Paul McCartney @ Citi Field (7/21/2009)

This was exciting and a very unplanned adventure when it came down to it because the legendary former Beatles bass player Paul McCartney was doing a three night stint at the new Citi Field.  Pretty cool right, well, I totally agreed about that but since I was not going I did my best to avoid all news about it and figured that the whole shebang would make an eventual DVD release and that would be when I sat and enjoyed it.  Of course an old friend would surprise me with an extra ticket and how could one refuse this kind of show so off we went.  I was not on the “official business” stuff this evening but knowing me, there was no way that a show report would not come out of this.  You can learn more about the whole show by scrolling past the logo below.  There are also some shots of Citi Field and some comments about the place later in the narrative.

Logo - Paul McCartney

Artist: Paul McCartney
Venue: Citi Field (Queens, NY)
Opener: The Script
Date: 7/21/2009
Label: Hear Music

It wasn’t too long ago that I found myself “off duty” from the conventional shows that are covered on PiercingMetal.com and we had used that particular night off to enjoy a free concert being held by former Talking Heads front man David Byrne. The show took place in Brooklyn, over at the Prospect Park band shell and if you have some interest in learning our thoughts about that experience then you can do so by clicking HERE. That was truly a great night and one that was loaded with not only awesome music but wonderful people to enjoy it with and that made the whole experience a perfect concert at the end of the day. Tonight’s adventure would not be free by any stretch of the imagination but be something that I could not pass up as a reasonably sane fan of modern music. With that in mind when a longtime buddy called me up and invited me to join in on the fun I gladly tagged along. The legendary musician was doing a three night stint at Citi Field which is the home to the New York Mets baseball franchise, and while I lean more towards the Yankees, there was no way that I was going to pass up the chance to see how this place worked for a concert.

paul mccartney, paul mccartney live photos
Paul McCartney in Concert by Ken Pierce (2009)

I was not aware of this in advance but apparently Sir Paul would begin his Big Apple adventures by making an appearance on the David Letterman show and most people are aware at how this program is filmed at the same location that housed the Ed Sullivan Theatre. Those music historians among us will also recall that it was on Ed’s show that The Beatles made their very first appearance to the US Fans something like forty years. He would not perform inside but instead on top of the marquee and stop traffic for many, many blocks. This is one time that being stuck in traffic was worthwhile. I’m sure this was filmed for use on a DVD of some kind or at least a special that follows the musician’s tour. From here he would adventure into the shows at the baseball stadium and essentially be the first act to ever perform here. We got to the parking lot of the place a little earlier than expected and my friend and his co-workers wanted to do a little pre-gaming before heading inside and I am always game to do that and absorb some of the community that is hitting a show. After a couple of cold ones, the misty rain began which had been teasing us about making an appearance all day and was finally here but who cared, it was time to Rock. As we walked into Citi Field I had to admit that it was a very beautiful space and admired the work that was put into it. Clearly the Mets fans would be enjoying their teams work when they came for games. That is of course if the team was having a good season.

paul mccartney, paul mccartney live photos
Paul McCartney in Concert by Ken Pierce (2009)


The opening band was called The Script and while we were not seated for much of their set, we did manage to hear them as we made our way to the proper section. The band hails from Ireland and while I have heard their name on some of the music channels, I had to admit that their brand of Pop sensitive R&B was so sterile and uninteresting that it made me wish we had remained in the parking lot for another twenty minutes to have avoided them entirely. It appeared from my vantage point that only the floor section of the stadium was filling up while they performed and none of the above sections had been populated. Believe me those fans missed nothing as this band painfully took us through their material. They announced their “hit” with “The Man That Can’t Be Moved” which I could say was ok at best but their version of David Bowie’s “Heroes” was simply dreadful. Give me the original or even the version by Apocalyptica any day of the week. Of course I am not trying to be mean spirited about the group since there was a reason they were here tonight but for me this was a boring set and one that did not excite me for the upcoming legend. I would have preferred that if an Irish band was necessary that perhaps The Answer could have been selected since they not only handle a space like this well, but knock your socks off with some classic Rock & Roll ala Humble Pie. Once The Script had finished they walked off to very little fanfare and the audience was “treated” to almost thirty minutes of Techno music. That really made no sense because this was a classic Rock and Roll show and not made up of the kind of audience demographic that was going to receive such melodies in good stride. Didn’t anyone in the control booth have an IPod with a few classic bands on it? I mean The Stones, The Who and even a little Creedence Clearwater Revival would have been the smart choice for between set musical entertainment. Fortunately this would end eventually and across these massive screens we began to see relevant film footage to Paul McCartney’s life as a Beatle, Wings member and as a solo performer and this was pretty cool and started to bring back memories of the moments that I could recall as a music fan. The conclusion of the film meant that Paul was going to take the stage and here he was “Welcome to Queens Sir Paul!!!”

paul mccartney, paul mccartney live photos
Paul McCartney in Concert by Ken Pierce (2009)

