Fans eager for McCartney’s tour opener at TU Center

Excitement is building in the Capital Region for Paul McCartney’s appearance Saturday night at the T
JC Glindmyer, owner of EarthWorld Comics in Albany, holds up his tickets to see Paul McCartney at the Times Union Center on Saturday.
JC Glindmyer, owner of EarthWorld Comics in Albany, holds up his tickets to see Paul McCartney at the Times Union Center on Saturday.

On April 14, J.C. and Jordan Glindmyer learned they would not see Paul McCartney at the Times Union Center in Albany.

That’s the day tickets for Sir Paul’s “Out There” summer show sold out. Fans purchased just under 13,000 tickets in 28 minutes.

It had been Jordan’s idea to take her father to see McCartney, who is expected to dazzle the full house Saturday night. But with computers clicking for tix all over the Northeast, Jordan was unable to secure two admissions.

That’s when Schenectady resident J.C. Glindmyer — who as owner of Albany’s Earthworld comic book store deals in improbable comebacks and fantastic finishes all the time — decided to live and let live. He visited secondary ticket resale sites, made a power move and paid big dough to be in there for “Out There.”

“I would never do this, ever, ever,” Glindmyer said of his bold shopping spree, “but it’s Paul McCartney. It’s like going to see

Mozart or a king or something. The guy’s a legend, and how often do you have a chance to see a legend?”

Excitement is building in the Capital Region for McCartney’s 8 p.m. appearance at the TU Center, his only stop in New York state. The Albany show will be the first of 20 shows for McCartney, who will hit Pittsburgh, Chicago, Utah and Los Angeles — among other places — before taking an extended break after an Aug. 14 show in San Francisco. McCartney will play eight more dates in October, including the closer in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Oct. 30. The autumn shows make up for dates McCartney had to cancel in June, when a virus kept the 72-year-old superstar away from his public.

Bob Belber, the Times Union Center’s general manager, believes McCartney arguably will be the biggest show ever held in the building. It will be Sir Paul’s first-ever stop in the Capital Region.

It could also be the center’s top concert year. Justin Timberlake plays Albany on July 16; Bruno Mars is in town July 20; and Demi Lovato and Cher are booked for Sept. 7 and 11, respectively.

Belber said his staff has been working to fulfill requirements in McCartney’s performance contract and finalizing security and protection elements.

“It’s not too different than what we’re used to when former presidents have come to the building,” Belber said. “It’s going to be at that level.”

Huge McCartney banners have been hung outside the TU Center.

“We haven’t done that for anyone,” Belber said. “It’s the first time we’ve ever done it.”

And while the center is sold out, there may be hope for people who still want to see and hear the music spectacular. After the McCartney crew has set up all stage rigging and gear, additional seats may become available. Belber suggested people keep trying the Times Union Center’s website to check for ticket availability.

“They might get lucky,” he said. “No guarantees.”

Mark Eagan, president and chief executive officer of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce, said McCartney will be bringing people and revenue into the area.

“When you have a performer like that come to the community, it really attracts people from the whole region,” Eagan said. “You have folks that are coming from the Berkshires, people coming from southern Vermont, folks coming from New York City, New Jersey, all driving up. Most people coming into town are going to be staying at an area hotel, they’re going to be eating at restaurants.”

Eagan also said the McCartney gig will have a larger economic impact than shows that typically play the Times Union Center, the Palace Theatre or Proctors.

“These folks are coming from a broader area. They’re going to stay longer and spend more money,” he said.

Because McCartney fans will be traveling during a holiday weekend, Eagan added, they might turn their road trips into extended mini-vacations.

“It might mean they spend a night more in the Capital Region, but then they might spend another night in the Adirondacks,” Eagan said. “The whole greater Capital Region can benefit. Even at the very least, even if they’re going to spend one night, they’re going to spend two days of eating meals at a restaurant.”

Glindmyer has already spent enough. He didn’t say how much he paid for his tickets — original face values were $253, $168, $99.50, $59.50 and $29.50 — but he said he’s paid less for cars.

“He’s the man,” Glindmyer said. “There’s no one bigger. I can understand how people felt when Sinatra first came to the place.”

Frank Sinatra opened the venue, then known as the Knickerbocker Arena, on Jan. 30, 1990.

Now, both Glindmyers are counting down the days until Saturday. Even people who have tickets can be regarded as minor celebrities.

“They go, ‘I heard those tickets went fast’ or ‘I heard those tickets were expensive.’ Those are the two things I hear,” Glindmyer said. “I go, ‘You’re right on both.’ ”

Other fans are ready for Saturday night, as well. Joe Shaver of Ballston Spa has a weekend full of music ahead. He’ll be at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for Phish on Thursday and Friday. He’s been following the jam band since 1995 and will miss Saturday’s show — his first local miss ever — to see McCartney.

“Saturday would have been my 90th Phish show,” Shaver said, “but I was a Beatles fan before I was a Phish fan, and getting to see Paul is kind of a special treat.”

Schenectady’s Tony Palumbo has seen McCartney’s old Beatles mate, Ringo Starr, in concert four times. He grabbed seats for Saturday’s show — taking advantage of an American Express credit card pre-sale — and will now see Paul in action for the first time.

“I didn’t want to let the opportunity slip by,” he said.

Palumbo had been thinking about a fireworks cruise in New York Harbor for the Fourth of July, but scotched those plans when he closed the McCartney deal.

“I can always do that next year,” he said.

Kathy Stellrecht of Albany will be going to the show, which will double as a small family reunion. Her twin sister, Tina, will fly into Albany on Wednesday night from Houston. Another sister, Barb Welch of Esperance, will join the McCartney party.

“We’re all real excited,” Kathy Stellrecht said. “This will be my sixth time seeing McCartney. I’ve been in love with Paul since I was 4. My mother would let us stay up and watch The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.”

Stellrecht believes most people will know the songs McCartney plays. Selections from both the Beatles and Wings collections are expected.

“Everyone will be singing along,” Stellrecht said. “Everyone will be fantasizing about living the experience with Paul.”

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