Paul McCartney - The US Tour 2005

27.10.2005, Des Moines, OH; "Wells Fargo Arena"



Des Moines, October 27, 2005 - Nearly 16,000 people packed into the Wells Fargo Arena last night to watch a legend in concert. Many of them paid up to $200 for a ticket to see former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney play to a sold out crowd.

The line to get in started forming late Thursday afternoon. All of the entrances to the arena were open last night, and this time, everyone made it to their seats on time. Everyone we talked to said the pricey tickets were worth the experience. People got their money's worth the show lasted for more than two-and-a-half hours.

For the love of Paul: Fans endure long lines, high prices to see McCartney
October 28, 2005
Hundred-dollar-plus tickets, hours of driving and thousand-person-long lines to see former Beatle and still "The Cute One" Paul McCartney didn't bring down the more than 15,500 fans at Wells Fargo Arena on Thursday night.

"I absolutely love it," said Tiffany Cleghorn, 26, of Des Moines, 20 minutes into the concert. "I've always wanted to meet a Beatle, but being in the same room is close enough."

"Greetings, Des Moines! We've traveled many miles to rock you, and rock you we will!" Paul announced to a cheering crowd that seemed determined to be rocked. So much that they even lip-synced in the hallways while getting snacks.

"He's going to play 'I Will,' and I've never heard that in concert," said Dave Peterson, 51, of West Des Moines, who was playing air guitar to "The Long and Winding Road" while waiting at the merchandise stand.

Even before McCartney kicked off his magical mystery tour, fans kept a stiff upper lip while waiting in the chilly fall air.

"At least it's not raining," said Margaret Ellis, 51, of Newton, who came to the concert with two friends. One of them, Diane Karsten, 57, of Newton, reasoned she saved so much seeing the Beatles for $3.50 in 1965 in Minneapolis that she could afford the $100 ticket this time around.

The two lines to enter the arena peaked in size about 6:15 p.m., when each became more than two blocks long and merged in a chaotic jumble at Third and Center streets. Then, doors opened 15 minutes ahead of schedule, and by 7 p.m., lines were declining and soon down to a few minutes' wait.

Caught in the crowd at its largest was one woman in a wheelchair, who got to what seemed to be the end of the line and was instructed by a police officer to navigate down the crowded sidewalk another block to get in a different line. Handicapped concertgoers had no special access, so they navigated the same block-long lines as other concertgoers.

Jim Bandstra of Monroe, who uses a wheelchair, said handicapped parking was far off.

Getting tickets wasn't any easier, said his wife, Kyla Bandstra.

"(The arena) didn't know if they had seats," she said.

Ticket prices weren't so hard on baby boomers' kids like Grinnell College student Lindsey Martin, 20, whose mom, Jan Martin, 48, of Monmouth, Ill., was happy to pay for the $89.50-apiece tickets when her daughter suggested they go.

Prices were tougher on Star Cron, 22, of Mount Vernon, Mo., and Kira Pfeifle, 21, of Carthage, Mo., who had to save $178 to buy two tickets, and then saved for the five-hour trip to Des Moines.

At least Pfeifle already had appropriate attire: She wore a sweat shirt printed with "Vegan." She thought she'd stand out by appealing to McCartney's animal rights work rather than his work with the Beatles.

Uberfans like Rob Kuhm, 36, of Des Moines voluntarily waited extra hours. Kuhm came early to his sixth McCartney concert to watch the star's caravan pull into the venue.

Because of his fan club membership, Kuhm knew months before the formal announcement that McCartney would be in town, knew what the set list would be, and knew McCartney had taken a bike ride that morning in a Twin Cities park.

Inside the arena, after all that waiting, there was even more waiting. The longest lines inside the arena were for the merchandise. Sheila Whyte, 43, of Des Moines stood with her sister Michelle, 35, at the back of the group.

They weren't waiting to buy merchandise, just to see what it was. Sheila attempted to steady two $5 glasses of beer, which her sister advised her to buy so they wouldn't have to stand in line again.

"We're trying trying to decide whether to sit down or wait to see," she said. She was wary of their floor seats.

"I've heard the floor is freezing. It's just (something) covering ice."

But despite the setbacks that come with visiting an arena at the same time as thousands of other people, the majority of fans sat down before opening act DJ Freelance Hellraiser started his set.

And they clapped when he wanted them to and cheered to please Paul like he pleased them.

McCartney validates the legend
October 28, 2005
More than 40 years after Ed Sullivan introduced America to the Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney finally stepped on stage in Des Moines.

(Insert a stock pun about the "long and winding road" if you must.)

