Three years ago, I saw the greatest concert of my life: Sir Paul McCartney (read about that here). About two seconds after the concert ended, I thought, I must see him again. Then a couple months ago, I found out that not only was Sir Paul returning to NYC, he was going to be playing Yankee Stadium, on my birthday. I mean, can it get better than that? I think not.
It was ON.
Before I knew it, my birthday/Sir Paul Day arrived. I want to take this moment to thank everybody for the birthday wishes on Facebook, Twitter, etc. I was truly overwhelmed and moved by each and every message. Of course I was hoping Sir Paul would perform “Birthday,” but luckily Susane agreed to sing it for me if Sir Paul didn’t come through.
It was a gorgeous evening at Yankee Stadium. I had my Sgt. Peppers LONELY HEARTS CLUB Band t-shirt (of course!), Susane wore her brand-new Paul McCartney tee, and oh yeah, I had a Birthday Girl tiara. That’s how we roll.
Sir Paul started the show with “Hello/Goodbye” and I was freaking out. I mean, Sir Paul flippin’ McCartney (that’s right, I said flippin’!) is singing a Beatles song!!! It’s very, very surreal. It’s almost hard to comprehend. Honestly, there are so many moments to talk about so here are just some of the many, many highlights of the night:
I was really, really, really hoping he was going to sing “Something” in honor of George Harrison again. There was an adorable twelve-year-old girl behind us who was a George fan and when I told her he did when I saw him three years ago, she got so excited. I have a special place in my heart for George. When I’m asked who my favorite Beatle is, it’s really so hard. Usually I say it’s a tie between Paul and George because as much as I LOVE Sir Paul, I think George is extremely underrated. Two of my favorite songs: “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun” were written by George. He is considered to be one of the greatest guitar players of all time. And he’s just AWESOME. Paul brought out his ukulele and started talking about George. Honestly words cannot describe how beautiful this moment is, so luckily I found this from his concert in Liverpool back in 2008:
I just cried watching it. One thing to note, at the beginning of the song, the camera cuts to two women. You might recognize one as Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow (she’s in the hat), to the left is Olivia Harrison, George’s widow. Another side note, when an attacker broke into the Harrison’s home in 1999 and stabbed George, Olivia fought off the attacker with a fire poker and lamp until the police arrived. I mean, how bad-A is that? At the end of the song, she blows a kiss to Paul. It destroyed me this morning. I really miss George… Okay, back to the concert. Sir Paul played “Something” and the whole crowd sang aloud to one of my favorite parts of any Beatles song: “You’re asking me will my love grow, I don’t know, I don’t know…” Gah, so good! And I’m pretty sure the twelve-year-old’s year was made with that performance. I know mine was!
Of course, Sir Paul had to pay tribute to John Lennon. He did this twice, first performing the song he wrote after Lennon’s death, the extremely moving “Here Today.” I teared up during that song. He also ended “A Day in the Life” with a sing-along to “Give Peace a Chance.”
Oh and I can’t forget that Sir Paul thanked me! That’s right, Sir Paul McCartney thanked me! Okay, he didn’t say “Thanks to Elizabeth Eulberg!” But after “Blackbird” he thanked all the guitar students out there who have learned to play the song. And that’s ME! So, pretty much, Sir Paul McCartney personally thanked me on my birthday.
For the first time ever, Sir Paul performed “The Night Before” – could not believe it. I also couldn’t believe he did “All My Lovin,’” “I’ve Got a Feeling,” and “I’ve Just Seen a Face.” There were some songs I was hoping he would play that he didn’t get around to, but even if the concert lasted 24 hours, there would be something missing. He has that many classics. Try to name one other artist with as many… It’s impossible.
Wow. There’s so many more moments to share. It’s a little overwhelming. “Elearnor Rigby” was another one of those somebody pinch me moments. Crazy fireworks and pyrotechnics during “Live and Let Die.” Singing along to “Drive My Car’s” Beep-Beep-MM-Beep-Beep-YEAH! “Paperback Writer” since, um, I’m a writer and The Lonely Hearts Club is out in paperback. So obviously that song was written about me (pay no attention to the fact I wasn’t even born when it was written).
Oh, and can I just say that Sir Paul is a ROCK STAR. He’s 69 years old and rocking out like a kid. A few times I used the word “cheeky” to describe him. He joked around with the audience, told funny stories, had us repeat him (at once point he got us all to bark like a dog, and I did it. I’d do anything Sir Paul asked me to. “Hey Elizabeth, shave your head and then walk around naked.” Me: “Would be okay if I at least had sunscreen on?”). But what I loved the most was that at the beginning, he asked the audience to give him a moment so he can soak in playing at Yankee Stadium for the first time. I loved this. And I also noticed that most of the audience enjoyed the show and didn’t spend the entire time recording it on their phones or texting (don’t get me started on that). Everybody was in the moment.
As much as we were hoping he’d play “Birthday,” he didn’t. Which in retrospect was probably a good thing. Anytime we thought there was a possibility, Susane and I would start freaking out. I really think I would’ve died had he played it. But at least I would’ve died very, very happy!
After nearly three hours, two encores, and thirty-five songs(!!!!), Sir Paul sang the final line, which was absolute perfection: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
Sir Paul left the stage and as sad as I was to see him go, he gave the entire audience an unforgettable evening.
But wait! My concert experience wasn’t fully over because as people were leaving, Susane did her own encore just for me. As promised, she sang “Birthday” complete with choreographed dance moves. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day (and the guys a few rows up really seemed to enjoy seeing the two of us dance around)!
So from me to Sir Paul and Susane: thank you both for truly the best birthday this girl could ever hope for.
The set list:
1) Hello, Goodbye
2) Junior’s Farm
3) All My Lovin’
5) Drive My Car
6) Sing The Changes (The Fireman Song)
7) The Night Before
8) Let Me Roll It (I have no idea why there’s a smiley face here – it won’t go away so I’m not going to fight it!!!)
9) Paperback Writer
10) The Long and Winding Road
11) Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five
12) Let ‘Em In
13) Maybe I’m Amazed
14) I’ve Just Seen A Face
15) I Will
17) Here Today
18) Dance Tonight
19) Mrs. Vanderbilt
20) Eleanor Rigby
22) Band On The Run
23) Obla Di Obla Da
24) Back In The U.S.S.R
25) I’ve Got A Feeling
26) A Day In The Life/Give Peace A Chance
27) Let It Be
28) Live and Let Die
29) Hey Jude
30) Lady Madonna
31) Day Tripper
32) Get Back
34) Helter Skelter
35) Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End
Setlist and awesome concert photo from NY Daily News.