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Paul McCartneyPaul McCartney

 

in Concert


- RDS - Dublin


27 May 2003

 

Yesterday, all my doubles seemed so far away . . .

 

WE'RE NOT saying that the crowd in the RDS last night was well-preserved, but if this was Spring Show Week, they would have carried away first prize in the jam section.

 

Last night's sell-out Paul McCartney concert was one of those rare musical events these days when the gardai on duty were conspicuously younger than the fans streaming through the turnstiles.

 

As the 30-40-50-somethings onwards crowded the pubs in Ballsbridge early last evening, it didn't look so much like a walk down Merrion Road as a nostalgic stroll down Memory Lane.

 

For once, the tables were turned. This particular gig saw No 1 son dropping off Mammy and Daddy in the BMW before the show. That's not to say that the 32,000-plus attendance was of a variety ready for the knacker's yard. Apart from the fit and up-for-it oldies, there were plenty of younger fans who were just as excited by the prospect of seeing a music icon perform onstage in Dublin.

 

None more so than four lads from Lucan who caused quite a stir when they arrived in gold-braided Sergeant Pepper-style frock coats, complete with four 1960s mop-top haircuts. Tom O'Hare, Alan Bugle, Alan Curtis and Dave McMahon were feted by the crowd both outside and inside the arena.

 

Although they are in their 20s and far too young to remember Paul in his Beatles heyday, Tom told us that they are mad McCartney fans and had been planning the night for six months. "I'd been praying he'd come here. He's the greatest songwriter and the greatest artiste of all time. All of us have followed him for years, my Da has every LP at home on vinyl," said Tom, who works in An Post.

 

Despite the steep ticket prices and earlier indications that the worldwide record-breaking show might not be a sell-out in Dublin, come 7pm last night all the €105 and €75 tickets had been snapped up.

 

Among the crowd was Michael Joyce from Essex in England who is married to Ciara from Dublin. Michael is such a McCartney fan that the RDS concert was his fourth time to see Macca's Back in the World show. He flies to Liverpool on Sunday to see his hero in the final concert of the tour.

 

From Sixties icon, to icon in his sixties, McCartney proved last night that he can still magnetize music-lovers the way he did when last he appeared here 40 years ago. Then, Paul and co had to be spirited out the back of the Adelphi Cinema and driven to safety in an Evening Herald van.

 

Last night, McCartney - this time alone - had the wherewithal stature to make a much more dignified departure. While many said the sound quality at the open-air concert could have been better, most ticket-holders were well able to supply the words themselves anyway.

 

There may have been some pre-show theatrics, but old hand McCartney preferred to let the music impress his crowd. There were no fancy costume changes, he performed the two-and-a-half hour set wearing faded denims, a plain red t-shirt and a black Beatle-style jacket.

 

His only prop in a world of rock pyrotechnics was the guitar slung around his shoulder. But it was that sort of night. Half of RTE must have been there from Gay and Pat to Gerry and Ronan and not forgetting the likes of Larry Gogan, Mary Kennedy, Maxi, John Kelly and Ryan Tubridy. Ryan, the most famous young fogey in Irish broadcasting, and the next presenter of the Rose of Tralee, is an absolute McCartney nut.

 

He has already seen the show, and last night, in honour of the occasion, he wore a 1960s black suit with a JFK election campaign badge in his lapel. "He's a real rock star, he doesn't have to dress to impress. I love him, he's the best," said Peter Aiken the show promoter. Peter, who has put hundreds of acts through his hands over the years isn't easily impressed.

 

This must pass as one of the happiest concerts to have taken place in Dublin in a long time. An appreciative audience, there to pay homage and have a good time. And McCartney who performed all the Beatles and Wings favourites, didn't disappoint.

 

Among those enjoying the spectacle was U2s The Edge who wandered into the standing area with his wife and watched a master at work.

 

The St John's Ambulance told us they had over 60 officers on duty. "But we're not anticipating much trouble here tonight" said one of them.

 

Republic of Ireland Manager Brian Kerr looked like he's been taking some fashion tips from his young charges, resplendent in a soft suede jacket. "I feel like I'm auditioning for a part in Cheyenne", confessed Brian, who said he grew up with the Beatles and loved them. Also enjoying a rare night off was top impressario Louis Walsh who laughed when we commented that it must be a change for him to be watching a real star.

 

Also there was Harry Crosbie, hotelier David Doyle, comedian Jon Kenny, Fr Brian Darcy, and Sean Keane of the Chieftians. We didn't spot a politician - the crowd was probably too young for them.

 

It's ironic that the title of McCartney's latest album is 'Driving Rain' as it pelted down before he took the stage. There was no shortage of golf umbrellas among the paying guests, but most of them were confiscated at the gate by bouncers. Did nobody tell them that they weren't at a heavy metal concert? The nearest to bodily harm they were going to get last night was somebody going over on their ankle on the slippery grass.

 

Of course, Macca, who thrilled the crowd with classic after classic, is not the last of the old best brigade in town this summer. Don't forget most of last night's revellers will be rocking to Bruce Springsteen on Saturday night.

 

Tony O'Brien, late of the Indo parish and now PR guru to a number of showbiz clients, including Ticketmaster, says that ticket sales so far indicate the busiest summer yet for sales in Ireland with Robbie Williams, Eminen and the upcoming Slane and Witnness Festivals still to go.

 

Miriam Lord
Irish Independent ©

 

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