An Evening with Paul McCartney

As an avid Beatles fan and collector of Beatles Memorabilia for as long as I remember, the announcement of Paul McCartney’s One on One tour of Australia left me in somewhat of a quandary. 

Whilst a huge fan, I never had the chance to see the Fab Four live, so I soaked up the Beatles experience via records, video and TV, with highlights like the roof top performance on the Apple building back in 1969, which proved to be their last live performance.

My first encounter of a Beatle performing live was in 1975 at the tender age of 16, when I descended upon the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne to see Paul McCartney and Wings.

I distinctly remember coming away from that concert blown away, and still have vivid memories of the night which last to this day.

My kids grew up with my love of the Beatles instilled into them, and grew to enjoy all types of music, but my youngest maintained the Beatles were her favourite band.

I thought this must have been through my influence, only to find out most of her friends where into the band too!

My daughter had previously proudly announced her aim was to see Paul in concert, even if we had to travel the world to make it a reality.

So when Paul announced his world tour and confirmed Australia was on the agenda, well, I didn’t have to wait for the news to tell me, I received a call from my daughter to announce we were going!

My quandary then began, do I go and risk being disappointment lest Paul fails to live up to my long held memories of ’75, or skip only regret it in years to come,

Of course, as any father knows, the decision is not his when kids are involved, and on that note, I’ll leave the rest to my daughter.

“So Tuesday 5th of December is finally here”, said my daughter excitedly, and we were off to see Paul at AAMI stadium.

Crowds rolled in and we managed to find our seats amongst 30-odd thousand friends.

It was getting close to 8pm, the sun starting to go descend, and with no support act other than a DJ playing Beatles/McCartney remixes, I remember thinking “this is going to be a short concert.”

Suddenly, two huge LED screens fired up with pictures of a young McCartney, gradually showing images from the entirety of his 75 years.”

The crowd went up as one when Sir Paul came out on stage, before the band jumped straight into A Hard Day’s Night, which had the crowd jumping and singing from the first second.

A mixture of Wings and Beatles classics including Can’t Buy Me Love, Letting Go, All My Loving, and Let Me Roll It kept the crowd out of their seats and singing at the top of their voices.

Paul then went into a little of a story reminiscing about his first recording, not as a Beatle, but as part of The Quarrymen.

The band consisted of five at that stage, and the recording was going to cost them £5, so they all put in a pound each and recorded.

Under the deal each member had the record for a week before passing it on to the next; this happened between the first four members, but the fifth “held onto it for the next 20 years!” joked McCartney.

Paul revealed he finally bought the record back off the fifth member, and that his Quarrymen bandmate made a “good profit” on the £1 deal, with the original copy now valued upwards of £200,000.

As the sun disappeared the lights took full effect, and McCartney thrilled my 30-odd thousand friends and I with Love Me Do, And I Love Her, and Blackbird, just to name a few, all whilst cycling through an assortment of instruments, including grand piano, upright piano, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, ukulele, and of course, his famous Hofner 500/1 bass guitar.

More Beatles and Wings masterpieces had the crowd singing every word, sounding like a 30 thousand voice choir.

Touching tributes to John and George made us remember that while only two of the Fab Four remain, the four of them will be remembered forever.

Paul’s live version of FourFiveSeconds, the song he recorded with Rihanna and Kanye West in 2015, had my daughter insisting it was better than the original.

The lights and images hit their crescendo during Band On The Run, Back in the USSR, and a little song called Let It Be.

Looking back to my ‘75 experience, Live and Let Die was one moment which sticks at the forefront of my memories of that evening, and when the band kicked in the stage exploded with shafts of fire shooting upwards, and fireworks lit up the dark sky whilst the band played on, it was safe to say the show only added to the joyous memories of that night 42 years ago.

What I thought was going to be a short concert was now over two-and-a-half hours in when Paul took his place at the grand, and Hey Jude begins.

The last note sounded, and McCartney thanked the crowd for sharing the evening with him and left the stage, but the crowd was determined to bring him back out.

Suddenly, out he came, and in no small way, with his encore lasting over half an hour, which is an entire set length for some modern day artists, playing Yesterday, a reprise version of Sgt. Peppers, Helter Skelter, before being joined on stage by the Scotch College Pipe Band for Mull of Kintyre.

This was followed by three more Beatles songs, before ending fittingly with The End.

Wayne Gebus

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