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Paul McCartney Wings It to the Frank Erwin Center

Beatle set for a May 22 date on Red River
Raoul Hernandez, 12:57pm, Thu. Apr. 4, 2013
photo by Gary Miller
Sir Paul McCartney last year at Minute Maid Park in Houston, 11.14.12

All I can say is thank God it wasn't the Stones. When the Frank Erwin Center sent out a press release Wednesday morning proclaiming "a major concert announcement" a few hours after the Rolling Stones unveiled a tour with a lot of holes in it, I thought, "It couldn't be the Stones!?" It's not. It's Paul McCartney, May 22.

During a press conference this morning at UT's arena, a very proud-to-bursting Erwin Center staff was positively giddy at the news of this being McCartney's sole Texas date, tickets for which – a scant 12,500 by their estimate – go on sale next Friday, 10am, through Live Nation or the texasboxoffice.com. They said getting Sir Paul to Austin turned into "one of the longest negotiations in the history of the venue," as in years and years.

Of course those affiliated with the tour's sponsoring credit card, American Express, can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Tuesday, April 9, 10am, through Thursday, April 11, 10pm. This morning at the Erwin Center, a Live Nation representative pointed out that McCartney's show at Fenway Park in Boston sold 90% of its tickets before the show went onsale to the public. Tickets here will range $49-$277.

That said, my fear originally was that the World's Still Greatest Rock & Roll Band – the Stones – might load into a drum about one-third the size of their Central Texas demand in following up a miraculous Zilker Park performance from 2006. That's akin to Justin Timberlake playing some tent during South by Southwest last month. Austin's doesn't need to become the Clusterfuck Capital of the Music World after all.

Staging one of two remaining Beatles on Red River won't be much different – huge demand and a relatively paltry amount of tickets. Thankfully, I have no stake in this race. Team Music at the Chronicle remains staunchly Stones. My wife can't fathom that great existential rock & roll test: Beatles vs. Stones.

There's no versus, of course – everyone likes both. It's just some of us like one of those two more. Hard to quantify, really. Robyn Hitchcock may have nailed it at SXSW this year, explaining that the Beatles are the gateway band, and the Stones for after you've taken a bite out of the Apple (Records).

I agree, only I remember being about four and flipping out every time a commercial came on TV for the Stones' greatest hits compilation, Hot Rocks. Then again, the first album I ever bought was a cassette of the Beatles' Abbey Road. I bought it for "Octopus's Garden," and though I wouldn't know it for decades, John Lennon's "Polythene Pam" began my love of headbanging.

I was lucky enough to catch John's childhood mate Paul, now 70, in Berkeley during the late Nineties at a huge outdoor amphitheater on the UC Berkeley campus. It was like flying a saucer to another galaxy – Beatles, Wings, McCartney, and Little Richard tunes powering us to and under the stars. Notched that one right off my bucket list (Ringo Starr remains), but like they ask in the commercial – more rock & roll existentialism perhaps – who's on your bucket list?

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