Nearly 60 years after the Beatles became an international phenomenon and toured North America for the first time, Paul McCartney returned to Baltimore on Sunday night. At one point, the audience in Oriole Park was asked to scream just as adorable fans did in the ’60s, and party-goers were, of course, compelled.
“You still get it,” McCartney told the audience.
The same can be said of McCartney, who turned 80 this week and performed a two-hour, 40-minute show on Sunday night as part of his “Got Back” tour. Fans repeatedly wished him a happy birthday, thanks to his charm and the catalog of beloved songs from his days with the Beatles, wings and solo artist, he dazzled and greeted tens of thousands of ardent fans. An official number for attendees was not immediately provided.
“That’s all pretty cool,” McCartney told the audience early on the set. “I’ll take a second to myself to drink it all.”
Although McCartney last performed in Baltimore in 1964 at the Civic Center, at least three fans in attendance have seen him perform in the city before, having seen him as children in September 1964, when Beatlemania—and his beloved long-haired star— Magic conquered the city.
Jill Brook, 71, was 13 and had a band with a neighbor in 1964. They attended the show at the Civic Center, although on Sunday was the first time Brook had actually heard of McCartney. It was so chaotic in 1964 that it was almost impossible to hear the Beatles playing music to the screams and wrath of obsessed fans.
“We all dreamed of packing our bags, getting on a plane, hiding on the plane and back with them,” Brooke, a retired teacher who has lived her whole life in Maryland, said of English rock. “That was our dream.”
Although that experience was about the Beatles’ “phenomenon,” she said Sunday was more about “the music.” She and her son, Ryan, were part of a small group that heard McCartney play 11 songs during an audio check earlier in the day — and this time, Brooke could hear McCartney, her always-favourite Beatle.
This was the second major concert ever at Oriole Park after Billy Joel gave a show that ran out completely in 2019.
“Seeing a legend in Oryol Park – you can’t beat it, it’s something I’m going to tell my kids about,” Ryan said.
Ray Lear, 70, was also 13 at the time the Beatles only performed in Baltimore, and he also remembers the park buzz in 1964, when the Beatles played two back-to-back Sunday sold-out shows.
“Between the flashing of light bulbs and the constant screaming, you had no idea what was really going on—what songs they were singing or something,” he said.
On Sunday, he wore a T-shirt with the words “When I Turn 64” written by The Beatles and attended the show with his wife and friends. When he watched the show in 1964, he paid $2.50 to enter; On Sundays it costs a little more.
He said, “Two decimal points have been changed since 64.”
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Lehr and Brook both described the show opportunity as a “once in a lifetime,” and McCartney was very well received. McCartney, accompanied by two guitarists, a drummer, a keyboardist, and a jazz treble player, was greeted at any time he moved a muscle–including a sip of water–and booed only once, when, after 11pm, He hinted that the concert might need to wrap up soon.
The music icon has enjoyed close to 40 songs, as well as banter and anecdotes over the years.
He made a touching tribute to John Lennon, participating in a virtual duet with the late former Beatles, and also paid a tribute to George Harrison. McCartney shared a story from a Jimi Hendrix show in the 1960s, when Hendrix’s guitar was out of tune, and he looked into the audience, and asked Eric Clapton to tune it for him.
It was easy to forget Omar McCartney, as he gave a lively performance. The parade was completed with fireworks, and at the end of the set, McCartney and others marched on stage carrying flags supporting Ukraine, the United States, England, Maryland, and gay pride.
McCartney, a solo artist and former member of the world’s leading rock band, sang mainly Beatles songs, among them: “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “Love Me Do”, “Blackbird”, “Ob-La-Di Ob-La” -Da” and “Hey Jude.” While playing “Let It Be,” a large portion of the stadium lit up their phones.
Bob Matarusa was at The Beatles in 1964 and attended the Sunday party as well. He was wearing an Orioles shirt with “McCartney” embossed across the back and number “64” – while an attendee wore an Orioles shirt with “McCartney” embossed on the back and number 22.
“It’s been a long time since,” Matarosa said. “I’m glad he’s back.”