Paul McCartney in Concert: Part IX “Epilogue”

The Journey Home

I don’t really recall everything that Judy and I talked about on the way out. We were both sort of emotionally exhausted but still on a big high. Even though we waited a little bit for the crowd to thin we still had to fight a pretty big crowd to get all the way around the arena to the other side were the elevators were. I decided we should not call my dad until we got downstairs because we didn’t want to be on the phone with him if it was our turn to get on the elevator. As it turned out of the three elevator lines, ours was naturally the slowest moving one. I already told you about the conversation with the woman from Cleveland who had gotten emotional over “Paperback Writer”. Judy asked where they were staying while they were in Indianapolis. The woman said they were staying with friends from Jeffersonville which is almost as far south from here as Cleveland would be north. I was happy we didn’t have that far to go. It was after 11:30 PM.

We got downstairs and reunited with Anne. We called my dad and went down the ramp and out the door To wait for him outside. I knew that Judy and Anne both needed cigarettes. We just talked about the show in and talked about taking pictures and about the people that sat next to her. At the very end of the show they had fired off a pair of confetti cannons and the clouds of confetti drifted towards where Anne had been sitting. I had said to Judy “I hope she saves us some confetti”. Great minds must think alike because indeed she did. I will end up taping the confetti pieces into my program as a keepsake along with my ticket stub. Judy made sure she had taken her ticket stub as a remembrance as well.

Confetti and ticket stub memorabilia.

Confetti and ticket stub memorabilia.

I was in bed by about midnight but I didn’t get to sleep until about 2:30 AM.

The Days That Followed

The next day I started working on making a mix CD of all of the songs we had heard that night. Some of them I already had on CD. A couple of them I bought on iTunes. The remaining songs were acquired by a method not altogether dissimilar from the one in which I had first acquired Beatles music (wink wink nudge nudge say no more). A Google search provided me with the set list from the concert. Apparently the McCartney press office had released a set list in the concert had followed it except that it originally was supposed to contain “Get Back” instead of “I Saw Her Standing There“. I like “Get Back” okay but I was glad the other one was substituted. I later found another set list with links to some of the songs on YouTube and it helped me identify Beatles versus Wings versus just plain Paul songs.

It took two CDs to hold the entire collection of songs from the concert. I had asked Anne if she preferred live versions or studio versions of the songs where available. She said “studio” and I agreed. I like them best so that’s what I did. She came over that evening and brought her camera so I could download the photos. I was overjoyed to see how wonderful they all were.

I took a break from my Beatles adventure on Tuesday and then on Wednesday through Friday I worked on writing this blog. It took me from lunchtime to suppertime all three days to complete it. Then it took me all afternoon Saturday and Sunday to edit it, upload it, and attach the images. As you can imagine, writing it was an emotional experience as well. However as I said in the beginning when I have big experiences in my life, they aren’t complete until I’ve written about them.

I originally started doing the Wikipedia searches just so that I could link the song and album names in this blog onto something but along the way I learned a lot about the songs, how they were written, and the context in which they were written. I did not know for example that “Abbey Road” was actually the last album they recorded even though “Let It Be” was released after “Abbey Road”. I did not know about the role that the “Long and Winding Road” had played in the breakup of the Beatles.

Although Wikipedia is not always the most reliable sources for encyclopedic information, my guess is that Beatles fans would not allow an accurate information to stay on the site for more than a few minutes. Even if it isn’t 100% accurate but still is some interesting reading and I encourage you to click on a few of the links.

harrisonWhile preparing this blog I also stopped by and ordered DVDs of “The Love We Make” which was the documentary about the post-9/11 concert that McCartney did. Also “George Harrison: Living in the Material World” which was the Harrison documentary I mentioned. And while I was at it I ordered the Billy Joel documentary “Last Play at Shea” and a Blu-ray of the concert film “Billy Joel: Live at Shea Stadium

Me in my Paul McCartney T-shirt. Photo taken with my new Nikon S3500 point-and-shoot camera.

Me in my Paul McCartney T-shirt. Photo taken with my new Nikon S3500 point-and-shoot camera.

Then in early August I made one more purchase. I wasn’t going to have a camera that you stupid AA batteries that you had to take out and charged by themselves. For a long time I had wanted a new camera that was chargeable by USB. My friend Stu recently bought a new Nikon point-and-shoot that was really nice so I went out and bought one for myself. It has a 7x optical zoom, shoots 720p video in addition to stills, and the extremely thin considering resume. On sale at Best Buy for under $100 and I couldn’t resist. Here is a photo of me in my Paul McCartney T-shirt taken with the new 20 megapixels camera. Note I downsized the picture to lower resolution for uploading a blog. You don’t want to see my age spots and scruffy beard at 20 megapixel resolution trust me 🙂

Overall it’s been an amazing experience and one that I’m certain I will never forget. Sharing it only with Judy and Anne just wasn’t enough. I had to put it down in my blog and share with everyone. I hope you’ve enjoyed our own little Magical Mystery Tour. I like mine better than the original.

Paul McCartney in Concert: Part VIII “Encore Encore”

After that last Beatles song, I was really surprised when the band again came downstage and waved and bowed. He still hadn’t sung “Yesterday”. The summer before last, Judy and I went to Deer Creek to see Elton John and we were surprised at how many people left during the encore. He still had not done “Your Song”. I realize it was a cold and rainy night and that traffic would be hell leaving the place but why would you spend all of that money and sit through the entire concert and not wait to hear him sing “Your Song”. Judy and I are also the kind of people who never leave a sporting event until it’s completely over no matter how big the score is one way or the other. If you’re going to pay the money to see the event by God you ought to stay for the whole thing!

Judy noticed that the couple who had been standing in the row 1 seats behind us were about to leave after the first encore. She said to the woman “You do know he’s coming back to sing ‘Yesterday’ don’t you?” The woman replied “Oh yeah that would be worth staying for.” And they stayed. As I looked around the arena I didn’t see very many people leaving. This second break was much longer than the first one. We were not going to let him end the show without “Yesterday”.

When he eventually returned, he picked up an acoustic guitar, walked to the center of the stage, and our wishes were fulfilled.

What We Came for

Yesterday” 1965 Beatles album “Help!“.

I cried.

