by Justin Trudell
I got a resounding “meh” from friends when I mentioned going to the second night of Paul McCartney at Little Caesars arena in Detroit. I’ve since given up on trying to change their minds. It’s like arguing politics on Facebook, no matter how logical my argument, it will never change anyone’s mind. Instead, they will tag me in dozens of stories that prove me wrong. Why do I even need to defend the greatness of Sir Paul? Why isn’t this opinion common among the snobbiest of music snobs? Well, he’s always writing “silly love songs,” that’s why.
Compared to some of his contemporaries, McCartney is thought of as a simpleton songwriter. He didn’t write with the social awareness of Lennon, or the depth of Dylan, or the exploration of Waters. There’s something to be said for writing songs that resonate with so many people, no matter how simple. Paul McCartney is kind of a sap, and he’s exactly what we need in life.
McCartney played his plethora of career spanning hits to a sold-out crowd. He jammed out a gigantic set list of 39 songs with classic Beatles pop songs like “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” to a few deeper cuts like “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” and “I’ve Got a Feeling.” McCartney even treated us to the first song he ever recorded as a member of The Quarrymen (his pre-Beatles group with John and George) “In Spite of All the Danger”. It was a delightful trip through the years of one of the most accomplished musicians of all time.
After each song, McCartney gave us a hammy reaction, the on-stage equivalent of a “dad joke.” During “Hey Jude,” he asked just for the fellas to sing the famous chorus as he did some Hulk Hogan-like flexing. We laughed along with his silliness. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and we love it. The predictably older crowd seemed to enjoy his stories, his showmanship, and some tunes they’ve probably never heard played live before. This crowd loved him. And I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it, even if I had to go alone.
Monday afternoon the news of Tom Petty’s death spread and it sunk in that Paul McCartney won’t always be around. This may have been the last chance to see him play his sappy love songs live. The songs I’ve been hearing all my life and I’ve enjoyed from the moment I heard them. I had to be there, and along with everyone else, I had a giant smile and fought off tears from the beautiful sappy music he’s been making for almost 60 years.