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Love McCartney do – the music legend charmed and charged up our weekend

May 20, 2013

At one point on Saturday night, Paul McCartney sidled up to the microphone to say, “Love me a little bit of adulation.” And man, did Orlando oblige, yet this was just as charming as it might have been coming from the younger Paul McCartney whose nostalgic photos were seen occasionally slideshowing behind his set.

There are certain things you expect from an arena show (glitz/glam), and there are certain things you expect from a music legend (hits/banter), and when it came to the Paul McCartney “Out There” tour, which played nearly identically – like a skipping record, if you’ll allow – two nights in a row in Orlando over the weekend, the show crazy-delivered on both counts. There were explosions, fire, fireworks, insane light shows, massive confetti dumps and even a projection of Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp signing the words to “My Valentine.” It was over-the-top, chilling and emotional, and, quite predictably, Sir Paul bested even his FX team with rocking, fearless vocals that proved he’s retained more than just the lovable hip shake he repeatedly indulged the audience in, like a goofy uncle who gives you what he knows you want to see.

McCartney’s fans were a mix of old and young. He blew kisses to all of them throughout the show; I swear, you could see them floating like little hearts through the neon lights. I had the pleasure of sitting across the aisle from an actual screaming teenage girl, who bobbed and cried and shrieked, her phone overhead pumping it repeatedly. She wore braces and at one point shook so hard, her orthodontic wax fell on the floor. The next closest apparent superfan was OW‘s own Billy Manes, who especially lost his shit when the opening notes of “Band on the Run” played. The audience overall was infinitely more invested in expected Beatles songs like “Day Tripper” than Wings songs like … any of them. What delighted me most and what I most feared heading in was that not once did the chorus of a packed Amway Center overpower Paul McCartney’s singing, even during “Hey Jude,” which was probably the single-greatest highlight for every single person in attendance who was seeing what the ticket scalpers outside the arena called the “Beattie Boys” for the first time.

The arena was electric and alive, with much less sentimentality and a lot more energetic attentiveness. Whether he was at the piano or pulling out a 12-string for “Another Day,” the audience was appreciatively rapt. It felt special, and I was surprised by how a song like “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” stirred up all these dormant feelings rooted in my memory. When he told us that it was his first time performing “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” in the states, I thought: how extraordinary. When he said the same about “Lovely Rita,” though, I thought: how is that possible? but sources tell me that the next night, he indeed qualified his performance of the same song as his second time. It demonstrates, I think, how even a music legend can continue giving his fans something extra, and between his adorable anecdotes about grasshoppers and funny self deprecation regarding his ukelele, there was nothing to do but love McCartney do.

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