I have a confession. I broke my sleep protocol last night by sliding into bed three hours later than my normal bedtime. This morning I was up at my usual time, so today is going to be rough. It was worth it.
The billboards and signs around the arena welcomed Paul "back" to Arizona, presumably because he has a ranch near Tucson where he and his first wife Linda lived for many years.
My girlfriend and I arrived to the arena early to avoid any snags with parking or security, and thankfully there were no issues with either.
In case you haven't gone to a concert in awhile, the going rate for a concert t-shirt is now $45. I usually like purchasing a t-shirt with the concert dates of that tour as a memento, but I was not prepared to suffer the double indignity of the price and the incredibly long line. The price certainly did not discourage people. Perhaps it is the framing phenomenon that if you've already spent several hundred dollars on a ticket, what's another $45 on a t-shirt and $15 on a beer?
We had good seats at the top of the lower level just left of center. Seats secured, we turned our attention to libations. There were limited options approved by Project Food as Fuel. My two primary goals were to get something salty to make up for my missed cup of afternoon broth and get some caffeine. I settled on some popcorn and a Crown and Diet Coke. It's a concert. Might as well live a little.
There was no opening act, but there was a DJ who appeared on stage at one point to give us some remixes of Beatles songs. It was surprising to me to hear these songs since there is a general agreement by artists not to play their own music prior to their concerts. In fact, this became an issue for a Fleetwood Mac concert in which Lindsey Buckingham pointed out his distaste for breaking the tradition. Some contend this is one of the series of events that led to his eventual ouster from the band.
We settled in to our seats, and I munched on the world's saltiest popcorn. I have a high tolerance for sodium, but that popcorn was on the upper end of my tolerance. Project Food as Fuel requires a daily intake of five grams per day. That's three more grams than the recommended daily allowance of sodium for most people. I wouldn't be surprised if that popcorn had a full two grams. When I reached the bottom of the box, I wasn't sure whether I was crunching on popcorn kernels or granules of salt. A bystander might have reported that my voice took on a slight whistle temporarily due to pursed lips.
Sir Paul walked on stage promptly at 8:15 to fervent applause from a packed house. He opened with A Hard Day's Night and we were off.
How does a legend like Paul McCartney put together a set list spanning such a long and successful career? He delivered 38 songs, over half were Beatles songs as expected/demanded. He also played several Wings songs along with a few songs from his latest album Egypt Station. He also did a cover of Foxy Lady and expressed his admiration for Jimi Hendrix. He told some stories and had fun with some signs in the audience.
@vickenstein might be delighted at this next item. At one point, Paul extolled the ukulele-playing skills of George Harrison before using said instrument to play Something. It was a unique rendition of one of my favorite songs.
Of course what concert would be complete without at least one audience sing-a-long? I chimed in on the chorus of Hey Jude, which was a magical moment marred only by a brief coughing fit potentially caused by undigested salt crystals dislodged from my gums by my strong tenor.
Sir Paul is 77 years old and showed no signs of slowing down during his 2 hours 45+ min performance. He is a true living legend, and I am grateful for the opportunity that allowed my girlfriend and me to witness true greatness.