“Yesterday, All my troubles seemed so far away…” Photo by Anne Chapman

I could just leave the review at that but after having detailed the emotions and feelings and history behind so many other songs, I really need to talk a tiny bit this one. I was 10 years old when the song first came out. I liked the song just like everyone did. It was once voted the best song of the 20th century and you will get no disagreement from me there. But it really didn’t mean that much to me until three years later when I got my heart broken by my first love Rosie Shewman. I must have sung that song to myself and cried myself to sleep for hundreds of nights. Of all of the “soundtrack-of-my-life” songs in the world this is the “soundtrack-of-my-life-iest” of them all.

Wallet photo of my first love Rosie Ellen Shewman

Wallet photo of my first love in junior high Rose Ellen Shewman

Although she broke my heart, we did end up becoming very good friends throughout high school. In my high school yearbook she wrote “You mean more to me as a friend than you will ever know “. I realized at that moment that the reverse was also true. She meant more to me as a friend than I had ever realized. That taught me a lesson which has served me well throughout many relationships. No matter how much you are attracted to a woman romantically, if the romance isn’t meant to be, don’t discount the powerful blessings that come from a deeply felt lifelong friendship. The chief beneficiary of that lesson was sitting next to me as I cried through the song that night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Wallet photo of my good friend from high school Rosie Shewman

Wallet photo of my good friend from high school Rosie Shewman

I still miss Rosie every day. I carry these two photos of her in my wallet. The last I saw her was at the Roberts School reunion in 1986 which was chronicled in my award-winning magazine article “The Reunion“. She got married and had a baby. She passed away October 29, 1993 of complications of disability.

I won’t ever see Rosie again. I won’t ever hear John Lennon or George Harrison sing live in concert. And soon this wonderful experience of hearing Paul McCartney sing these wonderful songs would be over and would be just a memory like Rosie and Lennon and Harrison and all of the other events of my life that I had relived over the past couple of hours.

So I cried.

"… I believe in yesterday". Photo by Anne Chapman

“… I believe in yesterday”. Photo by Anne Chapman

Mood Breaker

Helter Skelter” 1968 Beatles album “The Beatles (White Album)“. Once McCartney had finished Yesterday I expected him to take another bow and walk off the stage for the last time. I was really surprised when he declared “Do you want here’s a more rock ‘n roll?”. Naturally most everyone screamed “YES!”. I was too spent to say anything. What came next was an assault on the senses both audibly and visually that was completely unpleasant in my opinion. McCartney had said in an interview that they wrote the song to be the loudest, raunchiest rock ‘n roll song ever written.

I had actually never heard the song before. I had never owned the White Album and it was at a period in their history where I really wasn’t that big of a Beatles fan anymore. Some of their music from “Magical Mystery Tour“, “The White Album” and “Yellow Submarine” was just too bizarre for me. I didn’t really get interested in the Beatles again until “Abbey Road” which followed.  Given the connection of this song to the Charles Manson gang and the book and film about him of the same name, I never felt inspired to go back and listen to the song after I heard about it and the Manson connection. All I can think of that night was I was glad I wasn’t on drugs and I was a little bit pissed off that he would follow such a wonderful song was such a horrible one.

Before the final songs started, McCartney gave a big shout out thank you not only to his band but to all of the other stage technicians, audio, video people and even the truck drivers who made the show possible. I thought it was great that he gave the roadies a shout out.

And in the End…

Golden Slumbers“, “Carry That Weight“, “The End” 1969 Beatles album “Abbey Road“. McCartney returned to the grand piano and begin gently playing Golden Slumbers. I had run out of tears by that point and the mood had been broken by the previous song however I did get a little bit emotional over this medley of songs which have long been favorites of mine. They are three out of four final songs of Abbey Road which is one of my favorite Beatles albums. Thinking about Golden Slumbers I felt a sense of peace that John and George and Rosie and all of my other friends who succumbed to their handicaps were now sleeping Golden Slumbers. The rock ‘n roll bridge in Carry That Weight is so much a part of the medley and I enjoyed so much that I didn’t mind it as an interruption.” The entire lyric of the final song it was a fitting conclusion to this entire adventure. “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

To be concluded…

Paul McCartney in Concert: Part VII “Encore”

Photo by Anne Chapman

Photo by Anne Chapman

After the big “Hey Jude” sing-along, the entire band came out and took a big bow and waved and walked off the stage. Of course that didn’t stop the crowd from cheering for several minutes and with “Yesterday” still unsung he had to come back. This was the first time since the beginning of the show over two hours prior that McCartney left the stage at all. It wasn’t too long before they all returned. As they came on stage they were waving large flags. They had American, British, and state of Indiana flags that they waved to thunderous applause. Finally after handing off the he picked up a guitar and the show continued.
Photo by Anne Chapman

Photo by Anne Chapman

Day Tripper” 1965 Beatles single on compilation album “1962-1966 (The Red Album)“. Okay we are back in Beatles mode yet again. I didn’t cry with this one but it definitely transported me back to a place and time in the 60s. I always loved the double entendres of this song. Also had a particular question about one of the lyrics (“she’s a big teaser”) and after reading the Wikipedia article, I see that the lyric was changed from a raunchier one. That means we got the message even if they did change the lyric 🙂

Photo by Anne Chatman

Photo by Anne Chatman

Hi, Hi, Hi” 1972 Wings single. This is a heavy rock ‘n roll song is a great one for an encore performance when everybody is all fired up. They did a rousing version. Check the Wikipedia link to see how the BBC banned this song from the airwaves.

I Saw Her Standing There” 1963 Beatles album “Please Please Me“. Now we’re all the way back to the beginning. This was the first track on the first Beatles album and a longtime favorite of everyone including me. It had McCartney’s signature screams of “Wooooo…”. Again I didn’t cry for this one but it didn’t transport me to another time and place yet again.

I recently enjoyed watching a special on PBS where McCartney was given The George Gershwin Award for songwriting at a special ceremony at the White House. A variety of artists were invited to come in and perform various McCartney songs in tribute to him as he was given the award. But they also invited comedian Jerry Seinfeld to come in and do a few jokes. Apparently McCartney is a big fan of Seinfeld. He started off by saying how much he loved McCartney’s work but he wondered if some of the lyrics were just a little bit suggestive. Quoting from the song Seinfeld said “‘She was just 17 if you know what I mean.’ No Sir Paul… Just exactly what do you mean? This all sounds a little creepy to me!” I about laughed my ass off when I heard the joke originally and I couldn’t help but giggling throughout the whole song thinking about what Seinfeld had said.

At some point during one of the encores (I cannot exactly determine when) Anne turned her camera towards the balcony and took the photo below. When she first brought me the photos I skipped through them rather quickly and when I saw she had taken a photo of the audience I just thought it was an ordinary crowd photo. I didn’t notice it right there in the middle of it was me in my yellow shirt and Judy sitting to my right in her blue and white stripes caught in mid clap.

