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Paul McCartney On The Jimmy Kimmel Live, Monday September 23rd 2013


And I had said I would not wait again for a concert on Jimmy Kimmel Live! I mean you have to show up at 4pm for a concert which starts at 8 pm, it’s insane! But when I got a ticket for Paul McCartney, Sir Paul McCartney, I didn’t even think about it twice. Come on, for him I would wait the whole day, and I actually did when he played at Amoeba in 2007! These free concerts are something special, they are unique, they are real events, and to be part of them is thrilling, just ecstatic, with that special and selfish feeling I-was-there-and-you-were-not!

They had shut down Hollywood boulevard for this occasion (and it will be the case till Wednesday as Jimmy Kimmel has a huge week with Justin Timberlake tomorrow), and this only happens for the Oscar ceremony! I arrived a little bit after 3 pm, and it was already a nightmare, people everywhere, huge lines and I started waiting in the wrong line when someone told me I had a priority ticket. What? I did not know that! What a nice surprise! So I went to another line but there were still hundreds and hundreds of people in front of me, obviously I wasn’t the only one excited to attend a free McCartney concert in Hollywood. McCartney and his band were rehearsing at this time and we were able to see him on the giant outdoor screen in intermittences with the Jimmy Kimmel live logo and the TV color bars: This still sounded surreal as he was playing a lot of oldies ‘Lady Madonna’, ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, ‘Let it Be’… people, around me were smiling, applauding while having a good sweat. I saw an old woman wiping some sweat off her forehead and dropping water in her neck. She must have been 70-75 and was waiting under the hot sun to see McCartney. I was coming straight from work, had only 3 gum in my pocket and I was thinking, are all these people out of work or did they take a day off? All these people, young or old, had given an afternoon of their lives, patiently standing and waiting for McCartney, while sipping some warm water from a plastic bottle, and looking at their numerous Beatles t-shirts.

Still, I could not see him, it was like watching TV from afar and I was still in denial, how did I get such a ticket? Then Paul McCartney stopped playing and there was still three hours to wait. ‘I can’t believe we are here’ said an ‘old’ guy behind me, and I guess it was everyone’s feeling around me, as the priority ticket had brought me quite close to the stage. The JKL crew was asking us to cheer up and applause every 15 minutes, it was for a TV show after all, and no one was complaining, that was the least these people could do. On stage, they were bringing a colorful small piano, whereas there was already a grand piano in the back, and soon Jimmy Kimmel and Paul McCartney were waving to us from the top of the El Capitan building.

On the giant screen, they projected part of the conversation he had with Kimmel, who was telling him he had made his mother cry. ‘Isn’t it a burden because you mean so much to people’, asked Kimmel, ‘it’s ok’, answered Paul, ‘because I can make them laugh sometimes’,….’It’s actually moving, ‘it’s beautiful to have this effect on people’,… ‘But you have to be careful because sometimes it can make you cry’. He sounded sincere and simple, as I have always heard him talk, a man aware of his impact on humanity, but embracing his role without an ounce of condescending attitude.

Starting from that moment, it was a countdown, I was checking the time every ten minutes, they were making us applause and cheer up every fifteen minutes and the temperature was rising. Then, it was finally time, McCartney arrived on stage under the expected hysteria, arms and iPhones in the air, girls’ strident screams (calm down, women he is 71!) and the feeling you have seen him live all your life. That’s the trick with McCartney, he is a huge star, but doesn’t act like one, he is so familiar, his songs are so intimately intricate with every moment of your life, there is not a chance you will be surprised by anything during the show, but moved? Sure you will, if you are like me.

But before anything else, McCartney was there to promote his ‘New’ album – yeah new is really the title – and he premiered a few new songs of this ‘New’ one, like the ‘New’ song he performed with the colorful piano. And this new one sounded a bit like an old one, reminiscences of ‘Penny Lane’ anyone? Plus behind this magical-mystery-tour-multicolor piano, it was memory lane jumping at your face. The set was effectively heavy on oldies, huge crowd-pleasers, big classics you want to hear at a Macca concert! But he had been clear from the beginning, ‘We are going to play two songs for TV’…. ‘and the rest is for you’, there was something so charming about this, like I am gonna give you the treat you want, and damn, Paul McCartney is allowed to do this! So he played the Beatles oldies, songs I was not expecting at all, like ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, ‘Lady Madonna’, ‘Birthday’, ‘Day Tripper’ and even ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’, as if we were back in the 60s and the New album was just a good excuse to shut down Hollywood boulevard. As expected, there were a lot of sing-alongs and McCartney was feeling sorry for the people way in the back, ‘and you all right back there?’… ‘in Santa Monica?’ I read there were 10,000 people on Hollywood blvd, so he wasn’t that far off. He even attempted to make the crowd sing on a new song, ‘Everybody Out There’, ‘You may pick it up you may not’ he said and there were such easily pick-able whoa-ooooo-ooos over a galloping rhythm on that one, that people sang them right away.

A few Wings songs later, and a dynamic ‘Back in the U.S.S.R.’ the set ended up with two huge Beatles songs, ‘Let It Be’ (performed with the grand piano), ‘Hey Jude’ (performed with the psychedelic small piano) and how can you top this? You simply don’t. As the crowd was singing along ‘Hey Jude’ chorus, this old one was doing its magic trick, and Paul McCartney looked like a kid still having lots of fun.

Magical Mystery Tour
Save Us (New album)
Junior’s Farm (Wings)
New (New Album)
Lady Madonna
Another Day
Everybody Out There (New album)
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Band on the Run (Wings)
Back in the U.S.S.R.
Day Tripper
Let it Be
Hey Jude

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