Jennie Swenton, Kris Tash and Patti Murawski reported Nov. 1 that Paul McCartney’s show at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina on Oct. 30 contained some unexpected moments including strange noises and a twist to the “sign me” requests that are seen at many of his shows.
“Paul arrived late to the venue, just before 6 p.m., so the doors couldn’t be opened to the public until after soundcheck,” Murawski said. “I heard that he did ‘Alligator’ and a bit of ‘Big Barn Bed’ at soundcheck from friends who had been there.
“We had also heard that the governor was coming to the show and his security may have caused some of the delay. There was a huge crowd at the main entrance by the time the doors opened at 7:05, but a friendly police officer had tipped us off to the side entrances where we only had to wait about 10 minutes to get inside.”
“At the very start, from my seat,” Swenton said, “I could tell that Paul and the band were walking to the stage, though I couldn’t see them. What I could see was the audience sitting in the side section, all standing and watching with arms out-stretched, camera flashes going off, and Paul’s arm/hand as he reached up to high-five a few folks in the lower rows on his way to the stage.”
“The show started about 8:30, with Paul coming onstage to thunderous applause, opening with “Magical Mystery Tour,” Murawski said. “He was wearing a dark, long drape coat.” Swenton said audience reaction to all the songs was good, including the “NEW” selections. “Of course, they saved their loudest reactions for the Beatles tunes,” she said. McCartney told the crowd it was the last night of their American tour.
“I felt it took him a while to get his voice in gear,” Murawski said. “There were a few times in the show that he hit some rough patches, not that anyone was really noticing! Just proves that it is ‘live and not Memorex.’ People sitting in the front section area in which I was sitting also took a bit to get into the show, which surprised me. After ‘Listen to What the Man Said’ I commented to my seat mate that you could tell it was close to Halloween because we seemed to be sitting in a dead zone!
“We got a few variations on the stage chat this night,” she said. “One I remember was about ‘Something.’ He talked about George being a ukulele player, and after the crowd applauded and cheered to recognize George instead of the usual story about George giving him the Gibson uke that he plays, he said that George was his little friend, that they rode on the same bus to school and that he (Paul) got on the bus one stop before George. They became friends when they started talking about music and guitars. Then he went into the other part of the story about how he told George he had learned one of his songs, and that he would play it for us now.
“He introduced ‘Being for the Benefit of Mister Kite’ saying it was the ‘closest we get to Halloween,’ which I figured he meant in atmosphere. After the song, he spoke about the circus poster on the wall at John’s house and how the words were all there on the wall and they just wrote them down!
“When he got to the encore and it came to the point in the show where ‘Hi, Hi, Hi’ is usually performed, he looked out into the audience and with a sweep of his arm said, ‘We have quite a lot of birthdays out there’ and launched into ‘Birthday.’ The reason I was at the show was because I was celebrating a birthday and it was a present to myself. I couldn’t have been more thrilled! I knew another Paul fan in the audience also celebrating a birthday and was equally thrilled for her.
“The icing on the cake was when Paul called up an acquaintance from Philadelphia, Nina, who is a longtime fan who is seen frequently at his shows. She told me later that she had wanted to make a sign, and as a lark, at the last minute, made a sign that said ‘Trick or Treat, sign my feet.’ Paul had made mention of it more than once during the show. She told us later when she got onstage she asked if he would just sign her shoe, but he said, no! He made a big production of it, telling her ‘Get your shoes off.’
“Brian Riddle handed him a can of foot spray, he sprayed her foot, rubbed it down with a towel, braced her foot on his leg and took a sharpie and signed it across her instep! Later, after the show, concertgoers and facility staff were walking up to her on the concourse wanting to take a photo of her foot, or have their picture taken with her. We kept telling her she had to have it tattooed to preserve it, and I’ve found out since that she did so on Saturday afternoon.”
“When Paul joked more than once about the ‘Trick or Treat: Please Sign My Feet’ sign, I knew something was up!,” Kris Tash said. “I noticed that he said something to Rusty, and that Rusty then went over to the side of the stage and said something to someone standing at the steps. A few minutes later, I saw Brian, his security guy, scurrying up the aisle between sections A and B, then he came back and went around to the other side of section A. I don’t think he knew exactly who he was looking for, but he found her! We all went crazy when we saw it was Nina! (I met her back in 2005 when Andre Gardner got her and I into the soundcheck in Philly, and we’ve been friends ever since!). I was so happy for her, she’s been waiting so long to meet him… though I’m sure this was not what she had expected!”
Then there was the incident with the strange noise that almost stopped the show. “Towards the end of the show when Paul was sitting at the grand piano, there was suddenly a loud humming noise,” Swenton said. “Rusty and Brian looked like they thought it was a problem with the amps or something. Paul said, We seem to have a noise and we can wait it out.’ The noise continued and he mentioned Halloween and ghosts. Fortunately, someone determined the cause. He said we’re told it’s coming from the building. Shortly after that the noise stopped as suddenly as it had started, everyone cheered , and they were able to continue the show.”
The show was Paul at his very best,” Kris Tash said. “He looked and sounded just great from start to finish. It was a fun surprise to hear him start off with ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ instead of ‘Eight Days a Week,’ as he did at the last two shows I saw. The audience was excellent and roared their approval for every song, even the new ones from “NEW.” I was sitting next to two ladies from Richmond, VA, who were on their feet and rocking through most of the show, which made it more fun for me.”
Murawski said the show was a lot of fun. “All in all it was a fantastic show and a great way to end the U.S. leg for this year,” Murawski said. “The people of Greensboro were as hospitable as could be,” said Tash. “The ushers in the arena actually escorted people directly to their seats! And when Paul asked how many people were there from Greensboro, then from North Carolina, and then from outside North Carolina, the cheers were pretty much equal for all three. It was the perfect ending to his final leg of the US Tour. Hurry back, Paul. We can’t wait to see you next time!”
The Greensboro set list as reported by Paul McCartney‘s press office: “Magical Mystery Tour” (changed from “Eight Days A Week” in Louisville), “Save Us,” “All My Loving,” “Listen to What the Man Said,” “Let Me Roll It,” “Paperback Writer,” “My Valentine,” “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five,” “The Long and Winding Road,” “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “I’ve Just Seen A Face,” “We Can Work It Out,” “Another Day,” “And I Love Her,” “Blackbird,” “Here Today,” “NEW,” “Queenie Eye,” “Lady Madonna,” “All Together Now,” “Lovely Rita,” “Everybody Out There,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!,” “Something,” “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “Band on the Run,” “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Let It Be,” “Live and Let Die,” “Hey Jude.”
First encore: “Day Tripper,” “Hi Hi Hi” (changed from “Birthday” in Louisville), “ I Saw Her Standing There” (changed from “Get Back” in Louisville). Second encore: “Yesterday,” “Helter Skelter,” “Golden Slumbers”/”Carry That Weight”/”The End.”
(Thanks to Jennie Swenton, Kris Tash, Keith Putney Patti Murawski and the Paul McCartney press office for the report. Also thanks to Patti, Jennie, Keith and Marie Lacey for the great pictures.)