Judy and I in the balcony. Photo by Anne Chapman

Judy and I in the balcony. Photo by Anne Chapman

After “I Saw Her Standing There“, the band took another set of bows and walked off stage again.
To be continued…

Paul McCartney in Concert: Part VI “Sing Along with the Finale”

After the emotional tribute to George Harrison it was great to have some fun songs to raise the movie again. It was time to build up for a grand finale and we were not disappointed.

Let’s Have Some Fun

Photo by Anne Chapman

Photo by Anne Chapman

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” 1968 Beatles album “The Beatles (White Album)“. This is a fun little Beatles song which was a big audience participation song. People chimed in on the refrain “La la la life goes on…”. I really needed something upbeat after that previous song.

Band on the Run” 1973 Wings album “Band on the Run“. This is one of my favorite Wings songs and they did a really great version of it. Again another big upbeat song to get me over the Harrison thing. It’s one of a number of Wings songs that changes tempo in the middle. It starts out as a soft ballad in and goes into hard rock. I really enjoyed it. Especially the synthesizer solo.

Back in the USSR“1968 Beatles album “The Beatles (White Album)“. Always liked this hard rock song even though it was a bit difficult to like a song about the USSR at the height of the Cold War. I always thought it was strange that they wrote the song having never been to the USSR. Check out the Wikipedia article about how it was written as a parody of the Beach Boys and their influence and input into it.

After the song he went over and sat down at the grand piano at the back of the stage again and begin talking about the time they did get to go to Russia and played the song. They were the first rock band ever to be invited to play in Red Square. He said they were introduced to all sorts of Russian officials such as the defense minister and other high ups in the Soviet government. He said they tried to be as polite as possible not wanting to set off some international incident and wondering just how welcome they would really be there. He said the defense minister came up to him and said “The first record I ever bought was ‘Love Me Do'”. McCartney did a pretty good fake Russian accent as he told the story. He went on to say that some of them told him they learned English by listening to Beatles records. One of them came up to him, shook his hand and said “Hello Goodbye”. I thought it was a really good joke. I don’t care if it really happened or not. Because he had returned to the grand piano I knew that one of my much awaited songs was not far off. I was not disappointed when the next song was…

Let It Be” 1970s Beatles album “Let It Be“. When I said at the beginning that I had braced myself for emotional moments in a Paul McCartney concert wherein he would likely sing lots of Beatles songs, I was a little bit concerned this might be a tough one for me. It’s probably fourth or fifth on my favorite Beatles songs but the more I got to thinking about it prior to the concert I realized it wasn’t really a tear jerk kind of song for me. I just really really liked it.

I suppose the most emotional part about the song for me was that we used to sing it in my high school choir and that I had the sheet music for it and learned to play the opening piano introduction on our Hammond organ in my house. Back in the days when I had better use of my hands (hell any use of my hands) I liked to play the organ. Most of the time I played a one note melody with my right hand occasionally hitting a two note chord. There were only two exceptions to this limitation. One was a Christmas hymn “What Child Is This?” in which I could play pretty good melody with the right hand (one note at a time) and a base note with the left hand. However “Let It Be” was my masterpiece. I played it with both hands and at certain points actually played two note chords with each hand! I worried a little bit that the fact that I might get nostalgic and upset over my loss of ability to do this would make the song a tough listen for me. As it turned out I just set back and enjoyed hearing one of my favorite songs being beautifully performed live.

One other note… Part of my love of the song was it talks about “Mother Mary”. Being brought up a good Catholic boy I naturally presumed that it was talking about Mary the Mother of God. The fact that the piano gives way to a church organ part of the way through the song probably reinforced that idea. It wasn’t until about a year ago that a friend of mine ruined it for me (thanks Megan) by telling me that Paul’s mother was named Mary and that the song was about her. Megan believed it was a double meaning but my research since then says it was all about mother McCartney. I still like the song a whole lot and it was wonderful to hear it in person.

It’s also a little bit sad that it was one of their last big hits on their last studio album before the breakup. Actually by the time it was mixed and released the breakup was complete. That always makes it a little bittersweet for me.

Live and Let Die” title song from the 1973 James Bond film “Live and Let Die“. I remember when I first heard that Paul McCartney was going to do a James Bond theme. I thought it was really cool that they would hire a rock star for such a role. Pop stars had performed Bond themes in the past most memorably Shirley Bassey performance of “Goldfinger“. But I didn’t recall a rock star writing and performing such a song. However it set a precedent that continues through the most recent Bond theme when Adele wrote and performed “Skyfall” and won an Oscar for it. “Live and Let Die” was nominated for best song Oscar but lost to “The Way We Were“. The Beatles did win Best Score Oscar for the documentary “Let It Be

I had seen McCartney perform this song for the Queen’s Jubilee and it included lots of pyrotechnics and fireworks. It was really spectacular so I was hoping we would get a good show for this one and I was not at all disappointed. There were four very loud fireball cannons that went off in the front of the stage. There were also Roman candles shooting fireworks balls into the air at various angles. Along the back of the stage there was a row of about 10 or so smaller fire cannons shooting small orange propane fireballs into the air.

bond3I noticed that one of the rear cannons wasn’t shooting fireballs that was shooting a continuous orange flame about 6 feet tall. The flame continued to burn after the other devices had quit shooting. It had me a tiny bit worried we were going to see some disaster if the thing got out of hand. The flame gradually died down and ended as if someone had slowly cranked closed a valve. Near the end of the song when the rear fireballs resumed, that particular one did not do anything. I thought it was kind of cool that the stagehands had a way to selectively shut that one down and did so.
As wonderful as these photographs are from my friend Anne, I’m a little bit disappointed she didn’t get a wide shot of the whole stage showing some of this pyrotechnic stuff. But I can’t really complain considering how awesome the rest of her photos are. And you can see some of the fireballs in these images. The song ended with a loud explosion and McCartney walked away from the piano holding his hands over his ears shaking his head and laughing. The whole thing was every bit as spectacular as a James Bond song performance should be.
Hey Jude” 1970 Beatles album “Hey Jude“. Judy had been saying since well before the constant that she couldn’t wait to hear McCartney sing to her directly “Hey Jude”. I told her “You know it was actually written for Julian Lennon don’t you?” She said “Yeah I heard that they are wrong. It’s all about me.” With the song started she let out a big cheer.

