Paul McCartney Rocks SunLife Stadium

It was twenty years ago today, Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play. Okay, that’s totally inaccurate but it remains a fine way to begin a Beatles related post. The concert began with a pre-concert meal at the Hard Rock Casino, but since I was a bit early, I decided to donate some money to the Seminole Tribe empire through the use of their three-wheeled deposit-only magical mystery ATM machines. You stick money in, press some buttons and your money is gone. The trick always works. Still, I had fun. We ate, unsurprisingly, at the always awesome Renegade BBQ which I have reviewed quite a few times in this blog, so I won’t go over it again except to remind you it’s really good and you should eat there. I met Evan there right about 530 and we were seated and received decent service. That’s always been the restaurant’s weak spot. Service ranges from good to barely adequate and you never know what you’re going to get. They need to work on that because I think it probably drives people away. To me, the food is so good it just doesn’t matter. We left for the concert after dinner and arrived there about 630 to be greeted by the “pay $30 to park here” line. Ugh.

We went in, and I never park on the turnpike side at Joe Robbie (aka Dolphins, LandShark, SunLife, ProPlayer) stadium, but that was the way in from the Hard Rock without taking some monumental detours. We relaxed outside in some of the chairs until the gates opened a little past seven. Security was very light, based on crowd dynamics I assume. We were greeted by the obligatory PETA people passing out flyers and DVDs. I ignored them politely. I support some of their efforts but not all — and they’ve sort of gone off the deep end. The claim meat is murder, and it is: tasty, tasty murder. Okay, that was a tasteless comment, but that’s how it is.

We took a lap, split some ice cream, and finally went to our seats about quarter to eight. While it was a warm night initially, there was a nice breeze, so it wasn’t uncomfortable. We were surrounded by relatively decent, non-annoying people. The air was a bit heavy with pot smoke, but I suppose that was to be expected. Not so much the person somewhere off to my left who was polluting the air with either foul-smelling farts or an unchanged diaper full of rotten eggs. Couldn’t figure out who it was, but it wasn’t so pleasant.

The seating layout left a lot to be desired. It was configured in baseball diamond layout so picture the stage in a diagonal across a football field’s end-zone. We were looking at the stage from a forward 45° angle which wasn’t as bad as the people who bought the cheap seats who were looking at the side of the stage from a reverse 45° angle. I’m not sure how they saw anything since Paul really did the whole show from centre stage. The floor seats were expensive ($249) and I’m glad I didn’t buy them, they went really far back at very awkward angles to the stage. Even from our side-seats I was glad I brought the binoculars.

His voice was good, the sound quality was decent, though his mike had volume drops a few times. The show began about 835p, and ended about 1115pm (times approximate as I wasn’t watching the clock carefully). No intermission, which I respect. Most shows go 8 or 830 to 11 with an intermission and he went right through with nary a break except for a 30 second wardrobe change to remove his jacket when he began to sweat.

The set list is as follows. (Checked with two other sites to ensure accuracy).

1. Venus and Mars/Rock Show (montage)
2. Jet
3. All My Loving
4. Letting Go
5. Got To Get You Into My Life
6. Highway
7. Let Me Roll It/ Foxy Lady (Jimi Hendrix cover montage)
8. The Long and Winding Road
9. Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five
10. Let ‘Em In
11. My Love
12. I’m Looking Through You
13. Two Of Us
14. Blackbird*
15. Here Today
16. Dance Tonight
17. Mrs Vanderbilt
18. Eleanor Rigby
19. Something (George Harrison tribute partially on ukulele)
20. Sing the Changes
21. Band on the Run
22. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da**
23. Back in the USSR
24. I’ve Got a Feeling
25. Paperback Writer
26. A Day In The Life / Give Peace A Chance (John Lennon tribute)
27. Let It Be
28. Live and Let Die
29. Hey Jude
First Encore
30. Day Tripper
31. Lady Madonna
32. Get Back
Second Encore
33. Yesterday
34. Helter Skelter
35. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
36. The End

* Paul told a story how this song was about the racist events in Arkansas during the civil rights movement. When I saw his last tour, he played it and said it was about an attractive young black lady John had seen out his hotel room window when they were sequestered away from fans.

** He said he’d never played this on tour before in North America. Not true.

Leaving the show was a mess. While we got out ahead of most of the crowd, the exit from the turnpike was still set to five lanes into the stadium and two out. A big error that causes chaos as they tried to rectify it. I ended up having to go North and go home the much longer way due to incompetence of staff on hand. Added about ten miles extra to my ride. Still a banner night.

I’ll update my big-ass concert list with this show.

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