The energy in the Carrier Dome was electric as the more than 35,000 concertgoers shuffled into their seats to await Sir Paul McCartney. As it drew closer to the start time, the heat grew more oppressive as the eager bodies packed into the Dome. Despite the sweltering temperature, McCartney generated an unbelievable concert experience on Saturday, blessing Syracuse with his majesty.
Like the true legend he is, McCartney delivered one of his most impressive performances yet. When McCartney told the audience that they were “going to have a party,” he didn’t disappoint. Opening with “A Hard Day’s Night,” McCartney and his band charged forward with a power that increased with each song.
Throughout the show, McCartney happily engaged with the crowd by sharing stories, dancing, and laughing along to fans’ signs. Like an old friend telling a funny story, McCartney recounted the moment he met the Soviet Defence Minister who had learned English from listening to Beatles records. Other memorable stories included McCartney’s accounts of times spent with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones.
McCartney taught us to never be afraid of or hesitate telling someone how you feel about them – he admitted that he wished he had told John Lennon that he loved him before his death. The song “Here Today” is McCartney’s way of letting Lennon know how he felt — a mixture of love and pain emanated through his performance.
McCartney heartwarmingly danced and smiled along with fans as he carried us through decades of music from his Quarrymen days all the way to his 2015 single with Rihanna and Kanye West. The concert was a powerful ride through Paul McCartney’s musical history and a tribute to the permanent effect of his music. His age did not stop him from dominating his performance, and his voice was as strong as it was 50 years ago. He had plenty of help from his talented friends and bandmates: drummer Abe Laboriel Jr., guitarist Brian Ray, guitarist Rusty Anderson, and keyboard and percussionist Paul Wickens who all contributed to backing vocals during the three-hour set.
Playing without a single break until the short break before the encore set, McCartney seemed more machine than man. It was hard to imagine that McCartney — who turned 75 this year — could have the strength, energy and stamina to shred through more than 30 songs without stopping, further amplifying the legendary status he holds so deservingly.
Crowd favorites like “Eleanor Rigby,” “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude” had the entire Dome audience screaming the lyrics at the top of their lungs in a display of solidarity and love. Just as it did back in the 60s, McCartney’s music brought people together once again nearly 50 years later. His moving speech on the state of civil rights in America before playing “Blackbird” demonstrated that although many things have changed from the 60s, we still need to fight for equality in a country and world that should have secured it years ago. It was not the only time McCartney showed his loving, accepting nature – at the start of the encore set, he and his bandmates stormed the stage with a variety of flags (British, American and rainbow) in a display of unity.
The pyrotechnics and lights enhanced McCartney’s performance even further. During his rendition of “Live and Let Die,” the impressive technology created an experience that was a feast for nearly all of the senses.
McCartney’s dynamite medley of “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry that Weight” and “The End” finished the night perfectly, especially with the eruption of colorful confetti.
Witnessing the immense greatness of Paul McCartney in concert can only be summed up as monumental. For those who saw him perform on Saturday, it was the closest most of them will ever get to seeing The Beatles in concert. No matter how hot and sticky it was in the Dome, it was all completely worth it to see one of the greatest musical talents in history perform live.
For three hours, we drifted back in time to the 1960s, a time where people fought ferociously for civil rights, equality, and peace — a time not unlike our own. Because of McCartney, everyone in the Dome came together as one to hear him perform his legendary songs and deliver his unwavering message of peace and love. Such a night will never be forgotten.