This is always a big audience participation song for the much repeated coda at the end. The audience didn’t need much encouragement to sing along. The band quieted down and just kept a beat for the audience to sing to. He went through the usual live concert routine “Everybody on this side.” And then “Everybody on that side”. And now just the guys. And now just the gals. And now EVERYBODY! It’s a cheesy trick but it’s a lot of fun and I screamed out the words just like everybody. I was kind of surprised how clearly you can tell the difference between the men and women singing. There was clearly a deeper tone. Lots of times when they say “just the guys” the guys don’t chip in and sing very much but this time they did. Everybody likes singing along to the song and it was a lot of fun.

So it wasn’t just McCartney singing to Judy. It was about 18,000 people in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The band all stepped forward with McCartney, took a bow, and walked off stage to thunderous applause.

Paul McCartney in Concert: Part V “Songs From Silly to Serious”

I’ve said it many times so far and I will say it again, my good friend Anne Chapman took some wonderful photos that I’m pleased to share with you. I teased her after the concert saying “Now you did write down which song he was singing during each photo didn’t you?” Of course there was no way to enjoy the show and keep such notes. There are a couple of piano songs coming up that were played on an upright piano. The image of that piano is not from this section of the concert. It was brought back out for another song during the second encore and that’s where the image is from. Also he began one song on ukulele. Unfortunately she did not get a photo of the ukulele. In this section I can’t guarantee that these photos matchup with the songs. So just enjoy the photos and the descriptions even if they don’t line up perfectly.

This piano was used on "Your Mother Should Know", "Lady Madonna", and "Golden Slumbers". Photo by Anne Chapman.

This piano was used on “Your Mother Should Know”, “Lady Madonna”, and “Golden Slumbers”. Photo by Anne Chapman.

A Psychedelic Piano

Your Mother Should Know” 1967 Beatles album “Magical Mystery Tour“. They rolled out an upright piano with a 60s psychedelic paint job on it and the band returned to the stage. I never saw the 1967 TV special “Magical Mystery Tour” and never really cared for many of the songs in this period. It was all just a little bit to psychedelic and weird for me. I don’t think I have ever heard this song before. During the song, Judy turned to me and said “That piano sounds like ‘ Lady Madonna’style piano”. She was right because the next song was…

Lady Madonna“1968 Beatles single. Judy was ecstatic that she had called it correctly. She said she still had the 45 record at home and when it was new she played it constantly. It’s one of her favorites. I always thought it was a pretty good Beatles song. During the song the screen behind the stage projected images of famous women from Mother Teresa to Marilyn Monroe to Judy Garland holding an infant Liza Minnelli and countless others.

This was one of those songs I was surprised to learn was only a single and was not put on an album until years later when it first appeared on the 1970 compilation album “Hey Jude“.

Photo by Anne Chapman

Photo by Anne Chapman

All Together Now” 1969 Beatles album “Yellow Submarine“. Back on guitar again this silly little song was actually written for a TV special in the UK. Click on the links for details. It was supposed to be a frivolous little sing-along children song and that’s exactly what it is. Although there was some audience participation moments in the concert ironically this sing-along song was not one of them.

Songs with Names in Them

Photo by Anne Chapman

Photo by Anne Chapman

Lovely Rita” 1967 Beatles album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“. This was another of the songs that McCartney said they had not done on tour before. Judy and Anne had never heard it before however they were not big fans of the Sgt. Peppers album. Neither had they seen the cheesy 1978 film “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” starring Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees among others. Both the album and the bad film are guilty pleasures of mine. There are lots of goofy little character songs on the album and I had thought this one was in the movie as well but my research says it wasn’t. It’s about a meter maid with whom the author of the song is madly in love. I always thought that this song, “Mr. Kite” (coming later) and the other silly songs were a lot of fun. My favorite from the album and the movie but was not played in the concert was “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer“. I especially love Steve Martin’s version of it in the film.

Photo by Anne Chapman

Photo by Anne Chapman

Mrs. Vanderbilt” 1973 Wings album “Band on the Run“. This was an audience participation song. We practiced and then chimed in on the “oh, hey ho” refrain. I had never heard the song before. It looks as though we’re putting together a theme section of the concert with songs that are the names of people. So naturally the next song had to be…

Eleanor Rigby” 1966 Beatles album “Revolver“. This was one of the songs that Anne was especially looking forward to hearing. So Judy and I immediately turned to one another and said “Well, Anne is happy now”. I guess because at times I’m one of those lonely people I always really liked this song. Those of you who know the Enneagram Personality Typology know that I am a type 5 and I always thought that Eleanor and Fr. McKenzie mentioned in the song might be type 5 as well. The idea that the padre was “writing the words to a sermon that no one would hear” reminded me very much of Maria Beesing’s parable about the type 5 person in the ivory tower writing everything down but never sharing it.

Reproduction of poster which inspired "Mr. Kite" song.

Reproduction of poster which inspired “Mr. Kite” song.

Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” 1967 Beatles album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“. This is another one of my favorite silly songs from Sgt. Pepper both the album and the movie. I saw a documentary one time with Sir George Martin produced many of the Beatles records. He explained the inspiration for this strange song was a poster that John Lennon had found in an antique shop. A reproduction of the poster is shown here and you can get all the details in the Wikipedia article by clicking on the title of the song. I like this live rendition and it had a really cool laser light show with it that gave at the circus feel of the original song. This was the last of the “never before performed live” songs of the evening.

Crying Spell Number Two

Something” 1969 Beatles album “Abbey Road“. McCartney walked to the side of the stage and picked up a ukulele. He said that this was a gift from George (George who? snicker) who loved to play ukulele. He said that George was a big fan of British comedian and singer George Formby who was famous for playing ukulele as well. He said one day he and George (Harrison not Formby) were sitting around together on a sofa and started playing one of George’s songs both of them on ukuleles. He then began playing and singing “Something in the way she moves…”. He sang at least an entire verse and a chorus or perhaps more all alone just strumming on that little ukulele. It was mesmerizing sitting there watching him play and thinking about the two of them sitting around strumming of these little instruments in an impromptu jam session. When the song got around to the electric guitar solo, the band joined in and from there out they sing the entire song in a fully produced version reminiscent of the original.

This was the second time in the evening that I broke down and cried. I’ve already mentioned that I had recently watched the documentary about Harrison titled “George Harrison: Living in the Material World“. That documentary was also emotional for me because it taught me all sorts of things about Harrison and I never knew and made me realize how underappreciated he had been by everyone during his lifetime. As the song went on I began thinking that I would never hear George Harrison perform live because he died of cancer in 2001. So I thought to myself this is the closest I’m going to get to hearing him live. To hear one of his closest friends sing his greatest song in tribute to him.

