Monday, July 13, 2009

"Help!" for Halifax!

It is 11:53 p.m. on Saturday, July 11th.

Departing the Halifax Commons with more than 50,000 new friends, a single thought occurs.

Paul McCartney has made a habit of wowing stadium crowds such as these for ...are you ready for this ... more than 44 years!

You would have to "get back" to the summer of '65 when Paul and his Beatle buddies appeared at New York's Shea Stadium - the first time in music history a stadium was used for a rock concert.

Witnessed by 55,600 fans, the Shea Stadium show set new world records for attendance and gross revenues. Who would have "imagined" back then, that Paul McCartney would still bring it 44 years later with an epic performance in the Nova Scotia capital that proves this ex-Beatle still has the power to amaze.

Not just singing it. Bringing it.

With the greatest catalogue of songs in the world to draw on, McCartney and his ultra-tight backing band kicked off with "Drive My Car" and never looked back. Fuelled by a set list that included too many Beatles and Wings hits to mention, McCartney and his mates rocked up a storm with a 2 hour and 38 minute performance that included two encores. Joining Sir Paul for this musical day trip were guitarists Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray, drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and keyboardist Paul Wickens - a band on a terrific run with this show-stopping opening performance on their North American tour.

The best example of what this ensemble delivered in Halifax isn't up on YouTube yet, but if you watch this from their 2008 concert in Kiev, Russia before 350,000 fans, you will get the idea.

McCartney embraced his status as an ex-Beatle with heartfelt tributes to the late John Lennon and George Harrison, working gems like "Something" and "Give Peace a Chance" into the set. But the "moment" of moments may have been when many bluenose eyes turned a little misty during the encore of "Mull of Kintyre", as McCartney was joined by the 78th Highlanders pipes and drums, in front of a big screen Nova Scotian tartan backdrop. Often referred to as Holy Grail of the McCartney repertoire, it's a special treat he reserves for Scottish and Canadian audiences, and it was heartily appreciated.

At about 11:59 p.m., at the base of a Union Jack adorned Citadel Hill, our festive group encounters two of the pipers from the 78th Highlanders and asked "so what's it like being up there before 50,000 people with Paul McCartney"?

Wearing grins as long and wide as Barrington Street, the pipers let us know they could now "live and let die"in peace, knowing their long years of practice had taken them to a stage few ever grace.


"I used to think anyone doing anything weird was weird. Now I know that it is the people that call others weird that are weird"


Ian Varty said...

Fantastic blog! You made me feel like I was there.

marketing maven said...

"With the greatest catalogue of songs in the world to draw on..." Great post Gair. I wish I had been there. It sounds like it was an incredible concert!

Gair Maxwell said...

Thanks for the feedback Ian and MM. It really was an epic performance as well as inspirational in many aspects. McCartney has never lost sight of the purpose of his business...delighting the paying customers by going the extra ten miles.