Performing three straight hours without a single break at the age of 71, Paul McCartney is a tried-and-true legend.
By Sami Kawahara
British flags waved, salarymen jumped up and down in excitement, and women of all ages swooned as Paul McCartney stepped on stage, greeting the audience with an enthusiastic “Konbanwa, Tokyo! Nihongo o gambarimasu!” (Good Evening, Tokyo! I’ll try my best Japanese!) During the three-hour concert, McCartney performed nearly 40 songs from his Beatles and Wings days, as well as songs from his latest solo album released in October titled New.
While he sang, he played piano and a variety of guitars, ranging from electric to a former Beatles bandmate George Harrison’s ukelele. He excited the crowd with Japanese phrases, beginning a couple songs with “tsugi no uta wa…” (the next song is…) and an explanation of the upcoming song in English, with Japanese subtitles on the big screen to give fans the full and complete experience.
Thousands of people filled the Tokyo Dome, mostly fans ranging from 35 to 70 years old. Whether it was a serious salaryman sitting arms crossed while slightly bobbing his head, or a more engaged salaryman standing up while playing air drums and guitar, one thing was for sure—everyone was truly entertained. Without any wardrobe changes or quick breaks off-stage, he carried along steadily with a smooth progression of upbeat and soulful songs until the finale.
Fans cheered and chanted on cue, until he reappeared and asked the crowd, “Motto Kikitai?” (do you want to hear more?)
“YES!” we all shouted, as he began his eight-song encore performance, including the song Yesterday, which he dedicated to the victims of Fukushima. Finally, he ran out on stage waving the Japanese flag with his fellow bandmate waving a British one, thanking the fans for their loyalty.
It was truly an incredible concert that gave goosebumps. And it probably won’t be his last, as he ended the concert by saying, “see you next time, Tokyo… Mata ne!”