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Macca on tour: Paul McCartney closes Candlestick Park: the full report, part 1

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What a night! A sold-out crowd saw Paul McCartney say goodbye to San Francisco's Candlestick Park Thursday with a very special royal sendoff that included rarely played songs and some very rare Beatles photos.

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The weather was surprisingly good and temperatures didn't get to the bone-chilling cold level the 'Stick was famous for. Many concertgoers, however, wore warm coats just in case. A few celebrities were seen in the crowd. They included California Gov. Jerry Brown, who reportedly left before the show ended, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California), San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, actor Mike Myers and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead.

Before the show, fans Leslie Sampson and her mother, along with Aid Still Required CEO Hunter Payne, met McCartney backstage. Sampson was the grand prize winner in a contest sponsored by ASR. Payne told Beatles Examiner McCartney was “incredibly gracious” in talking with the two women.

As usual, the concert pre-show included Beatles graphics on the two giant video screens surrounding the stage and several very interesting cover versions of Beatles songs. When Paul came out on stage, the crowd stood and roared and many of them stayed standing throughout the three-hour show.

McCartney and the band were incredibly energetic, with the three guitarists kicking up their feet and dancing up a storm. McCartney was in excellent voice. He sounded superb all night.

The set list has a couple of changes for the Candlestick celebration. After playing “Yesterday” in the second encore, McCartney made mention that he would repeat the final song the Beatles played at Candlestick Park in 1966. He did just that a raucous version of “Long Tall Sally.”

During the song, the on-stage graphics included some unreleased photos by legendary rock photographer Jim Marshall on the screen behind the players. Marshall was the only photographer to be granted complete access to photograph The Beatles’ last ever concert. McCartney was granted exclusive use of the images for this show, according to his press office. The photos will be included in a new book on Marshall’s work, “The Haight: Love, Rock and Revolution” by Joel Selvin that will be be released Oct. 14.

McCartney also played “I Saw Her Standing There” in the first encore instead of “Get Back” that was played at the previous show in Phoenix. McCartney also made reference to having a final party at Candlestick more than once.

The concert wasn't without its problems, though. Because of the poor transit access that forced many people to drive to the stadium, some fans had trouble getting into the show and were stuck in slow-moving traffic going endlessly around the stadium. Many people were forced to give up and go home without getting in at all. Inside, the rows were packed tight.

Security didn't do much checking on the way in. There was one unconfirmed report that $20 was a way to get in without a ticket. Inside the stadium, the event staff allowed people to stand in the aisles continually during the show without being asked to move.

(Here's Part 2 of this report.)

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