My life—in the musical realm, at least—has been leading up to a certain day. For a while, I didn’t know exactly when it would go down, but I always knew deep down that it was gonna happen.
Well, now I do know exactly when it’ll all come full circle. That date, the date I’ve been waiting for since I was four years old, is today: July 17th, 2016 Anno Domini.
Today, I’m seeing Sir James Paul McCartney live in concert.
One of the two surviving members of the most influential and successful music group ever, my favorite member of said group, maybe the greatest songwriter of all time, and the definition of a multi-instrumentalist. And he’s gonna be right (well, not right; few hundred feet away but that’s closer than I’ve ever been) in front of me at my favorite place in the world, Fenway Park.
My duty to John Andersen here at Stitched Up is to put these events into words, but as cliché as this may sound, I can’t.
How do you summarize the feelings you have when you’re about to see the person who’s produced an uneven chunk of the soundtrack to your life? From all the highs to the lowest of lows, from here, there, and everywhere, from penny lanes to abbey roads, on birthdays (if I’m lucky enough to live past then, I’ll surely be listening to his work when I’m older than 64) and normal ones, The Beatles—but Paul especially—have been there every step of the blue jay way (that’s a John song; I cheated).
And I haven’t even mentioned Paul’s solo or Wings work. That’s enough for its own separate Only in Dreams post, which is a testament to how vast and deep this musical genius’ catalogue is.
I guess this is how it feels to be one of the beautiful people.
Paul’s notorious for playing insanely long concerts; we’re talking about 40 songs. I’m not complaining in the slightest, but that’s just what we’re dealing with here on this post. To make it more pleasurable for you—and to prevent me from going on a soapbox for evvvvvery siiiiingle sooooong on the hypothetical setlist for tonight—I’ll drop in every few songs with some key points. Let’s call it 30 normal set songs, then however many on the encore.
Remember: This isn’t a prediction of what the setlist will be. This is the ABSOLUTE best case scenario; look at this setlist as if there’s gonna be 35,000 Fitzys in the crowd.
1. “A Hard Day’s Night”
Tremendous opening tune. Just the thought of that first strum to kick off the show before Paul starts singing in lieu of John (RIP) gets me hot and bothered. And yes, using other Beatles members’ songs are absolutely legal. Why? Because I make the rules and I’ve been workin’ like a dog so I deserve this. I should be sleeping like a log, but I’m writing this for y’all. Thus, my rules.
2. “Drive My Car”
3. “Save Us”
Obligatory New songs will come about in the show, but the opener for Paul’s 2013 album is actually a hard rocker that’ll keep the crowd interested even if they don’t know a single word to it. Best possible spot for this song is #2 or #3, but it got bumped in favor of another album opener: the one for a lil’ ditty entitled Rubber Soul, uh, ever heard of it?
4. “Hello Goodbye”
5. “Eight Days A Week”
6. “All My Loving”
VAAAAAAASTLY underrated Beatles song. Might crack my top 10 overall, honestly; I’d have to think on it, but it certainly has a shot of making it.
Another obligatory New song that I like. Might be a “time-to-get-a-beer” song for most, but I enjoy it.
8. “In My Life”
Let’s slow it down a little bit. Beautiful song which, to my surprise, has a lot of plays on Spotify—almost 14 million. That’s good enough to put it into The Beatles’ top 10 most popular on the streaming service, which begs the question: when the fuck did “In My Life” become a top 10 most popular Beatles song? Nothing wrong with that, I love the song, but I just never would’ve guessed it would be in there. Hmm.
AKA “Scrambled Eggs”
10. “Help!” (on the piano)
Slower, piano version of the Beatles classic like he’s done on tour before.
11. “Eleanor Rigby”
12. “Love Me Do”
13. “I’ve Got A Feeling”
Another underrated song. This is a trend.
14. “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five”
15. “Getting Better”
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the greatest album in music history, finally checks in. Maybe the most under-appreciated song on that LP; Paul would kill this live.
16. “Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da”
Some people think it’s annoying. I love it. GTFO if you disagree.