Paul McCartney in Concert: Part IV “Memories Both Fond and Sad”

At this point I think my emotions have pretty much settled down and I’m just sitting back and enjoying the show.

Back to the Guitar

Photo by Anne Chapman

Photo by Anne Chapman

I Just Seen a Face” 1965 Beatles album “Rubber Soul“. McCartney moved back to guitar after playing several piano songs. This is a fairly obscure old Beatles song. I think I’ve heard it somewhere but it’s not a favorite by any means. My research says in the UK had originally appeared on the “Help!” but it and one other song were excluded from the US version of that album.

Another Day” 1971 McCartney single. This was his first single released as a solo artist. Sort of like “Maybe I’m Amazed” I think it got overplayed so much that I got tired of it.

My Roots As a Bootlegger

And I Love Her” 1964 album and movie “A Hard Day’s Night“. Okay it’s time to get emotional again. This is my second or third most favorite Beatles song of all time with “Yesterday” holding the number one spot and this one in a close tie with “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” from the album and movie “Help!“. I was back in the Beatles concert again and although I don’t think I cried during this one it did get me pretty emotional.

peabodyOkay Mr. Peabody set the Way Back Machine for 1964. The location is the Lafayette Road drive-in theater and I’m sitting in the back of our Corvair van in my wheelchair with a tray across my arm rests. Sitting on that tray is a small 3 inch reel-to-reel tape recorder. (Note this was before cassette tapes became widely used.) The microphone is propped up on the window of the van right next to the horribly low quality drive-in movie speaker that is hanging in our window. I’m watching the film “A Hard Days Night” with my mom and dad. Every time one of the songs comes on I quickly hit the record button on the tape recorder. The people who sneak video cameras into theaters these days to bootleg movies thought they were on the cutting edge of bootleg technology. All the way back in the 60s I was bootlegging the soundtracks of this film, “Help!” and “Mary Poppins

This song was performed in the movie during a sound check for the TV show in which the Beatles were going to appear. It really ticked me off that there is a brief interruption of the song by one of the TV technicians saying something during the sound check. Back then before even seeing the movie I had heard the song and really liked it and was disappointed that it had been ruined in the film and not presented in a pristine version.

The version I heard that night in the concert was absolutely wonderful. I also liked that the video camera got a close-up of one of the band members playing the percussion of clicking wooden sticks together which is one of the signature parts of the original arrangement. The other signature part of that song is a four note guitar rift that is absolutely beautiful. In the 2011 documentary “George Harrison: Living in the Material World” which I had recently seen, Paul McCartney said that even though many of the Beatles songs were listed as written by “Lennon-McCartney” it was George read written that brilliant four note rift that McCartney himself thought made the song special and so do I.

At some point during the concert and I really can’t remember when, he announced that he was going to play songs that had never been heard live in Indiana. He said in some cases the songs were being played on tour for the first time this tour. Judy and I both figured it was some newly recorded song but in each case it was an old Beatles song. I don’t recall if this was one of those that he said it never been performed on tour or not. However according to Wikipedia it says that this song was only performed live twice by the Beatles. That means it was probably was one that he first said had never been done “in Indiana”. You can click on the song title in this section and read the details. I do recall a couple of other ones that he categorized this way and I will mention them later.

Photo by Anne Chapman

Photo by Anne Chapman

Blackbird” 1968 Beatles album “The Beatles (White Album)“. I hadn’t noticed but most of the band except for the percussion had left the stage during the previous song and for this song, McCartney walked downstage to a smaller stage in front of the regular stage. This beautiful little acoustic guitar ballad is a big favorite Beatles fans and probably top 10 on my list. Anne told me afterwards that the guy who was sitting next to her had gotten pretty choked up during the song. A friend of Judy’s had told her that at one point during the concert the last time they saw him he had played a segment of the concert on his own with no other accompaniment so we were certainly expecting this and pleasantly surprised he was doing it again. As he sang that front section of the stage started to rise up about 15 or 20 feet in the air. I sort of felt sorry for the people in the front row who probably couldn’t see him for the first time the concert. I’ve always enjoyed acoustic solos in big loud concerts. There’s just something piercing about the sound of an acoustic guitar in a huge arena or outdoor amphitheater like Deer Creek. I mentioned I’m a fan of the group Yes and they always do one or two acoustic songs this way.

Photo by Anne Chapman

Photo by Anne Chapman

Here Today” 1982 McCartney album “Tug of War“. This very touching song was dedicated to “my friend John” who is no longer with us. It was written after his death and was in the form of a conversation they never had. As he introduced the song I wondered if there were young people in the audience saying to themselves “John? John who? I wonder who he is talking about.” I guess I was just feeling old. My guess is 99.99999% of the people there that night knew who “John” was. I had heard him perform the song before I don’t recall when on TV. Judy and Anne had never heard the song before. When I saw it before and that night in concert it was obvious that he chokes up a little bit trying to sing it.

It was a little bit emotional for me not that I felt the loss of John Lennon all that much. I love his music but personally I didn’t really care for him. I like that he was all for peace and love and all of that but I always thought that this signature piece “Imagine” was a little too atheistic for my taste and can even be construed as communist. I don’t mean communist as in Soviet or Chinese dictator style communism. But at more pure type of communism in which people share everything equally. I think John Lennon was so introverted and withdrawn that at times he came off as aloof and inaccessible. Paul and Ringo have such big personalities that you can’t help but like them. George also seems quite withdrawn and inaccessible but not in an arrogant kind of way. So to the extent that you can have a least favorite Beatle out of session unbelievably talented group of people, John was always my least favorite.

I did get emotional however because it told me that there were things left unsaid between Paul and John and I felt sad for him because of that. I had experience that at a young age when many of my friends in high school succumbed to their disabilities at an early age. I learned the lesson the hard way not to leave things unresolved with someone when you never know if you’re going to see them again. This is especially true for apologies.

Photo by Anne Chapman

Photo by Anne Chapman

To be continued…

Paul McCartney in Concert: Part III “Some Unfamiliar Songs”

After the very emotional memories brought back by the last Beatles song it was a welcome relief to just get some ordinary songs. Some of them I had never heard. Some Judy had never heard but I had. One was a much different version than I had ever heard and my research after the concert explained why.