Back in 1965, Paul McCartney performed with The Beatles over at Shea Stadium which was originally located a few hundred yards from where we were now sitting and of course this stadium was torn down as the new one was being constructed. It’s a nicer place here at Citi Field, but a lot of history went down into the rubble when they tore down Shea and that historic Beatles concerts was one of the many memories. Do you know that over 55,000 people saw The Beatles that night? Wow, that was a lot and I cannot even imagine how many were here but I didn’t think it was set up to fit as many in the new Citi Field. In any event this was a jam packed place and while it was raining lightly no one seemed to care as Paul took to the stage and began playing “Drive My Car”. My friend had seen the show that preceded this one and told me that Paul would be playing a long set and one loaded with Beatles. I normally get annoyed when I am tipped off about a show, but not tonight because this was news that I really wanted to hear. You knew that he had to jump back and forth and treat us to some music from Wings as well and that became clear as the second number done was “Jet” and had the whole audience on their feet. This would remain the case for the run of the night because if Paul was planning on standing for over two hours how could we do anything less.

Paul McCartney in Concert by Ken Pierce (2009)
Paul McCartney in Concert by Ken Pierce (2009)

He did a couple of new songs next which I believe come from his “Fireman” album but I have to check since I have not heard it yet. It was back to the Beatles with “Got To Get You Into My Life” and this was a treat because we got a sneak peak at the upcoming “Rock Band- Beatles” game. That really looked cool and is bound to be a hit that awakens interest in the younger fans to the back catalog of the Fab Four. I did learn that these shows were being recorded for an eventual release and while I am unsure if we shall see all three gigs in one set or a single DVD that spans the best of the three nights is anyone’s guess. Either way, this finds me keeping the narrative simple and letting you absorb more of the surprises when you get yourself a copy of the film. “My Love” found him dedicating the tune to his late wife Linda McCartney who he said was a New York girl and he picked up an acoustic guitar before singing “Blackbird” telling the audience that he had written this song for a civil rights activist at the time. He spoke softly about John Lennon and said that “Here Today” was written for him and about how he still misses him and “Dance Tonight” picked up the mood a little bit and found everyone clapping along. “Sing The Changes” while a good song surprised me with its screen visuals as it showcased President Obama’s face turning into streams of fireworks. Maybe it’s just me, but that didn’t look right even though the song was aimed at his governing the country now. That would appear to be it from the “political side” of the show tonight and I was fine with that – I was here for the music and no speeches, so Paul kept the large focus of the mood light. He teased a woman who had a sign that said “last chance Paul – marry me now”……he laughed and said “No”. When the woman turned the sign around it said “or sign my t-shirt”. Plenty of Beatles and Wings era hits kept coming and then a strange but effective blending of “A Day In The Life” into “Give Peace A Chance” which had the whole place singing along “for John” as Sir Paul put it.

paul mccartney, paul mccartney live photos
Paul McCartney in Concert by Ken Pierce (2009)

The crowd participation kept going as he led us through “Let It Be” and into a nothing less than explosive “Live And Let Die” that gave off so many explosions and fireworks that the night sky was a mass cloud of smoke that slowly dissipated into the New York night”. One would have thought the show was over now based on these two show stopping tunes but we still had another half hour or so to go according to my friends and again I was fine with this news. Paul kept the momentum building and it was partly based on just how talented his band was. Joining him this evening would be Paul “Wix” Wickens, Rusty Anderson, Abe Laboriel Jr., and Brian Ray; together they would deliver what would end up being a solid block of Beatles tunes until they said goodnight. Great stuff of course as “Hey Jude”, “Day Tripper” and “Lady Madonna” were all presented and everyone was holding their breath when it came to “I Saw Her Standing There”. The audience had expected a surprise because Billy Joel appeared at the Friday night show and I heard some crowd scuttlebutt about either Ringo Starr or Bruce Springsteen dropping in and if there was any time to do it, this would be the time. Of course there would be no guest but the song still kicked levels of ass. The reprise of “Sgt. Pepper’s” came and closed us out officially with “The End”. Whew was all I could say after this show. It was just past the two and a half hour mark and we had witnessed thirty four songs that gave no real break of any kind. That was admirable because Sir Paul is 67 years of age and still shows that he can rock us until they say its time to close up shop. When this comes out on DVD it is going to be a guaranteed treat and I will say pre-order this as soon as you hear it is coming out. Fans of The Beatles might also want to start saving their pennies because we were only a couple of months away from the release of the remastered catalog which was going to come out in both a mono box and a stereo boxed set. I am sure that they will be available as loose editions as well going forward but if you want the full scoop you will order one of the complete sets. This was an amazing night and one that I was happy that I was a part of. It would have been nice to sit just a little bit closer but they did have those giant screens which made it enjoyable in the visual sense. I couldn’t think of one bad minute of this show and am really looking forward to seeing this DVD. Citi Field has proven that it is a great concert space, so let’s see who comes here next. I think since it is Queens that we should get a nice outdoor concert happening for KISS, especially since Gene and Paul both hailed from the vicinity.

