‘Geeked’ for Paul McCartney, fans pack Van Andel


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Paul McCartney’s first visit to Grand Rapids drew thousands of eager fans to Van Andel Arena Monday night.

It was a sold-out show — it sold out 10 minutes after tickets were available, in fact — and was billed as the biggest concert ever at Van Andel. That was hard to argue as a massive number of people packed the arena.

Paul McCartney visited Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids on Aug. 15, 2016.

For many concert-goers, it doesn’t get much bigger or better than one of The Beatles.

“Colossal,” fan Mitch Mellen said of McCartney’s status among music legends.

“I’m not just a Paul McCartney fan. I’m a Beatles fan. I was born in 1963 — the band started in 1963. This is going to be an amazing night,” Tim Wright said before the concert began.

While the superfans were in full supply, it was the long lines that caught the eye. People wrapped all the way around three sides of the arena before the concert.

Fans line up outside Van Andel Arena before Paul McCartney's show on Aug. 15, 2016.

“It tells me how many fans he has that have been waiting for him to come to our town,” John Scheibe said.

Scheibe hails from Kent City. He first listened to McCartney on the Beatles “White Album” when he was just 9 years old.

“I’ve never seen Paul. I’ve been waiting 56 years for the opportunity,” he told 24 Hour News 8. “I’m geeked. This it. I’m here.”

Then, around 8:20 p.m., it was time:

“Hello, Grand Rapids!” McCartney shouted as the crowd cheered.>>Photos: Paul McCartney at Van Andel Arena

McCartney kicked off the set list with a couple of Beatles’ classics: “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “A Hard Day’s Night.”

It was an unforgettable night for the thousands of fans taking in arguably the biggest name in rock and roll royalty.

“This is, like I said, epic, iconic in a sense, for Grand Rapids. It’s a small big city to bring an artist of this caliber to Grand Rapids,” Wright said.

Paul was expected to play for 2 hours and 40 minutes — 36 songs in all — from his time as a solo artist, as a member of Wings, and of course legendary Beatles hits.

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