If you're one of the millions of Beatles devotees who have shelled out hundreds to see a Paul McCartney concert in the past several years, you've certainly heard all of Sir Paul's stories - from tales of Hendrix playing "Sgt. Pepper's," to impersonations of a Fab Four-loving Russian Defense Minister.
Much like your grandfather with his war stories, Macca will (proverbially) sit you down on bended knee to share the rock'n'roll tales that accompany his well-loved tunes. Whether you've heard the songs and the stories live before doesn't really matter - you will (most likely) listen and sing along, contently, because the music is simply too ingrained in most of us not to.
There's a sheer exhilaration that comes from being in McCartney's presence: Even members of the NYPD, who served as security at the ex-Beatle's double-header at Yankee Stadium this past weekend (July 15-16), relished the opportunity to record video of "Eleanor Rigby" on their iPhones.
Video: Paul McCartney, "Eleanor Rigby," 7/15/2011, Yankee Stadium
McCartney, though humble, acknowledged his intense famedom in a charming sort of way at the first of the Yankee shows, which kicked off his eight-concert "On The Run" jaunt. "Who is this Derek Jeter guy?" he kidded, just one week after Jeter made his 3000th career hit. "Somebody said he's got more hits than me." Perhaps, but McCartney brought the hit power himself, performing a range of Beatles and Wings favorites (and minimal solo work from recent years).
He cheekily greeted the crowd with "Hello Goodbye," brought his best country shuffle on "I've Just Seen a Face," and ferociously flew through "Jet" accompanied by slick airflight-themed visuals. While McCartney introduced new video material to accompany many tracks for this tour, much of it leans toward the literal and slightly cheesy, such as paperback illustrations of female eyes during "Paperback Writer."
Video: Paul McCartney, "Live and Let Die," 7/15/2011, Yankee Stadium
"I've never done this live," McCartney said early on in the night, before giving "The Night Before" (from "Help!") its concert debut. Sexy red lights and fog followed, as did "Bond"-worthy pyrotechnics and fireworks for "Live and Let Die."
McCartney's touching John Lennon and George Harrison tributes found a home in the two and a half hour set, with Macca acknowledging John's adopted home of NYC before performing "Here Today." After mentioning (as he often does) that Harrison was quite the ukulele player, McCartney launched into "Something" on the small stringed instrument, inspiring one of the concert's biggest sing-alongs. He followed it up with another plucky number - his gleeful 2007 hit, "Dance Tonight."
After switching between tight jamming with his animated bandmates and solo play on his acoustic six-string or behind the piano, McCartney, inevitably, left the stage. Returning with an American flag in tow and fireworks blazing behind him, Paul performed eight more songs - "Lady Madonna," "Ticket to Ride," "Get Back," "Yesterday," "Helter Skelter" ("If you wanna rock, we'll do it for you," he told the crowd), and "Golden Slumbers"/"Carry That Weight"/"The End" - over the course of two encores. The icing on the oddly patriotic cake? Red, white and blue confetti, which showered fans as they scurried from the stadium.
Video: Paul McCartney, "Helter Skelter," 7/15/2011, Yankee Stadium