Paul McCartney played his first concert in Arkansas last Saturday on April 30, 2016, in front of a sold out crowd at Verizon Arena in Little Rock. This was the second time I have seen Paul live, the first was in 2002 in Atlanta on his Driving Rain tour. I am a devout Beatles fan, and as a teenager never thought I would ever get to see a Beatle live. Seeing Paul in Atlanta when I was 20 was a life changing moment. I cried, I mean ugly cried, snot and all. (I’m so glad camera phones were not around then.) Getting to see Paul TWICE in my lifetime, and having him come to ME in my hometown! Now that is something I definitely never expected.
Paul and I are both a bit older than we were when we first “met” in 2002. I am happy to report that there were no ugly tears this time around and, most importantly, Paul’s performance was as good as ever. He opened the concert with “A Hard Days Night” and immediately set the tone for three hours of rock & roll, playing 38 songs that ranged from The Quarrymen’s track, “In Spite of All the Danger” and early Beatles hit “Love Me Do”, to Paul’s most recent recording “Four Five Seconds”. He also repeated concert staples that avid fans have come to expect – dedicating a performance of “Here Today” to John Lennon, playing “Something” on a ukulele given to him by George Harrison, a “Hey Jude” sing-a-long with the crowd, and “Live and Let Die” with pyrotechnics whose heat could be felt throughout the arena.
One thing that stood out to me in contrast from watching Paul in 2002, was that this performance seemed more sentimental. He told stories of Jimi Hendrix playing Sgt. Pepper at a concert in London just two days after the album was released; George Martin asking a young Paul to sing a part on “Love Me Do” so John could play the harmonica a beat earlier; and made mention, although not by name, of former bandmates Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe. Most memorable to a crowd in Little Rock, Arkansas; however, Paul discussed the American Civil Rights Movement and how events, like the integration of Little Rock’s Central High School, inspired his song “Blackbird”. In fact, Paul met with two members of the “Little Rock Nine”, the students who integrated the high school, while he was in town. Rolling Stone even did a write up of their meeting and included a video of Paul’s performance of “Blackbird” at the concert.
Paul is a living rock & roll legend. Having a chance to see him live, to sing with him, and to listen to him tell stories of other rock legends is just awesome. If you have a chance to see him on his One on One tour. GO! Pay the exorbitant ticket price. You will not regret seeing him; however, miss him in your city and you might kick yourself later. I’m already trying to figure out what tour stop I can catch him at next.
~ Candace, Beatle Fan for Life