Sunday, July 12, 2009

sir paul

paul mccartney lifted halifax to a new level last night, strapping Jet packs on the city's cultural capabilities with a ferocious, gorgeous set that started with a mix of old and new, but grew into an explosion of megasong after megasong.

who else could lead 50,000+ through a singalong of hey jude, then come back and top it several times? sir paul (that's ted pritchard of the herald's photo of him) did so easily, coming back for multiple encores: blowing the stage up with fireworks for a breathless live and let die, diving down a a mad spiral through helter skelter, bringing out a halifax pipe and drums band for a city-filling version of mull of kintyre (with nova scotian flag on the big screen), bringing the sadness he's acquired in his 67 years to a spotlit solo of yesterday. add i saw her standing there, and a mix-up of a day in the life and all you need is love, plus...

well, you know the songs. there were tributes to john lennon and george harrison (a ukulele version of something), early hits like baby you can drive my car and mid-career giants like band on the run. hearing them live from the beatle himself was like watching shakespeare perform hamlet. sir paul even stormed through payperback writer, though starting off on the wrong note. he stopped the song, huddled with his band, then returned and ripped through it.

earlier, after calico skies, he stopped for a bit of banter. now, banter is not one of sir paul's great skills, and it tended to the 'are you having fun' side, but on this occasion he created magic. he grumbled about the troubles of trying to remember how a song goes, what the words are, and then being distracted by a sign.

this one read: 'will you sign my arm so i can get it tattooed.'

the camera found the sign and we all had a laugh - then paul shrugged and invited the girl onstage. for a few moments, beatlemania was condensed into one bonkers teen, who did get her arm signed, and who then ran around the stage screaming and crying and hugging sir paul and everyone she could get her arms around before being escorted off.

from the clear blue skies and hot sun that started the show, to the starry night that ended it, it was note perfect and will serve halifax well. if sir paul can play here, who's too big for us?

the opening acts were superb, too. the joel plaskett emergency was amazing as usual, before its biggest crowd ever. wintersleep put on a heavy set before him, but missed most of sir paul's show as they had to fly to ireland last night.

from the city's long seduction of sir paul, to the organization of the event, to the stage, opening acts and the massive crowd in perfect weather on the common, it was one of halifax's finest moments.

bring on kiss.


sir paul knocked me off the front page, but road warrior 4 is on page 2 of the herald today - exploring the ghost town of roxbury.
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