Considering the trend of artists keeping their audiences waiting and the bad luck Syracuse has had with artists performing in the past, I didn’t think twice when the clock read “8:00” and I had just left my dorm. It’s typically a pleasant surprise when artists begin even 30 minutes after their scheduled time, and my friends and I expected nothing more at the Carrier Dome. But oh, how we were wrong. While I strolled across the quad at 8:15, the distant sound of applause grew louder and louder, and before I knew it, I was in a full sprint attempting to salvage the beginning of “Save Us.” Once we got to our seats though, it didn’t even matter. We were in the presence of a Beatle.
From guitar, to piano, to vocals, McCartney (now 75 years old) and his band gave three hours of nonstop energy and passion. Songs from his solo\Wings career like “Band On the Run,” “Let Me Roll It,” “Live and Let Die,” and many more had everyone in the audience vibrantly screaming on the top of their lungs. But what created unity among the crowd (that ranged from 10 to 80 years old) were the many Beatles classics he covered. Some of my personal favorites including “Got to Get You Into My Life,” “Lady Madonna,” “I’ve Got a Feeling” and a beautiful acoustic version of “Something.”
The variety of fans was a beautiful sight to see: I watched as the three elderly friends next to me smiled and tapped their feet along with the drum beat as they reminisced when they sat front row for the Beatles in 1963 (true story). They watched my friend and I as we sang and danced our hearts out to a band that broke up thirty years before we were born.
What made the show so special though, was McCartney’s communication with the audience during transitions that gave us insight on his life; whether it was how a song originated, a tribute to a bandmate, these brief conversational moments connected you with McCartney and not only showed the happiness he still gets out of performing, but also the genuine love and care he has for his fans. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face as he held his guitar up or threw his arms up in admiration after every song. His explanation of how “Here Today” was written for John Lennon after his death gave me chills when I heard the lyrics live, and even lead me to shed a tear or two.
Throughout the show, I couldn’t help but think that this is history. Not only is it historic because it’s McCartney’s first time playing in Syracuse, but the artists that have recently performed in the Dome are nowhere near the level of Paul McCartney, and for people of our generation to say they’ve seen a Beatle perform live is pretty extraordinary. Also considering this might very well be “The End” of McCartney’s touring days, I feel that much more grateful to have been able to see him live, and I know everyone else in the audience felt the same.