Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Day 65 - Paul McCartney

Out There

I have never seen Paul McCartney in concert. Given the man is a living legend and has remained my favorite songwriter since I first encountered his music, seeing Paul McCartney perform live has been a dream of mine since I was child. In fact, when I was younger I would look at photographs and video of the Beatles and wish I could be there to experience the moments now left only as imprints in history. I would wonder what it felt like to be a part of those events, and I would do my best to wrap my head around the surreal concept of seeing what was arguably the best band in history. Knowing that was an impossibility in my lifetime, I instead hoped I would one day get to see the last true Beatle (we all know Ringo doesn’t count) before he finally retired or ended up passing away. As luck would have it, that very opportunity came my way when I became aware Paul McCartney was playing at Miller Park in Milwaukee this summer. In turn, I acted quickly when tickets went on sale, grabbed two seats as close to stage as possible, and prepared myself for what I knew would be an absolutely unforgettable experience.

One third of the way through the line
outside the stadium
With the concert scheduled for 8:00 pm tonight, Rachael and I headed to Milwaukee as soon as our workdays drew to a close. Although traffic was unbelievably bad on the ride to Miller Park, the overall experience was worth every minute of the total four and a half hours of travel time we put in during today’s trip. Everything about my first experience exceeded my expectations for my first Paul McCartney concert. At 71 years old, Paul McCartney sounds as good as I have ever heard him in recordings, is as vibrant as a man half his age, and can still put on an unrivaled show. Stated plainly, this concert was the best I have ever seen. Period.

Now, I won’t attempt to explain what it felt like to be there among the largest crowd in Miller Park history. I won’t try to find the words to explain the feelings that came with the two hour set of non-stop hits ranging from the earliest Beatles records to Paul’s modern work. I won’t make an effort to recall the emotions that came with seeing the man tell stories of his experiences with music legends long since passed and tell us of the love he had for each of them. I won’t try to describe the intensity, passion, and spirit emanating from Paul with each song he sang, and I won’t attempt to describe the power of the two encores Paul played before the concert drew to a close. Even if I tried, the words I would find to try to describe such things simply wouldn’t do them justice. Instead, I will simply share a few pictures and videos from the evening in hopes they will somehow give others a slight understanding of what it felt to be there, before one of the greatest songwriters that has ever graced this Earth.

The Introduction

Maybe I'm Amazed
90 minutes in and still crankin'!



Live and Let Die
Back in the USSR

The experience I had at the Paul McCartney concert tonight is one I will never forget. I don’t think there is any way I could. The feeling of being in that stadium with Paul, his band, and my fellow concert goers was electric. Each of us were there to celebrate the passion and excitement we have for Paul and his music, and Paul reciprocated that feeling with sincere remarks of gratitude and love throughout his performance. Even now as I write about the experience, it’s hard to measure anything against what I felt when I was sitting in that seat watching Paul McCartney perform. Perhaps it is best summarized by Rachael’s remark as we exited the stadium, “I don’t know if I can ever go to another concert. It just won’t be able to compare…” Tonight was a night I will never forget, and I thank Paul for making that possible. I’m a lucky man to have had the opportunity to gain this experience, and now I can mark off an entry on my list that has been there since long before I came up with this crazy "I have never..." idea.

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