There’s always a mix of excitement and fear when you go see a gig of an old rock’n’roll glory, will he still be able to rock a 15000people arena? Is he going to play his most famous songs? Can he still sing or Bob Dylan-style will mumble words and re-arrange his songs to make them un-recognizable?
All the doubts and fears are gone at 9pm when an energetic and motivated Paul McCartney comes on stage in a packed arena in Milan. After 8 years Macca is back in Italy but from the faces and the excitement in the crowd looks like people are waiting since the sixties. The crowd is mixed 50/60 Beatles fans together with teenagers and their parents, for one night all together wondering how would have been being there in the sixties?
Macca starts with Hello Goodbye, and, as of that moment Milan goes back 45 years, while Macca passes from his old style bass guitar (Hoefner obviously) to acoustic or electric guitar, to mandolin, piano and finally Hukulele the crowd sings along most of the songs and smiles mix with tears of joy.
In the first half of the gig he mixes songs from The Beatles with other from his solo careers (a couple easily forgotten…). In between songs Paul interacts with the crowd reading cheesy sentences in Italian to introduce his songs, pretty stereotype but seems to still work to animate a shy crowd. The man knows how to behave on stage, hours spent in Hamburg and singing next to John Lennon taught him how to master a 15000 people crowd, making them happy to have spent the money and defied the fog tocome see him.
A first very emotional moment happens when he introduces “Here today” saying, “this is to my friend John” and while he sings those very touching lyrics (is that the best song wrote to a friend?) we wonder what would have John really said about him (Knowing that the Beatles end wasn’t the most peaceful ever…), a couple of songs later he dedicates one to George, “Something” that he starts playing Hukulele, (George left us 10 years ago).
The end of the first part of the concert is rich with Beatles anthem, parts of the crowd have already lost their voice, some other are spare their vocal chords for their favorites ones, and here they come: “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” (with Macca engaging a crowd sing-along on the chorus), “Back in the U.S.S.R.”, “A Day in the Life / Give Peace A Chance” (with another recall to John’s memory) “Let it be” and finally a majestic execution of “Hey Jude” with goose bump when he goes out of scene and the crowd keeps singing “na-na-na-na” to call him back. In between the last 2 songs the only negative moment of the gig (sorry Paul, nobody’s perfect), the fireworks that end “Live and let die” might be very much James Bond special fx style but on stage looked like a Kiss concert rather than good old british Paul Macca.
People start leaving, big mistake, next comes 2(!) encores, only Beatles songs, first one ended by “Get Back” and Paul saying: “Yes, I wanna get back as well!” the second one with “Helter Skelter” and most importantly “Yesterday” that brings the crowd to heaven for a couple of minutes.
35 songs and almost 3 hours after appearing on scene the gig’s over, we don’t know when we will have another chance to see Sir Paul live but we kind of miss him already.An advice, go out there and book your tickets for the next tour ASAP. Some might say the Beatles are old and dead, well, Sir Paul McCartney, 69 years old is still up there, among the greatest live act in the world, he’s in a class of his own though, a class that for 3 hours manages to bring you to a wonderland of Beatles music, love and smiles. Long life Paul. Keep on rockin’ in a free world.