Paul McCartney at Fenway Park
The herds of people usually seen parading toward Yawkee Way had very different motivations for two days this August, as center field hosted none other than Sir Paul McCartney. Always in good spirits, Macca came on exactly at 8 p.m. and finished promptly before 10:30 p.m., subtly mocking good old Boston’s strict noise ordinances.
An audience with an amazing age gap danced and cheered to classic Beatles tunes such as opener “Drive My Car” and “I Saw Her Standing There,” which sent the older folks into a frenzy as they undoubtedly remembered their swinging glory days. Macca also did songs from Wings and his solo career, like “My Love” and the mandolin-led “Dance Tonight.” Beatles paraphernalia was in no short supply in the shape of T-shirts, caps, tattoos, sweaters, pins and posters. In other words, nothing’s changed in nearly five decades.
Macca got political during “Sing the Changes,” with not-too-subtle crystallized images of President Obama flashing on the screen. He paid homage to fellow Beatle John Lennon with a massive sing-along to Lennon’s peace mantra, “Give Peace A Chance,” and to George Harrison with an acoustic, cheerful rendition of the beautiful “Something.” The climax of the peace-sign waving and thunderous applause came during “Hey Jude.” Like he’s done for years, Macca encouraged audience participation through chanting, urging women first, then men, then “the people in the back,” and then everyone together. Before long, fire burst from the stage and fireworks flew into the sky during “Live and Let Die.”
Two encores followed in what halfway through the night had turned into a hit-after-hit show, easily enough for someone with McCartney’s repertoire. The ensuing extra half hour of music included a bombastic rendition of “Helter Skelter,” an acoustic “Yesterday,” and Beatles favorites “Get Back” and “Day Tripper.” The real end had to come eventually, but not before McCartney had declared his love for Boston multiple times, sending Bostonians into a frenzy. Before walking off, the band started the steady percussion of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” topping off the night with a song from the album that catapulted The Beatles to an eternal position on music’s highest pedestal, proof of which is Sir Paul’s mere presence at any show.