On Wednesday night I was privileged to have the opportunity to fulfill another of my Bucket List wishes. Actually this particular item was fulfilled last November, but it never hurts to do it twice.
We attended a Paul McCartney Concert ! My love of the Beatles and particularly “ Sir Paul“ goes a long way back ! I remember the famous 1964 Ed Sullivan show where the Beatles performed live. My parents shook their heads as we headed up to the den where in pure black and white, this long haired Quartet sang “She Loves Me ” while all the young gals screamed. I drooled over the four Beatles – John, Paul, George and Ringo, even though it was really my first encounter. Soon those were common names we constantly talked about as each of my friends were equally enamored. We would each pick a favourite Beatle to love – and I went against the grain to pick Ringo, although secretly I really would have picked Paul had not everyone else.
We bought every “45” and every album and still have most of those tucked away somewhere in our house.. We sat on the large “hat “ merry-go-round In the school playground singing “ She Loves You”, and “ Love Me Do” together – being far too mature to play in the playground ! Yes, we would have been one of those screaming teens if we had even hoped of getting to one of their concerts. But in those days, flying away to concerts was unheard of, in a day where rock stars just didn’t come to small town Saskatchewan. Instead, we obsessed over every new song, every silly movie and over every mention in magazines. We put the posters that came with our albums on our walls – asking forgiveness later for the thumbtack holes. We even sported “ Nehru” type shirts.
So, I thought I really was a Beatles fan till I met my husband. Then I learned what it was all about. He had EVERY album and since then has probably acquired every book about the Beatles and the individual members. He could sing every word to every song, and know who composed it and who sang lead. He knew facts and stories that I had never heard. Beatles music became prominent in our home and our children learned some of the songs before their nursery rhymes. All of them did at least one school project on the Beatles getting their research from our extensive library and their dad’s incredible memory. Our granddaughter’s baby gift from her beloved Auntie included a “ Love Me Do “ onesy- so I am sure she will soon be singing “Let it Be” loud and clear.
So when rumour started 5 years ago that Paul McCartney would be playing in our neighbouring city of Regina, we were posed to buy tickets but it was not to be ! He had to cancel that tour due to a throat problem. My daughter advised me to take her Dad to see him “wherever he plays” – and I joined the fan club and watched and waited. He wasn’t touring anywhere. One day an email came with an URGENT tag on it. My daughter was informing us, in CAPITOL LETTERS that according to the radio announcement, Paul was coming to Edmonton in November. Getting tickets these days is an art, but we are learning it, and sure enough we got four tickets. The day of the concert came and we flew to Edmonton and had our first Paul McCartney experience.
Sometimes things we dream about, and come to fruition are not what we had hoped. Not so this concert. I was in awe. Three hours of singing – barely a moment off stage. At times he had me in tears, from the sheer disbelief that this is who we were seeing. Here we were, in the same “ room” as the legend. These were the songs I could name on the second guitar chord. ( Of course my husband could name them on one !! ). These were the songs that I knew every word to. His voice true, his band awesome, and the special effects spectacular without being overdone. Little jigs, funny stories, giggles and that gorgeous British accent – he was all and more than I expected. Cross that off our bucket list !
This spring the announcement came again – Paul was coming to Regina. It only took me a second to decide to get tickets, and make this a surprise for my husband’s 65th birthday. Many lies later I surprised him on his birthday. He was flabbergasted when he opened his present – and hadn’t even figured it out when our daughter almost let it slip about the tickets. He told me later how upset he had been that I had discouraged him from buying tickets!
We arrived at the concert after lining up and braving the crowds. As I climbed to my seat in the stands, who should call out and come running down to me but two of my friends from the merry go round singing fan club !! We all had the same idea !
Again, Paul did not disappoint. Despite a very late start, he still played for nearly three hours, two long encores, 37 songs and even brought in a local pipe band for “ Mull of Kintire”. He again succeeded in mixing old Beatles standards, with some Wings songs and a few singles and more recent tunes. Not quite the awe of seeing him for the first time, but again, an honour to see a performer who has lasted this many years and still puts on a show that makes others pale in comparison. The fireworks were fantastic, his dancing and joking added to the fun.
It was also fantastic to share this experience with our daughter- who caught the fever from her two parents and who was able to attend both concerts.
Though many are called legends, not many have the star quality and yet simple presence of Paul McCartney. He is certainly deserving of the term.
This memory will remain long in our hearts, and the memory of these three ultimate Beatle fans’ response to the two concerts. I am glad we put this on our bucket list, and I am glad we were able to do this and enjoy.
And maybe I am still amazed !