In his sold-out concert Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena, McCartney even took a stab at Jimi Hendrix, another left-handed guitarist who forever changed the face of rock ’n’ roll.

McCartney tacked the signature riffs from Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" onto the end of his own "Let Me Roll It," flanked by his hotshot tour guitarists Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray.

Not that McCartney's debut performance in Des Moines was what you would call loose or daring. He pretty much stuck to the set list and routine banter that's been reported in previous stops on his "US" tour. There should have been more moments like, literally, "The End," the final song of the night during which McCartney, Anderson and Ray bounced guitar solos between them and strayed far beyond the familiar recorded version.

McCartney wasn't shy about paying tribute to his own legacy, either, with everything from a "Beatles Anthology"-style biopic that set up his entrance, to the raised guitar that seemed to be a frequent cue for applause and cheers.

Not that many musicians are more qualified to bask than McCartney, 63.

Or that many songs are better suited to an arena singalong than "Hey Jude," which was unleashed at precisely 10:26 p.m.

Na, na, na, na, that no doubt was a lifelong memory for the more than 15,500 Beatlemaniacs of all ages in attendance, complete with McCartney's piano glissandos. Except that he did milk the magical moment beyond necessity, by putting his audience through the rote crowd-participation paces: Just the people up top sing; now the floor; now the men; now the ladies; now everybody.

Unwittingly or not, McCartney made a strong case for his new songs. Though he has the fattest, finest back catalog of them all, he certainly didn't lead with the hits. Nine songs into his set that began with "Magical Mystery Tour," McCartney slid behind a grand piano and pounded out "Fine Line" from his fine new album, "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard." It withstood comparisons.

The band seemed to loosen up whenever McCartney was at the piano, and his solo acoustic numbers capitalized on his charm.

The first true Beatles epic was "The Long and Winding Road," which inspired couples to slow dance in the aisles. Rowdier numbers such as "I’ve Got a Feeling" and "Helter Skelter" raised the temperature.

It was a diverse romp through McCartney's career in which he deconstructed his own songs (explaining J.S. Bach as the musical inspiration for "Blackbird") and got back to those fabled early days in Liverpool.

"Till There Was You" was a tune that McCartney labeled "smoochier" than the rest, an old favorite of the Beatles; it drove home the American-English interplay in pop music, since the songwriter is none other than Mason City's Meredith Willson of "Music Man" fame.

McCartney and his four-piece band (keyboardist Paul "Wix" Wickens and drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. in addition to the guitarists) performed on a dazzling stage whose floor and backdrop was composed entirely of light panels that flashed everything from psychedelic patterns to images of a lush English garden. Pyrotechnics graced "Live and Let Die."

McCartney's voice has thinned since the ’60s, but he still hit the high notes and unleashed the occasional scream and even the falsetto coos in "Maybe I’m Amazed."

Thursday night wasn't entirely a nostalgia trip, either. Credit McCartney for challenging his audience with DJ Freelance Hellraiser as opening act — a frenetic, bass-thumping soundtrack of McCartney tunes sliced and diced.

One could argue that Thursday's event, the fullest that Des Moines' new arena has been since opening in July, was the capital city's most important concert since June 23, 1977 — the third and final time that Elvis Presley played Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

Rock ’n’ roll has been around for about 50 years, and the two chief candidates for top of the heap are Elvis and the Beatles.

Thursday didn't feel as big as the Beatles, but it validated McCartney as worthy caretaker of his band's legacy in the 21st century.

"We love you, we'll see you next time," McCartney said at the end of the night.

Next time? When he's 64?

He can't wait another 40 years, that's for sure.

McCartney Packs Arena Show
Former Beatle Plays First Concert In Des Moines
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Faithful fans of former Beatle Paul McCartney started arriving in Des Moines Wednesday.

They came from all over the Midwest for Thursday night's show at Wells Fargo Arena.

Fans started lining up at the arena four hours before the concert began.

"We shut down the office the morning tickets went on sale for two hours and had everybody on the Internet," said Jeff Holmes, a fan from Waterloo.

"I think it was fourth grade when he was on Ed Sullivan and so it's just stuck, you know," said Steve Mummelthei, a fan from Waverly.

Nancy Akers and her husband came from St. Louis to sit at the backstage entrance.

She caught a glimpse of McCartney and his SUV motorcade entering the arena.

"Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. I just can't believe it," Akers said.

By the time the doors opened, the line ran almost around the entire venue.

"You just kind of feel like a kid again. You get those butterflies in your stomach and absolutely believe you're actually seeing him," said Tom Minehart, a fan from Minnesota.

McCartney played Wednesday night in Minnesota, and Sunday he heads to Omaha.

This is not McCartney's first show in Iowa; he played in Ames in 1990.