For the Wings Fans

Listen to What the Man Said” 1975 Wings album “Venus and Mars“. If he had sung another emotional Beatles song at this point it probably wouldn’t kill me. Fortunately he shifted to a upbeat tune from Wings that wasn’t at all mushy. It was just a nice little rock song that gave me a chance to catch my breath. I’m not sure if it was before or after the song that he stepped to the side of the stage and took off the black jacket. He announced “This is the one and only costume change of the evening.” He also picks up a different guitar. This one a lead guitar painted in psychedelic 60s colors and paint scheme. I’m not sure if the costume and guitar change was before or after the song but it was about now.

Photo by Anne Chapman

Photo by Anne Chapman

Let Me Roll It” 1974 Wings album “Band on the Run“. I’m not sure I had ever heard this song before. It features a big electric guitar riff that repeats throughout the song. They did an extended version it was the electric guitar portion sort of merged into a bit of Jimi Hendrix’s song “Foxy Lady”. After the song he explained that it was in tribute to Hendrix who he said was a fan of the Beatles. He told of a time that they released an album (I forget which one) and two days after the release, Hendrix has learned one of the songs and incorporated it into his own shows.

Naughty Nurses

psychedelicguitar2Paperback Writer” 1966 Beatles single. This is a silly little song about an author whose life’s ambition is to write paperback novels. I mentioned that there were video screens on either side of the stage. They were tall narrow screens that projected live video of part standing on stage. However the center background of the stage was also a giant video display that mostly showed still images but some video that related somehow to the song. On this song it showed the cover images from cheap paperback novels mostly about naughty nurses and the like. In fact most of it was nurses in old-fashioned white nurses uniforms and white surgical masks on. Many of them were covered in blood. I recall it as one of those songs that was a hit song but nobody ever really bothered to pay attention to what the lyrics were about. They didn’t carry it was a Beatles song and it had a great beat and so it was popular. Judy and Anne neither one had ever heard it. As we were waiting on the elevator after the concert we talked to a couple of women in their 60s who had come all the way from Cleveland to see this concert. They had on Beatles T-shirts they had bought on eBay. As we were talking about which parts of the concert they like the most one of them said they got emotional over Paperback Writer. I don’t know what happened in her life in 1966 that connected her to that song. It seemed like a silly song to get emotional about. Oh well. I guess her life at a different kind of soundtrack than mine even though it was Beatles 🙂

I will flash forward in the story for a moment here to say that the day after the concert I went searching for all of the songs that we had heard that night. I had to research many of them on Wikipedia to try to figure out when they were written and what album they were from. I was quite surprised to learn that many of the songs were released only as singles. I was thought that the typical route for music was that a man would release an album first, release one or two songs as singles, and if they were hits continued to release other singles from the same album. But this song as were many others by both The Beatles and Wings were first released only as singles and sometimes B-sides a singles but we’re not put on albums until years later when they would throw together a retrospective or a collection of previously non-album singles. This particular song did not appear on the album until the 1970 album “Hey Jude” which was just a collection of such singles.

On the Piano

Photo by Anne Chapman

Photo by Anne Chapman

My Valentine” 2012 McCartney album “Kisses on the Bottom“. At this point McCartney moved to a grand piano elevated on the right rear of the stage. This is a recent song which he wrote for his current wife. The album is a collection of him singing mostly cover songs of classic pop and jazz songs such as Irving Berlin‘s 1925 “Always” and Johnny Mercer‘s 1944 “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive“. He explained that he wrote it for his current wife while they were on a vacation that was marked by lots of rain. During the performance on the center video screen was a video of a man and a woman performing the song in American Sign Language. McCartney plays piano and it includes an acoustic guitar solo that is great. It was really beautiful both the song and the signing performance. I had heard the song on one of his recent television performances perhaps the Hurricane Sandy concert? I forget. It really fits in well with the other old standards on that album. Neither Judy nor Anne had ever heard it but they liked it a lot.

Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five” 1973 Wings album “Band on the Run” The year 1985 is mentioned once in the song that I never really knew why you would name also song that when it was mostly a love song. It’s got some great piano riffs and a big rock ‘n roll beat. On the original album it is in a big crescendo with a full orchestra among other instruments. For the live version the keyboard player using a synthesizer had to provide all the horn section and other orchestral sounds. There’s also some pretty good guitar riffs in it. Not my favorite Wings song but a pretty good one. Judy took the opportunity of a nonemotional ordinary Wings song to make a quick trip out to the restroom.

The Long and Winding Road” 1970 Beatles album “Let It Be“. This was a much different version of the song that I recalled. It was very simple stripped-down piano and acoustic guitar version. It’s a sad ballad that I always really liked. The original version always seemed a little bit overproduced to me with a big orchestra that seem to over dramatize the song. I was disappointed that Judy wasn’t going to get to hear it because she was still in the restroom. When she got back I told her she had missed “The Long and Winding Road” and she said she hadn’t. The restroom was right outside our door and she could hear it just fine. In fact we even sounded better with the volume down and not so much echoing around and sort of muffled sound you get when your ears are overloaded.

Photo by Anne Chapman

Photo by Anne Chapman

It wasn’t until I looked up the Wikipedia article on this song that I learned there was a lot of history I didn’t know about the song. According to Wikipedia it was the last straw so to speak that broke up the Beatles. After they had recorded the original version, producer Phil Spector brought in the orchestra and tried to overdub it with the orchestra. When McCartney heard the overproduced orchestral version he wrote a nasty letter to management at Apple records insisting that the song be remixed. His request went unanswered. There are more details in the Wikipedia article that you really ought to read. In 2003 the remaining living Beatles and Yoko Ono released an album titled “Let It Be… Naked” which was a remixed version of the entire “Let It Be” album. The one we heard at the concert that night was more like the “naked” version and I loved it.

Maybe I’m Amazed” 1970 album “McCartney“. This was probably the most famous of his early post-Beatles songs. It’s dedicated to his wife Linda who helped him get through the breakup of the band. I think when the song was originally released he got overplayed so much I got tired of it and it never really appealed to me after that. I did like the piano playing in the original and at the concert but it’s not one of my favorites.
To be continued…

Paul McCartney in Concert: Part II “Traveling in Time”

The Overture

In my previous post I chronicled the events leading up to my attendance at the Paul McCartney concert at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July 14. When we last left our intrepid concertgoers, the lights had dimmed, images begin being projected on video screens. I declared “The concert had begun!”

But it hadn’t.

