When Paul McCartney comes to town, it's always been a big deal, whether it's been with the Beatles, Wings or solo. Seattle was one of the...
When Paul McCartney comes to town, it’s always been a big deal, whether it’s been with the Beatles, Wings or solo.
Seattle was one of the first cities in America to be bitten by Beatlemania. It has been documented that Pat O’Day, legendary KJR-AM disc jockey here, was the first DJ in the country to play the Beatles’ debut American single, “From Me to You,” in the summer of 1963. He scored the first radio interviews in the U.S. of Paul McCartney and John Lennon that summer.
O’Day introduced the Beatles both times they played here, in 1964 and ’66 at the Coliseum (now KeyArena).
McCartney also played here with Wings in 1976, and did two solo shows, at the Kingdome in 1990 and the Tacoma Dome in 2002.
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Here are excerpts of The Seattle Times’ reviews of all the shows.
The Beatles, Aug. 21, 1964, Seattle Center Coliseum
“Seattle seethed with uncontrollable hysteria, terrifying noise and danger in a real-life nightmare last night.
“This was the Beatles’ show.
“For 30 incredible minutes those in the jam-packed Seattle Center Coliseum had the feeling of being sealed in a crazed capsule pitching through the chasms of space.
“There was no escape. Scenes beyond the worst horror movies unreeled without letup.
“Almost no one could hear the shaggy-haired foursome. Ear-splitting shrieks and screams rattled the building like the high-pitched howling of a cyclone.
“Heroic policemen and policewomen darted into the aisles at the first signs of clogging. They could have been mobbed.
” ‘Unbelievable,’ one policeman said, summing it up for everyone present.”
Stanton H. Patty, reporter
The Beatles, Aug. 25, 1966, Coliseum (2 shows)
“I didn’t expect it to be dull. It was.
“Three-fourths of the show was taken up by a group called the Remains, a Negro singer named Bobby Hebb, a group called the Cyrcle, and three girl singers called the Ronettes. If any of them have any significant talent, it wasn’t apparent.
“During their half hour on stage, when they sang 10 numbers (including such hits as ‘Yesterday,’ ‘Nowhere Man,’ ‘Paperback Writer’ and ‘Long Tall Sally’), the Beatles were pleasantly engaging.
“The Beatles are an interesting, important and eminently musical group. I’d like to hear them in a live performance some time.”
Wayne Johnson, Arts and Entertainment editor
Wings, June 10, 1976, Kingdome
“It was the biggest audience of the tour and set a new [world] indoor attendance record for a single act — 67,000 plus.
“The concert was filmed, videotaped and recorded, and Geraldo Rivera and his crew shot footage for an upcoming ABC-TV special.
“McCartney was bubbling with enthusiasm and obviously happy with the record crowd.
“Reports of previous concerts hardly prepared one for the spectacular production of ‘Live and Let Die,’ the subtle, new nuances to ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ and the goose bumps raised by ‘Yesterday.’ “
Patrick MacDonald, rock critic
Paul McCartney, March 29, 1990, Kingdome
“Paul McCartney filled the Kingdome with nostalgia and celebration, using showmanship and charm to evoke the era of The Beatles.
“Light-hearted and animated, the graying ‘cute Beatle’ managed to turn the huge media event into an almost intimate experience, drawing himself and the audience closer together by constantly interacting with the crowd.
“He mugged and pointed and winked and posed, and flashed the V-sign more times than Nixon did in his whole career. It would have been too much except for the sense of fun and play he brought to it. He was like the Paulie of 25 years ago.”
Paul McCartney, Oct. 19, 2002, Tacoma Dome
“McCartney’s appearance last night in the Tacoma Dome was more than just another superstar concert. It was a celebration of a spectacular 40-year career and a chance for fans to show their appreciation and respect. McCartney looked younger than his 60 years. He had an animated, charming way with the crowd, leading his four bandmates through his amazing song catalog with confidence and ease.
“He emphasized Beatles classics, the best of Wings, but only a few songs from the new album, ‘Driving Rain.’ A long acoustic portion, with McCartney playing guitar and keyboards alone, strengthened his bond with the audience.
“Especially moving were songs dedicated to John Lennon (‘Here Today’) and George Harrison (‘Something’).”