Last Night: Sir Paul McCartney at Minute Maid Park
Seeing Paul McCartney live is a lot of things. It's communing with a spirit that touched millions and will touch millions for as long as humanity lurches forward. It's hearing the old schmaltzy bedrock anthems and the proto-everything blasts that made the past 50 years of music so damned interesting.
And it's also about witnessing a man who, even at 70, can still rip a crowd a new anal opening with a flick of his wrist and a mischievous wink.
Wednesday night's McCartney gig at Minute Maid Park could have been his last in Houston ever. That's a reality that had its bony hand on my shoulder all day before the show and during the whole night.
Starting at 9 p.m. sharp and running close to midnight, McCartney's set was an exhibition of the past 50 years of pop and everything that is hopefully to come.
And would you believe that the man nary took a drink of water, rushed off stage for a costume change, an oxygen treatment, or an instrumental break for two hours? Even still his energy levels were off the charts, for anyone of any age.
Maybe he really did die in 1966 and was replaced by a robot.
Things kicked off with "Magical Mystery Tour" with a haze of stage fog. The show did begin a bit subdued to be honest, which was at first terrifying but when your set is close to 40 songs long (he played 37 Wednesday) it's not a race, it's a jog.
The mixture of Beatles and Wings material was genius and seamless, and truth be told it actually seemed like the crowd around me reacted to the Wings work with more excitement and gusto than the Fab Four stuff.
I swear the loudest cheers I heard were not for "Yesterday" or "Let It Be," but for "Maybe I'm Amazed." I can't explain that.
The McCartney performance tics we have all grown up with are still pumping right along: The head bob, the head nod, the coos in the right places, the knowing winks and smiles. The Höfner bass. His veteran backing band was also able to turn on a dime with him and has mastered every possible nuisance of the Beatles/Wings canon.
McCartney peppered his goofball stage banter ("How-Stun? Hugh-ston?") with old war stories about his famous friends, that fraternity of rock gods.