The images that went scrolling by on the screens started out with images from what appeared to be McCartney’s childhood. The music included McCartney and/or The Beatles and/or other people singing Beatles songs throughout history. You could see it progressing from the past up to the present. However at the rate it was going it soon became obvious this was going to be an extremely long introduction. Each song seem to play out in its entirety where it would’ve been better just to have a few 30 second clips from each song and fewer images. It showed The Beatles back in Liverpool. It showed them coming to America. It showed their hairstyles changing throughout the years. It finally got into the post-Beatles era and included more songs from Wings and other solo songs. Some of them the original songs and some were cover songs by other artists which were pretty interesting. But this overture dragged on and on. Judy looks at her watch a couple of times but I don’t think she looked right as it finally completed. My guess is it was about 25 minutes long which was way way too long. The crowd was pretty polite through most of it but they did start clapping and chanting when it finally became apparent it was almost over. It concluded with the Wings song “Silly Love Songs”. Judy kept saying “that would be a good time for him to come out and start singing that song.”

The images finally shifted to an image of a starry sky. The stars rearranged into the image of McCartney’s famous violin shaped left-handed bass guitar. The lights finally dimmed completely and he and the band came on stage to thunderous screams and applause.

He was dressed in a long black coat over a white shirt and tie and had on black pants. (Actually it just looked like a narrow 60s style necktie. As the photo shows it was just a black stripe on his shirt.) He was carrying the famous bass guitar that I just described. The band consisted of two other guitar players, a keyboard player and a drummer.

Photo by Anne Chapman

Photo by Anne Chapman

You can click on all of the concert photos that Anne took to see larger versions.

Song by Song

What follows below is my impression of each song that he sung, the effect that the song had on me and a little bit of my own history regarding that song. Fortunately I was able to find a set list online the following day which helps refresh my memory of what was played and tells me a little bit about the songs that I didn’t know. The links on each song title and album title take you to Wikipedia articles.

8 Days a Week” 1964 album “Beatles for Sale” This seemed a strange choice for an opening song. I like the fact that it was an early Beatles song and I always thought the title and concept was kind of good for a love song. The idea that seven days a week wasn’t enough to show how much you cared for someone. The backbeat of the song seems to be a little bit country and western in its flavor. I’ve noted that it’s a favorite of country singers on American Idol when it comes to Beatles Week. I guess since I’m not a country music fan it’s not been one of my favorites. But I really didn’t have much time to think about the song itself because it was just so bizarre to think I was really had a concert with Paul McCartney. I sort of flashback to hearing comedian Dana Carvey talk about the first time he met Paul McCartney. His speech turned into something like a little kid and he reached out and touched him and said “You’re a Beatle. I touched a Beatle”. That is exactly how I felt just being there.

Here is a YouTube excerpt from Dana Carvey’s HBO special that shows the routine that I’m referring to. If an illegal copy so this link might end up being broken in the future.

Junior’s Farm” 1974 Wings song. What was this? Another country song? If I wasn’t pretty sure that they were playing almost the same set list throughout the tour I might’ve thought they were stereotyping Indiana as a bunch of hillbilly farmers and trying to win us over with some country songs. This one was recorded in Nashville while the band Wings was staying on someone’s farm. I think I had perhaps heard it one other time but it was hardly among their greatest hits. I was just settling back and enjoying the show, still a little bit awestruck about where I was.

Tell Me Why You Cried

Photo by Anne Chapman

Photo by Anne Chapman

All My Loving” 1963 Beatles album “With the Beatles” Holy Shit! I completely lost control of myself in tears just begin pouring down my cheeks. The song has no introduction. It just starts out with Paul’s local “Close my eyes and I’ll kiss you. Tomorrow I’ll miss you.” It was like someone had thrown me into a TARDIS time machine and transported me out of the arena. It was no longer July 14, 2013. I was no longer at a Paul McCartney concert. It was 1964 and I was at a fucking Beatles concert! It wasn’t that screaming 12-year-old girl in the front row of a Beatles concert kind of crying. I was still 58 years old and it had finally hit me that I was at a concert with the greatest song writer of my lifetime. He was singing a 50-year-old song that was just as meaningful today as it was the day he wrote it. Somehow it wrapped up in the little package all of the wonderful feelings I had ever felt about any Beatles song ever written and all the emotional things that had ever gone on in my life that were somehow connected with Beatles music.

I was surprised by how emotional I had gotten over the song. I had prepared myself for a Paul McCartney concert. I prepared myself the to be moved and to enjoy “Let It Be”. I figured I would cry on “Yesterday” for reasons I will explain later. What I had not prepared myself was for the emotion of being at what felt like an actual Beatles concert. It didn’t matter that there was only one Beatle on stage. I was at a concert that I never thought I would have the opportunity to attend. It really freaked me out.

People tend to throw around the phrase “The Soundtrack of My Life” much too easily these days. I’ve been a fan of Elton John ever since I first heard “Your Song” and it was great to see him in concert two years ago. I love Billy Joel. I saw him in concert back in my college days and still love his music. The 70s rock group “Yes” is among my favorites of all time. I’ve seen them in concert several times as recently as two years ago. My love of keyboard music stems from my love of Keith Emerson of the group Emerson, Lake, and Palmer who were my favorite band in the 70s. The greatest concert I had ever seen was their “Works” tour which came to Market Square Arena and featured accompaniment by a full symphonic orchestra. I’ve seen Sting (with and without The Police) in concert several times and I own all of his albums and love his music. I’ve seen productions of Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s “Phantom of the Opera” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” (the latter of which I could sing by heart at the drop of a hat.) I’ve been to see stage productions of “Les Miserables” three times and saw the recent movie of the musical. Despite my love for all of this music, none of it deserves the title of “The Soundtrack of My Life”. That title is reserved for the music written by the man who stood on the stage across from me and sang a 50-year-old rock ‘n roll love song.

The old violin shaped bass guitar and the long black coat that looked like The Beatles and the fact that even though his face is much wrinkled it is still that same smiling baby face we all saw on the Ed Sullivan show 50 years ago… It all merged together to transport me into a different time and place and filled me with emotions I’m only marginally able to describe here.

When the song was over Judy turned to look at me and I said to her “Is this for real? Are we really, really here? I’m crying my eyes out.” She started laughing a nervous laugh and said that she had been crying as well. She said she couldn’t stand up and cheer or do anything during the song. She just had to lean back and cry. She had said repeatedly before and after the show “I’ve been waiting 50 years for this.” And it meant a lot to both of us that we both had broken down in the same way on the same song at the same time. We both understood what it meant to each other and it meant more to both of us because we were there was someone who understood.

If I had gone with my sister Carol or my sister Karen or just with Anne alone or anyone else I would’ve enjoyed the concert just as much. But I would not have had that moment where Judy and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes and we understood that we had each shared something special.

