Beatle mania has hit Edmonton, and it’s sweeping everyone up in its wake. Paul McCartney wowed a packed Rexall Place last night, the first of two shows for the former Beatle in the City of Champions. Donning a black suit over a pink shirt with jaunty black suspenders, McCartney amazed the sold-out crowd by playing his famous songs for almost three full hours.
Lucky concertgoer Deanna Allen raved about the show, “He played straight through. No breaks. He took his coat off at one point and said, ‘That’ll be the only wardrobe change of the evening!’ He played one hit after another and had the whole place in a frenzy.”
Allen, whose seat was in the front row of the second level, had a great view of the concert. “The stage was large, the lights and pyrotechnic displays were incredible. They just did such an awesome job. There were a few twenty-somethings behind us who were just as excited as I was. That’s the thing about this music – it spans the generations.”
The show started off with a bang as McCartney launched into Magical Mystery Tour to get the Edmonton crowd on its feet. Special tributes to John Lennon and George Harrison were also part of the evening. “He came out on stage with a ukulele and sang ‘Something’ in tribute to George Harrison. It was beautiful. He started the song on his own but then slowly the rest of the band joined in,” said Allen.
For the famous Scottish tune ‘Mull of Kintyre,’ made popular by McCartney’s band Wings, the Edmonton Police Service bagpipes came out to accompany him. Allen was impressed by the way McCartney interacted with the crowd, “He did such a good job of making Edmonton feel included in the concert. The bagpipes were great and at the beginning of the first encore he came out with a Canadian flag. At one point he brought a girl up on stage who had come with a sign that read ‘This is the only tattoo my dad will approve of.’ McCartney asked her where she wanted the tattoo, she lifted up her shirt and he signed her rib cage! It was wild.”
This concert was special for everyone in attendance, and for the city of Edmonton itself. McCartney isn’t known for his far-reaching tours; in fact, these two concerts in Edmonton are two of only three shows he is doing in Canada (the first was in Vancouver on November 25). The capital city is embracing the attention and has been holding McCartney-related events all week, including a British beer and scotch tasting event and a showing of a Hard Day’s Night at City Hall. In addition to these activities, a tailgate party was held last night before the concert and will be open again before tonight’s show. From 4 – 7pm, attendees will be able to purchase merchandise early and listen to British-inspired entertainment while sipping on some ale.
This once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a Beatle perform was not lost on Allen, “I had to just stop for a moment during the concert and tell myself not to look at the big screens. Just stop and look at the picture around me. I was looking at a Beatle. We were all in the presence of a music legend, hearing songs that I never dreamed I would ever hear live. It was just so cool.”
Those lucky enough to have snagged tickets for his second show tonight will no doubt be feeling the same thing.
Krista Wiebe is a freelance writer and editor based in Calgary, Alberta. Follow her on Twitter @KristaWiebe.
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