Today is the 20th anniversary of the first time I saw Paul McCartney live in concert. The date was June 6, 1993, I was 12 years old, and I went with my friend Amanda all the way to Toronto to see it. It was the first real concert I had ever been too, and even though I have been to many amazing concerts since, none of them hold a place in my heart like McCartney's New World Tour. This concert happened at the perfect time to have a distinct impact of my musical life: it was my first stadium concert, I was young and impressionable, and it was fricken' Paul McCartney!

My Tour Book from The New World Tour Concert
I've been a Paul McCartney fan for as long as I can remember, but seeing him in concert turned me into a Mega Fan. We listened to the Beatles a lot growing up and I was already into some post-Beatles McCartney at the time of the show, but there was a lot of Wings and solo McCartney I had never heard. We had Wings Greatest and Paul McCartney: Unplugged, and I distinctly remember listening to my brother Tommy's Off The Ground tape as much as I could (which was easy to do because I loved it!), but it wasn't until after the show that I realized there was so much more to his discography.

The Off the Ground Songbook I made my parents get me
So much of the concert has become a blur to me, but there are some really vivid memories too.

The show opened with a ten minute video sequence which played on giant screens surrounding the stage. I remember nothing of the opening sequence except the last minute or so, which featured the Beatles song "The End". I didn't know the song at the time, but I remember the lyrics playing in my mind for days after, and having to sing them to my dad so he could tell me: "That's on Abbey Road". (Attn Kids: Google makes life so much easier now!) After the opening sequence finished, the band took the stage and began the show with "Drive My Car". I remember seeing the words "beep beep'm beep beep yeah!" dance across the video screen when Paul sang them. It was so fun and exciting and my first experience with anything like it.

Some Wings songs were new to me and my most vivid memory of a new (to me) song was "Let Me Roll It". The memory is so vivid because Paul performed it while on a platform that was raised and extended out over the audience. Paul McCartney doesn't hesitate to put on an exciting show, and to my 12 year old self, the novelty of him performing on a moving platform kinda blew my mind and made the song that much more memorable (plus it has a pretty great guitar riff!)

When Paul played "Biker Like an Icon", a dude a few rows ahead of us in his early twenties and wearing a Biker Like an Icon T-shirt, jumped into the air with pure glee. It was so cool to see so much enthusiasm from other fans.

For "Magical Mystery Tour" Paul called forth his "Magic piano" and I remember it moving on the stage towards him and being so colourful. At the time, it did seem rather magical.

Smoke exploded from the stage during the chorus of "Live and Let Die", followed by a pretty wicked light show. I recently found that I can relive this memory on Youtube, and have been doing so in recent days.

For the encore, Paul was joined onstage by the Peel Regional Police Pipe Band during a performance of "Mull of Kintyre". It was quite the spectacle, and there is audio of it on YouTube. Musicians often put out live albums, but I always find it surreal to hear the show I actually saw. If you follow the link and listen to it, some of the cheers you will be hearing are mine.

It has been said many times, but I will say it again: Paul McCartney puts on a great show. From start to finish he is full of energy and he can play for hours. I could have done much worse for who I chose to see for my first real concert.

The weeks, months, and years following the concert were a great time of musical discovery for me. I found out that Wings and solo McCartney both ruled, which wasn't necessarily the most popular musical choice in the mid-nineties, but I happily committed to it. The first tape I remember my mom helping me buy was Venus and Mars, which I played constantly until I knew every song by heart (I still do). Thus was my transition from fan into Mega fan.

These are all the Wings/McCartney tapes that I amassed after the concert and before CDs became a thing
So somehow it has been twenty years since that life changing concert and I am somehow twenty years older. I have since moved on to other types of music, have had other favourite bands, and have been to quite a few rocking concerts throughout the years. I even saw Paul again in 2003, and even though that concert was amazing, it isn't permanently etched into my psyche like the first show is. The 1993 concert was fun, exciting, rocking, rolling, and featured the perfect line up of McCartney's solo band. I'm shocked that it is twenty years later, but I am really happy that I carry such a great memory with me.

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, June 06, 2013 4 comments


  1. I think that is around the same time I saw Paul McCartney in Cincinnati. He played at Riverfront Colosium and we had tickets about ten rows from the stage!! It was one of the best concerts I had ever been to. He showed us how Linda became a member of Wings (of how she didn't even know how to play the piano at the time), it was very funny and very entertaining.

    I grew up a Beatles fan and bought Paul's first solo/pre-Wings album (which I STILL have - in vinyl), RAM. I don't see that one in your stack. I played that record all the time.

    1. Wow Stacy, it is such a joy to read your Paul McCartney memories! So glad you saw a fantastic concert too! He puts on a great show, eh?

      I love RAM too! I also had a time where I listened to it over and over. RAM was the first McCartney CD I remember buying once tapes were over. I have re-bought everything in CD and have the whole collection. I even found a few Wings records at garage sales over the years - so cool! :)

  2. This is a great memory to have with you. Isn't it just weird when we can say, this was 20 years ago? Or even really, to say 10 years ago. It's just something about that.

    1. I hear you. There is something about those round numbers that often surprise me. I sometimes even marvel when things were 5 years ago.


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