You know when you have those dreams that you think are never going to happen? It's not to say you don't try to obtain them, or want to obtain them, they just seem highly unrealistic. Seeing Paul McCartney live was one of those seemingly unobtainable dreams. The tickets would be too high. He wouldn't tour. He'd tour but to a city I wasn't in at the time. I would have to live out the dream by watching the Back in the US DVD and listening to its accompanying CD.
On June 10, I got to live the dream. And I was an emotional wreck.
A couple of weeks ago, Mike sent me an article about Paul McCartney singing some songs live that hadn't been sung onstage before. Reading the article turned into my looking up where he was touring . . . and it just so happened he was performing two nights at Barclays. And it just so happened that the prices wouldn't cost the price of our firstborn child (which is good, because I'm kind of in love with the little person growing inside me).
Mike immediately jumped on this opportunity and said he was getting tickets as an early birthday present. I think it will be hard to top this gift for the rest of our lives (but feel free to keep trying, bud!).
Walking up to Barclays and seeing the signs, I had a huge grin on my face, despite the rain coming down and the fact that the doors weren't open yet. And then once I stepped inside, I had to keep fighting back that overwhelming emotion of holding back the tears. You know the one: where you make the ugly "don't cry" face. It was the combination of realizing I was going to be in a room with greatness and the guilt of knowing that I was seeing Paul McCartney even before my dad saw him. Because if it weren't for my dad, I wouldn't have the love for the Beatles and, therefore, Paul McCartney that I do. It's a tale as old as time: father plays his music for child in hopes he or she will appreciate it; father succeeds; child starts stealing his music to listen to even when he isn't around.
It started with Abbey Road. Back in the day, before cars had CD players, I decided I was going to take my dad's CDs and record them to tape for a Father's Day present, this way he would have them in the car with him. My dad often played Beatles music in the car or while cooking, but I never really listened to it on my own. When "Come Together" started, I realized I knew this song better than I thought, and I found myself tapping my fingers against my leg, much like my dad does against the steering wheel whenever he hears a song he likes. And the tapping just kept going. (To this day, Abbey Road is still my favorite Beatles album.) When I got to "The End" I pressed stop on the CD player and ejected the tape. My dad still remarks how I cut off "Her Majesty." Oops. (But really, is there any better song transition/album ending than "Golden Slumbers"/"Carry That Weight"/"The End"? It should have ended there.)
And since I was giving my dad the tapes, I just decided to keep the CD for myself. He no longer needed it, right? At the time, he didn't have any other Beatles CDs. I'm still not sure why. So I started collecting them for myself. And when I hear certain songs, or think of albums, I'm immediately transported back to the years of when I was first discovering the Beatles.
"Hey, Jude" automatically brings me back to driving in the car with my dad on 2920 when he first explained the meaning behind the song. "With a Little Help from My Friends" reminds me of the look of sheer horror my father gave me as we were driving down Louetta because I had said I liked the Joe Cocker version better. (I blame it on The Wonder Years; I heard it there first!) "Here Comes the Sun" reminds me of childhood summer days when rain would let up and one of my parents would start singing this song when the sun was coming out . . . almost as a message that it was time for my sister and me to go outside.
Rubber Soul reminds me of weekend cleaning days, when I had to dust and vacuum my room and clean the bathroom if it was my turn in the rotation. I'm not sure why this particular album reminds me of that specifically, but I remember listening to "Michelle" while dusting my dresser.
Revolver reminds me of the period after my great-grandfather died (not in a sad way—that had just been my most recent Beatles album purchase and I found comfort in). It also reminds me of the first time I ever had a job and had to file taxes—when it came time for my dad and I to fill out the forms, we started out by playing "Taxman."
A Hard Day's Night and Help! remind me of family movie nights and popcorn, since my dad rented the movies (back then, videocassettes from Hollywood Video or Blockbuster). The Beatles education was followed up by Backbeat (the only thing I remember from that was my dad's "Oops" when he realized there was some nudity in the movie).
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band reminds me of the high school journalism dark room, in which I spent a lot of time during my junior and senior years. We played that album often while developing film (lots of retro things going on this post, huh? Tapes, videocassettes, film . . . And there's still one more to come!)
The White Album reminds me of my eighteenth birthday, which was the summer before college. The two-disc album was a little pricier than the others, so I hadn't purchased it yet. My parents gave it to me as part of my gift and I listened to it that night on my Discman (there it is!) to drown out my dad's snoring (we were in a hotel in Arlington because the Yankees were in town the next day). But I had an introduction to The White Album long before turning eighteen; when I was eight or nine, my mom drove me to camp but wouldn't let me out of the car upon arrival. She had on the radio and told me she needed me to hear something. We waited. And waited. I wondered why I couldn't leave. Then the DJ wished me a happy birthday . . . and then nothing. My parents had called it in and requested he play "Birthday," but that part hadn't happened. So when I got home from camp that day, my parents played the song on my dad's record player. I always play "Birthday" on my birthday now.
When The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 came out, I bought it for my dad for his birthday. We were exchanging gifts at home before heading to Chicago for Thanksgiving. I handed him the wrapped package, and he just started laughing. I wondered why he found it so funny before even opening the gift. He then left for a minute and returned with Hanukkah gifts for me and Nicole (the joys of both holidays—presents twice!). My package was the same long rectangle shape . . . we had bought the same thing for each other.
So I have my dad to thank for my love of the Beatles. And I have Mike to thank for getting me to the Paul McCartney concert. It was amazing and everything I thought it would be. I cried only three times (a lot less than I thought I would). First for "All My Loving" because I was too hyped up for the first two songs to really settle on the fact that I was seeing Paul freakin' McCartney. By song three, the emotion truly hit me, and I lost it. Mike just looked at me and laughed. I totally get the images of screaming and crying girls from the sixties now. Then it was "Maybe I'm Amazed," because that's the song Mike and I walked back down the aisle to. And finally "Let It Be," because, well, I cry listening to that song for no reason on a normal day.
Paul McCartney played for three hours. He interacted with the crowd. He told stories. He played two encores. At seventy-one, that man still has it. Mike, who likes the Beatles but loves the Rolling Stones, said at the end of the concert that as cool and momentous as seeing the Stones in December was for him, Sir Paul put on a better show. I couldn't agree more.
|"Something" for George.|
And on our way home from the concert, something else happened: I felt the baby. Nothing sharp or definite, but one of those "Hmmm, that's a new feeling" movements. And it just made me think of how excited I am to pass on a love of the Beatles to the baby. Road trips as a kid were filled with books and music: a tape/CD of the kids' choosing (generally a soundtrack of some sort), then one of the parents', and so on till Nicole and I fell asleep in the backseat. I can't wait to start this tradition: to rotate whatever nonsensical kids' music is out there these days with my Beatles and Mike's Stones. And perhaps our son or daughter will want to hold on to our CDs the way I keep telling my parents not to, for any reason, get rid of my dad's Beatles records.
|Two very happy campers after an incredible show.|