There are few positions more enviable in the history of pop music than the one that Paul McCartney has come to occupy. As a member of one of the most influential and celebrated bands of all time, McCartney helped shape the modern era of fanaticism that accompanies great pop songwriting, moved on from there to create in his wildly inventive left-of-field band, Wings, and eventually settled into a role as a solo artist that’s been so prolific he even put out a new album, Egypt Station, late last year. When he reviewed the new record last September, what our critic Steven Hyden couldn’t get over is how much Macca still cares, even while other figureheads of his era have abandoned live music, or retreated from their fans, or begun dabbling in other mediums (Bob Dylan paintings, anyone?), Paul is still completely committed to the music. And it, in the popular phrasing of the time, shows.
Though I’ve seen him once before — a send-off Jersey stadium show at MetLife in 2016 right before I moved to Los Angeles — watching McCartney take the stage at Dodger Stadium for his Freshen Up tour had a certain bittersweetness to it, given the knowledge that the Beatles themselves played their second-to-last show on that same stage in 1966. Paul, ever the historian, clocked that, of course, noting that there were probably a few members in the 2019 crowd who had been there some fifty years ago, and getting enough screams to conclude he was correct in that assumption.
My commute to the show was much shorter than when I saw him in Jersey, where I took a bus, to the subway, to a train, and then finally walked into the glowing stadium. In Los Angeles, my current apartment in Echo Park is just down the street from Dodger Stadium, so I saw the early scores of senior citizens — and some young people — began the pilgrimage up my hill to the stadium starting around 6 p.m on Saturday. Heading up myself at the more reasonable timing of 6:45-7 p.m, it was astonishing to see the enormous age range of attendees for the show. And even though a Paul McCartney cincert is certainly for fans of his own generation, there were plenty of young folks there as well, whether it was to accompany the elders of their family, or to carry the torch on their own.