17. “I’m Looking Through You”
Yet another underrated Beatles song. Beatles McCartney is gonna dominate my hypothetical show, unlike the real one I assume which will feature a bit more of his individual work. But anyway you cut it, “I’m Looking Through You” should make the set. It gets the people going.
18. “Penny Lane”
19. “Can’t Buy Me Love”
20. “Come Together”
Not to be followed by “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” and “Oh! Darling” if you look at the previous two selections. “Something” will forever and always be a staple of George’s creative genius, but I’ve always thought that Paul could’ve done about as good of a job singing it in the booth back when they were recording Abbey Road at, well, Abbey Road. Hearing it live would be good vindication of that hunch. Plus, it’s just a fantastic song.
23. “Maybe I’m Amazed”
24. “Let it Be”
One of the biggest hitters in Red Sox history, Manny Ramirez, wore #24, and one of Paul’s biggest hitters comes in at #24 on my setlist to round out a few slower ballads.
25. “I’ve Just Seen A Face”
Another underrated song to keep the energy high.
26. “Live and Let Die”
27. “Got To Get You Into My Life”
This song was played during the end credits of Minions. Did you see Minions? I did last year at the Wellfleet Drive In. Maybe the worst movie I’ve ever allowed myself to watch. No plot, it wasn’t funny, it was about 85 minutes but it went about 85 minutes too long. However, Inside Out followed it right afterwards so I guess it was worth it. But despite its appearance in an abomination of a movie, this song is still exciting. I won’t be thinking of those little yellow fuckers if he plays this…or maybe now I will be? I dunno. I digress.
28. “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”
29. “Back In The USSR”
What a way to close out the main set, with two straight White Album side openers; side 1’s followed by side 2’s (side 1 is better, by the way, although it’s close).
Thing is, though: the encore set may be even better.
31. “I Saw Her Standing There”
GET THE ENERGY RIIIIIGHT BACK UP WHEN HE COMES ON AGAIN!!!!
32. “Twist And Shout”
Just imagine if Bruce came out for the first two songs of this encore………..hey, if you do Bruce, mind playing “Thunder Road” or something? Y’know, seeing as you’re already there.
33. “Get Back”
34. “Helter Skelter”
I’VE GOT BLISTAHS ON MAH FINGAHS!!!!!!
35. “Band On The Run”
36. “Hey Jude”
Aaaaand there it is! I’ve been green with envy ever since I found out John was doing the na-na-na-naaaaa’s at Firefly last summer, but now I get to finally experience it for myself. This is the part of the concert I’m most excited for.
37. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
38. “With A Little Help From My Friends” (feat. Ringo)
That’s right: Ringo comes on stage for this song and the rest of the concert. Peace and love!!!!! Peace and love!!!!!!
39. “A Day In The Life”
This is a longshot for the actual concert. But, I’d honestly consider sacrificing my first—and potentially second—born child to see this live. This is my favorite song. Ever. Period. Best song from the best band’s best album. If Paul somehow played this beautiful song live—which is tough to do due to the orchestra and everything—then I can die in peace.
40. The Abbey Road Medley
Sorta cheating by counting this as one song, but whatever. Usually, Paul ends with “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” and “The End.” But I don’t want just that. Noooo no no noooooo. We’re starting with “You Never Give Me Your Money.” That’s right: 20 minute finale! I want it all. I wanna praise the Sun King. I wanna hang with Mean Mr. Mustard. I wanna meet Polythene Pam. And of course, I wanna come in through the bathroom window. Then, he can do those final three songs. And if he had the same sense of humor as me, he’d finish “The End,” have a HUGE standing O, walk off the stage for a minute, then walk back on for a second encore with just an acoustic guitar. Then, he’d do “Her Majesty” and walk off without batting an eye at the audience.
No matter what Paul McCartney plays tonight, it’ll be one for the ages. DJ Bean said it best:
Let’s get it Paul, and let’s all enjoy it, my brothers and sisters who’ll be in attendance.
All together, now.
Featured image courtesy of beatlemedo.wordpress.com