Paul McCartney brought his One on One tour to Fresno on Wednesday for the opening concert, and fans from Los Angeles to San Francisco and across the Central Valley flocked to the Save Mart Center to hear him play.
Before the concert, people gathering in and around the Save Mart Center talked about why they came – many said they had seen him perform before and were eager to see him one more time. Fresno is the only California stop on the tour.
Wednesday was actually McCartney’s fourth trip to Fresno – he has done full rehearsals of the show, complete with pyrotechnics, nightly since Sunday. After each evening performance, he flew to his home in Southern California and then back the next day.
McCartney was so friendly to the Save Mart Center staff that officials eventually had to clear out the area – Sir Paul’s stopping to chat with everyone was throwing off the schedule.
Those who paid for the experience got to sit in early Wednesday for the final sound check.
Kim Kyle, 47, was one of those who paid for the $2,100 VIP experience that included admission to the pre-concert sound check. She drove from Napa on Wednesday.
It is her 10th time seeing McCartney, dating back to a 1989 show in Los Angeles.
“I am a second-generation fan,” Kyle said. “Both my parents were big fans.”
Her investment nearly went awry when she left the holding area to go outside to buy a $40 T-shirt. Even with a ticket and proper wrist band, ushers weren’t letting Kyle back inside.
Finally, someone with authority let her back in. Later, she reported she sat five rows away from McCartney during the sound check.
It’s a blessing the show is in our backyard.
Larry Townsend of Oakhurst
Here are some other vignettes from the show:
▪ Larry and Donna Townsend of Oakhurst were among early arrivals for the concert. It was the sixth time they have seen McCartney, dating back to his first Wings Over America tour.
“I never thought we would get to see him again as our health is not that good,” said Larry Townsend, 62. “It’s a blessing the show is in our backyard.”
Both were excited to see the show, with Donna particularly hoping McCartney would perform “My Love.”
▪ Dorothy Jimenez of Fresno and her daughter, Alexis, were the first two in line, arriving three hours before the scheduled start of the show.
This is the first time for both to see McCartney.
Dorothy Jimenez tried to buy tickets the first day they went on sale, but they were sold out. So she paid a little extra for a pair through StubHub. Both said it was worth it.
▪ Nancy Guidance, 64, drove from San Francisco. She saw The Beatles twice, including their last show, in San Francisco.
She shared how she got McCartney’s autograph after his appearance on “The Daily Show” in December 2014.
“As he was leaving I yelled ‘Candlestick. ’66. I was there.’ And he came right over,” Guida said.
She has lost count of how many times she has seen McCartney perform.
▪ Robert Orry drove from Los Angeles to see the concert because he didn’t think McCartney would add other California dates. He said he has seen McCartney 23 times, starting with a show at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles when he was 8.
▪ Security lines to get in were long, and then there were long lines to buy McCartney merchandise. Programs were $30.