Full Paul McCartney Photo Gallery: https://piercingmetal.com/paul-mccartney-live-photos-citi-field-7212009/

Set List:
1. Drive My Car
2. Jet –
3. Only Mama Knows
4. Flaming Pie
5. Got To Get You Into My Life
6. Let Me Roll It
7. Highway
8. The Long And Winding Road
9. My Love
10. Blackbird
11. Here Today
12. Dance Tonight
13. Calico Skies
14. Mrs. Vanderbilt
15. Eleanor Rigby
16. Sing The Changes
17. Band On The Run
18. Back In The U.S.S.R.
19. I’m Down
20. Something
21. I’ve Got A Feeling
22. Paperback Writer
23. A Day in the Life/Give Peace a Chance
24. Let It Be
25. Live and Let Die
26. Hey Jude
27. Day Tripper
28. Lady Madonna
29. I Saw Her Standing There
30. Yesterday
31. Helter Skelter
32. Get Back
33. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
34. The End

This would also be my first time visiting the brand new Citi Field.  Personally I lean Yankees in terms of my baseball interests but that is surely not going to stop me from hitting events like this or even the occasional ballgame invite.  I just had to snap a few shots of the stadium from the parking lot where my friends and other fans did a little pre-gaming.

Welcome to Citi Field
Welcome to Citi Field

To the left of where we were stationed this evening was the entrance to the Left Field side.  Wow, to my left was the Left Field.  Fascinating.

Citi Field - The Left Field Parking Lot View
Citi Field - The Left Field Parking Lot View

The next shot you see if from the seats that we had and yeah we were high above the rest of mankind but who cared, this was the Paul McCartney concert and he was going to rock like no one’s business tonight.

Citi Field - The View From Above
Citi Field - The View From Above

I didn’t manage to get down to the white areas below but it seemed to be a promenade region set up and that’s where the chairs went so they would not destroy the field itself.  The little white tent in the center was where the sound board was set up and as you can see the side sections of seats were still rather empty even though there was an opening band on.

Citi Field & The Script Onstage
Citi Field & The Script Onstage

Here’s a shot of The Script, who are a band that hails from Ireland.  Though I realized that they had some fans in the stadium, I had to say that personally they were not doing anything for me.  The band has a self-titled release which you can order for yourself if you have heard of and like them by clicking HERE

Sir Paul McCartney
Sir Paul McCartney

Here is the man of the hour and he whom everyone was in place to see, the legendary former Beatle – Sir Paul McCartney.  There’s a number of cool shots in our full narrative of the show so look there for more.

Citi Field Inside Night View
Citi Field Inside Night View

It was a little tricky getting a full on view of the stadium’s interior once the lights had been turned off and the rocking turned on, but this gives you a slight idea just the same.

Citi Field by Night
Citi Field by Night

Here’s a view from the Parking Lot of the outside sign by night as the mass exodus of humanity made their way home.  A lot of people get to the stadium via the 7 Train, but this evening I was glad that we drove over since that crowd was too much for me. Oh and before we go, check this out.  You probably know how Citi Field was built for the apparent exclusive use of the New York Mets baseball franchise and yet as I walked around the property, I hardly saw any actual signage for the team.  Granted I was way up high above the world but I expected a lot of logos to be at every glance and this was not the case.  I didn’t even see an image of their team mascot Mr. Met!!!

Mr. Met
Mr. Met

I really expected him to be there because I could have sworn I read about his interest in artists like Sir Paul McCartney and this was one hell of a show which he could have used the break in attending and also done a little bit of rallying for his team.  Perhaps he was in the city seeing something else at B.B. King’s tonight, but anyway while I veered off course with this just a little.  I did want to show you the most prominent piece of NY Mets signage that I saw and here it is.  Can you guess where I found this?

N.Y. Mets Signage
N.Y. Mets Signage

Believe it or not we passed this sign on the way down to the parking lot and it was the most prominent logo for the team that I saw throughout the whole night.  I had to say that I felt a little sorry for the fans of the team that the largest sign observed came into sight as we were leaving the stadium.  I know there had to be more around but I just didn’t see them and when I mentioned this to a friend he told me that this was a very loud complaint from the fans already.  If you were not paying much attention you would be hard pressed to even know you were in the new home of the Mets.

The Official Branding at Citi Field
The Official Branding at Citi Field

You certainly knew from walking around that Citigroup had funded the place’s construction, so it was nice to see how my bank’s money had been used.  Of course you see under the branding that there is an unlit “Let’s Go Mets” text and since this was not a baseball game we did not see it used during the show.  It would have been nice to capture that, and perhaps I shall if I attend a game some time in the future and have one of the Piercing cameras at our beck and call.

Official Website: http://www.paulmccartney.com

One thought on “Paul McCartney @ Citi Field (7/21/2009)”

  1. cool shots, Ken — I spent lots of hours trying to figure out if Paul was dead, your report clearly shows him as alive and well, plus we love Rusty Anderson – who sent us his solo CD a while back, great stuff, especially “Devil’s Spaceship…!”

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