August 14, 2014: the last day for Candlestick. The obsolete stadium’s going to be torn down. It went out in style, with a concert by Sir Paul McCartney. The concert quickly sold out, of course, and we hadn’t thought to go. But our kids surprised us with two tickets…
We didn’t quite know what to expect. Would Sir Paul perform the whole concert? Could anyone do a whole two or three hour concert? We figured we’d be home by 10.30 or 11 p.m. Fortunately, we’d been warned about the traffic difficulties, and went at 5.30 p.m. for a show due to start at 8 p.m. We got one of the last few parking spaces in an outside lot. The stadium was half-empty.
Through my binoculars, I could see people bustling around the stage, which was at the other end of the stadium. In the audience, one group of people – dressed as Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – carried a banner saying “Three generations of Beatles fans here tonight.” Unfortunately, they took off their coats before I could get a picture.Eight o’clock came and went with nothing but recorded music. People started clapping in the “We-want-Paul” rhythm. But it died down and we all waited. I stepped out, and saw why – the entire road was lined with cars trying to enter. Later we learned that traffic management had been awful, and hundreds, maybe thousands, of people with tickets couldn’t find parking.
FINALLY, SIR PAUL MCCARTNEY!
At 9 p.m., the waiting paid off. Paul McCartney walked onto the stage, in a dapper burnt-orange jacket. He looked good and energetic, waved a hello. In the picture below, that little figure in the middle is Sir Paul. His image was projected on two enormous screens on either side of the stage.
Lots of nostalgia. He said this was where the Beatles had their last concert together in 1966, and the guitar he was carrying was the one he’d used then. He was here to give Candlestick a great send-off.
By this time, the crowd had become really dense, and all the seats were taken. Everyone was thrilled. I overheard someone saying, “If you had told me that I would actually get to see Paul McCartney in person, I wouldn’t have believed it!”
It was wonderful to hear him. But it was a visual spectacle, too, with film running above the stage and ever-changing colored lights.Soon after he got started, he took off his jacket. The crowd cheered. He turned to the audience and said, “That’s the only undressing I’m doing this evening!” …
For some of the songs, he had little blurbs about what inspired them. Queenie-eyes is based on a childhood street game. “It’s too complicated to explain, but it goes ‘Queenie-eyes, queenie-eyes, who’s got the ball? I haven’t got it, it isn’t in my pocket, O-U-T spells OUT.’ That’s how we entertained ourselves, playing in the street. Nowadays…” He wiggled his thumb, miming a video-game control. Everyone laughed. We knew what he meant.
He explained Blackbird as a song of hope, that some young person who was feeling beaten down by all the events around would listen and know that they could rise above them.
In the old days, people wanting to applaud a performer would use their cigarette lighters, and the flames would be visible across the auditorium. No one carries cigarette lighters any more, but the stadium twinkled with cellphone lights. Sir Paul looked out and said he’d seen the lights and thanked the audience.
Toward the end of the show, there were fireworks going off over the stage, and light flares on stage.……But of course, it wasn’t exactly the end of the show, because the standing crowd brought him back for several encores. Here’s Sir Paul on the piano…And then there were more fireworks………And another encore… see the faces of the Beatles on the screen onstage?
It’s clearer here. The crowd was mesmerized, no one wanted to leave.
…and then confetti pouring through the lights, and it was over. It was nearly midnight. He’d been performing non-stop for almost three hours, and still seemed full of energy. I was amazed. He had the body-language of a much younger man.
Here’s a list, from the Beatles Bible website, of the songs he played and sang (including encores): Eight Days A Week; Save Us; All My Loving; Listen To What The Man Said; Let Me Roll It; Paperback Writer; My Valentine; Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five; The Long And Winding Road; Maybe I’m Amazed; I’ve Just Seen A Face; San Francisco Bay Blues; We Can Work It Out; Another Day; And I Love Her; Blackbird; Here Today; New; Queenie Eye; Lady Madonna; All Together Now; Lovely Rita; Everybody Out There; Eleanor Rigby; Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!; Something; Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da; Band On The Run; Back In The USSR; Let It Be; Live And Let Die; Hey Jude; Day Tripper; Hi, Hi, Hi; I Saw Her Standing There; Yesterday; Long Tall Sally; Golden Slumbers; Carry That Weight; The End.
HARD TO LEAVE
Traffic control after the show wasn’t any better than before it. We got home around 2.30 a.m. Still, in the car we had the complete remastered Beatles albums (my husband is a huge fan of their music, which is why the kids had gotten the tickets). So we turned on the CD player for a Beatles music session while waiting to get away.
All in all, a fantastic experience. After all, I’d been listening to the Beatles since I was a kid. At 16, I owned one 45-rpm record, bought with my pocket money, for which I made a cover decorated with a drawing made with my first set of felt-pens (i.e. markers). It’s “Money Can’t Buy Me Love” (with Cupid thumbing his nose at a boy offering him a wad of cash); and “You Can’t Do That” (with a guy confronting his girl-friend who’s dressed in floral bell-bottoms and talking to ‘him’).
Neither song was in the concert. But nostalgia aside, I think I liked the ones he sang better.
Rupa, your writing is good, the felt-pen sketches even better. And you preserved them 45 years!
All the best!
[Thanks, NK! Actually, my brother has kept the records with these covers. He has a record-player and a collection of vinyl records. We listened to them recently – had a nostalgia evening.]
Nicely done! better late than never. Love, A
[Yes, it took a while to sort through the dozens of photos and get this written up. But as you say, better late than never!]