Paul McCartney
Back in the World 2003
Tuesday 27th May 2003
RDS Main Arena

Paul McCartney. I should get the bad bit out of the way first. The fact is, I've never been a big Beatles / Paul McCartney fan. I know the importance of the music, I find the Beatles fascinating, but with the exception of Sergeant Pepper's I've never played a Beatles / Paul record on a comfortable repeat listen at home.

Which means that I attended the gig from a fairly neutral point of view, as with many bands before.

I left work at about four, wandering into a bright Baggot Street. There's nothing like getting off work early - although getting off school early is pretty much identical. We went to Eddie Rockets for a "snack". I had the chicken thingies. Then we walked to the RDS.

At the RDS, Dr. J (yeah, it was me and him) tout-swapped our naff seated tickets for standing tickets. We joined the queue behind a guy who was stoned and drunk. During our waiting period (both on the main road and in the penultimate pre-arena queues) we had the pleasure of listening to Mr. McCartney sound checking. This was a peculiar and rare pre-gig distraction.

They let us in, and we half obeyed the "don't run" commands until it was time to leg it full pace. End result - three people back from the front. Top Dollar.

So we waited. It rained a little. I put my hat on. I took my hat off. We read the silly text messages, wondered why they didn't put our ones up. People smoked the evil weed, people asked odd questions. A little bit of paper-rock-scissors was played, but my brain was off.

The pre-show act was interesting, but perhaps for the wrong reasons. It was theatre, and I again had the odd feeling of watching actors without the protection of celluloid. The girl in the white dress was divine.

There was no real break before Paul appeared (initially on the big screen in silhouette, which was then raised to reveal the singer and the band). He started singing "Hello Goodbye". Everybody started singing "Hello Goodbye".

The concert itself was a pretty big deal, and once again I don't feel duty bound to recount it detail by detail. The band were damned good, and produced everything they needed from a five piece line up (inc the Paul). The guitarists were exceedingly "cool" (for lack of a better word). The guy stage right was wearing a black velvet jacket like the one I'd found weeks before. Both guitarists had the taught expressed faces and hair of lithe professional musicians. Keys were excellent, drums were extremely happy all the time. Paul - played bass very nicely, played guitar (inc solos) far better that I could have thought. He seemed to sing like he was half his age.

Songs - they played a lot of stuff. Sometimes full band, sometimes just Paul with a guitar, keyboard or ukulele. Every song was pretty perfect in terms of sound and feeling. Little things like "She's Leaving Home" were worth the ticket price alone. "Back in the USSR" had me smiling for a couple of days. "Live and Let Die" had mini-fireworks and some very warm flame-throwers.

I'm sure I could go on or a while, but the sun's warming my face and I'm getting closer to work. If you didn't go, you should have gone. Anybody who thought that it was just a second fiddle-player to the great John Lennon missed an important opportunity. When the show ended we lay on the ground for a few mins then left. Part of our discussion involved the rating of the May concerts. It was Paul, Radiohead, and then Beck. I like the music in the opposite order.

We walked away, phoned Domino's, and had them deliver much needed sustenance to my workplace on Baggot Street.

(and here's what Dr. J had to say about it (includes a list of songs performed))

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