherever they went.

Her Barbie doll would some day marry Paul she hoped. She and her babysitter in Pasadena planned to bake McCartney a cake when the Beatles appeared in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Bowl in an August 1964 concert.

And while she wasn’t screaming Friday night as the 71-year-old McCartney spent around three hours playing nearly 40 songs, she was very much entranced in the music. “I even cried,” she said.

“I can’t believe it, he sounds just like he did back then,” she said as McCartney belted out a mix of more old Beatles favorites, some Wings work and a touch of new stuff. His encore, one of two, featured special guests, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, surviving members of Seattle band Nirvana, who teamed up on “Day Tripper” and “Get Back.”

That could not be said, however, when we caught another legend, Bob Dylan, in a concert a few years back. Now Dylan was never much known for his voice but it now seems appropriate the concert was staged at the former Post Falls dog racing track.

Perhaps among other remarkable things last Friday, besides how ageless McCartney still appears and wondering what he uses to color his long and neatly styled hair, was how diverse in age the audience was.

While the vast majority were those Baby Boomers who grew up listening to and buying those vinyl 45 RPM singles of “Yesterday,” “Lady Madonna” and “Back in the USSR,” and more, many were just there to see a true legend in rock-and-roll music.

Fellow Free Press reporter James Eik, was there. Why? “Because he’s Paul McCartney,” the 20-something said. A young couple in our row from Vancouver, British Columbia never knew the Beatles in their heyday but the woman’s mother said they had to go so they ponied up a bag full of “loonies” and “toonies” – Canadian for $1 and $2 coins – to attend.

While the years have taken away Lennon to an assassin, and Harrison to cancer – and whom McCartney paid tribute to in songs – he still acts ageless and went non-stop playing numerous guitars, a few pianos and even a ukulele. Oh to have half that energy in another 10 years.

So much for those old rumors of McCartney’s death in the Abbey Road album days. He proved he’s very much alive and well.


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