On October 10th, 2005 I drove to Toronto with some friends to see Sir Paul McCartney for the first time. I was excited to catch one of my top-five Beatles* live in concert and I’m happy to report that Sir P did not disappoint.
As a matter of fact, he was off-the-hook good. Just standing there leading a solid band through an endless hit parade of some of the greatest rock songs ever written would have been more than enough to make it worth the trip, but Sir Paul did so much more than that. He played guitar, bass and keyboards like a champion, he sang like an excited teenager, and he made twenty thousand dreams come true even if it was just another day at the office for him. In short, the man stood onstage and exuded greatness without seeming to make any effort at all; he simply flicked on the Rock Star switch and commanded the room. Jesus would have been humbled.
Eleanor Rigby, Hey Jude, Yesterday, Good Day Sunshine, Live and Let Die, Drive My Car, The Long and Winding Road, Got To Get You Into My Life, Jet, Maybe I’m Amazed, Get Back, Please Please Me, Sgt. Peppers, The End.
How could it be anything less than amazing?
He even played Mull Of Kintyre with a military pipe band backing him up, a rare song that he often pulls out when he plays here in Canada. In The End I was breathless.
Of course nothing could top that, right?
Back in the day I would be extra-excited to make a trip to Toronto if it fell on a Monday night, which this was. That’s because Monday night meant the The Sisters Euclid featuring the incredible Kevin Breit would be playing at the Orbit Room for $5, and if there was one guy I could still appreciate even after witnessing a talent as huge as Sir Paul McCartney, it was Kevin Breit. I attended countless Monday nights at the Orbit Room and not once was it anything less than jaw-droppingly good.
And so after the show in the cavernous Air Canada Centre my crew and I went to that tiny bar on College Street (which is co-owned by Alex Lifeson from Rush) and found one of the three front tables free, and with our cups already full The Sisters Euclid proceeded to runneth us over. “Woah,” was the most articulate any in our crew could be, as we sat in the booth transfixed and had our already-sensitive musical minds marinated in a rapid-fire melange of modes and instrumental morsels of goodness.
It was like an encore of nirvanic bliss after a show of hymnal perfection. Not bad for a Monday night.
*George Martin counts. So do Pete Best and Stu Sutcliffe.