Photo by Anne Chapman

Photo by Anne Chapman

To be continued…

Paul McCartney in Concert: Part I “Before the Concert”

I had the wonderful experience of seeing Paul McCartney in concert at Bankers Life Fieldhouse last Sunday, July 14. Like all big events in my life I don’t feel like they are complete until I write about them. The following multipart blog is about my experiences.

Historical Context

When The Beatles landed in America in February 1964 and appeared on the Ed Sullivan show I was just nine years old. There was so much hype leading up to the event that it became a must-see television show. I was at my Grandma Osterman’s that Sunday night like we were most Sunday nights in those days for family get together and generally a poker game. But everyone gathered around the television to watch this new group perform. My dad says he was so fed up with all the hype he refused to watch. He just went in the other room. I don’t really recall what I initially reaction was to the music. But in the weeks and months that followed I became a Beatles fan just like millions of others.

On September 3, 1964 the Beatles performed two shows at the Indiana State Fair coliseum and of course the local hype for the event was extensive. Film clips were shown on all the local news stations. It wasn’t until I was just researching this event that I learned that The Beatles stayed at the Speedway Motel about a mile from my house.

Of course I was much too young to attend that concert. As far as I recall “The Beatles” as a group never returned to Indiana. I was always disappointed that I never got a chance to see them live.

Paul McCartney however has played shows here in Indianapolis in the past but I always figured the tickets would be expensive and hard to get. I don’t really recall when he was here before or the reasons why I didn’t go. I guess it just seemed like if it wasn’t really the full Beatles it would be a letdown of sorts. I also expected he would play mostly songs from his solo albums or with his new band Wings. While some of those songs are pretty good and have become classics, they still aren’t as important as original Beatles songs.

lovewemakecoverBut a few months ago when I heard that Paul McCartney was coming back to Indianapolis to play Bankers Life Fieldhouse I decided perhaps this was an opportunity to check an item off my bucket list. Even if it wasn’t the full Beatles it would still be an experience worth having. Also my decision was influenced by a number of TV shows I had watched recently regarding Paul McCartney and The Beatles. One of them was a documentary called “The Love We Make” which followed Paul McCartney around New York City in the days after the 9/11 attacks as he prepared a benefit concert for the 9/11 victims. It was filmed and directed by Albert Maysles who had previously done a documentary about the Beatles when they first came to America. He also made several other famous documentaries such as “Grey Gardens” and “Gimme Shelter“.

lastplaycoverI had also seen McCartney perform on several other TV specials including the documentary about Billy Joel called “Last Play at Shea” and a documentary “George Harrison: Living in the Material World“. He also performed at the benefit concert for hurricane Sandy. Back when he was first touring with Wings it seemed like he was trying to promote his new music and put the Beatles behind him. The more recent shows contained more and more Beatles music and that made it all the more interesting to see him.

The Pursuit of Tickets

Tickets for the upcoming concert at Bankers Life Fieldhouse had already been on sale for over a week when I finally made up my mind to try to get tickets. I really didn’t have much hope that any would be left but I did know the policy was that they do not sell handicap seats to non-handicap people until the last minute. The seats that I wanted would be high in the balcony opposite the stage which for most people would be considered some of the worst seats. However because my head doesn’t turn very well, seats along the side of the arena aren’t very good for a concert for me. They’re great for basketball and hockey but not concerts. Last year I had seen Barry Manilow at Bankers Life and even though you’re pretty far away they always have video screens at concerts these days so it was really an enjoyable experience.

I clicked on links on Ticketmaster requesting one wheelchair seat and one companion seat. I didn’t know who would go with me but I figured I wouldn’t have any problems finding someone to go considering this was Paul McCartney. Usually I ask someone to go with me before I try for the tickets but I did want to get anyone’s hopes up if I couldn’t get them. Much to my surprise and pleasure, within a few minutes I had emails confirming that I had to tickets to see Paul McCartney at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July 14, 2013!

My first call after that was my good friend Judy Chapman. “What are you doing on July 14 this year?” I asked her.

“I don’t know that date sounds familiar… Isn’t that the date of the Paul McCartney concert?”

“In fact it is… Do you want to go? I’ve got tickets!”

Of course she said yes. She went on to say that she and her daughter Anne had thought about going. However they were on vacation in New York seeing Tom Hanks and Nathan Lane in Broadway shows when the McCartney tickets went on sale. Anne had considered buying tickets for Judy for her birthday which was in June. She would have to buy them from a ticket broker and it was just too expensive for two tickets. I sort of felt bad that I didn’t get three tickets instead of two but I was so surprised I got two to begin with.

In the end, Anne got to go anyway. She went to a ticket broker and got a single seat on the left side of the arena about five or six rows up from the floor. She never said what she paid for the tickets but I’m sure it was quite a bit. Those tickets aren’t cheap from the box office and you add on the ticket broker fees it’s got to be steep. So even though we weren’t able to sit with her, we did ride down to the concert and back with her. She was also in a good position to take some phenomenal photos which you will see further down this blog.

I was willing to pay for Judy’s ticket but we negotiated a compromise. She bought my ticket for my birthday which was July 12. I bought her ticket for her birthday in June. It seemed like forever as we counted down the days to the big event.

Preshow Activities

One wrench almost got thrown into the works… My dad had been having problems with swelling in his feet. After several tests the doctors concluded that an aortic aneurysm that they had been watching for many years was probably throwing off microscopic blood clots causing circulation problems in his feet. They scheduled his surgery for Friday, July 12 (my birthday) just two days before the concert. We weren’t sure what kinds of restrictions would be placed on him. Our typical plans for concerts would have him driving us to the Fieldhouse and dropping us off at a special handicap entrance and then picking us up afterwards. It makes it much easier than finding a parking place. However since Anne would be with us, Judy could drive, drop us off at the handicapped entrance, go park and then meet up with us.

As it turned out dad was in good shape after his surgery. He wasn’t supposed to do anything too strenuous so Judy and Anne did the work of loading me in and out of the van and operating the van lift. Dad just did the driving.

Judy and Anne came to my house early and brought some McDonald’s for dinner. That gave us plenty of time to talk and get caught up on recent events. Then we packed up and headed for the concert.

I was a little bit concerned if the security measures had changed. I have a large leather satchel on the back of my wheelchair where I carry raincoats, medicine, and air pump for my inflatable seat cushion, and other miscellaneous items I might need an emergency. Typically the screeners just look in the bag and look in people’s purses and camera bags but changes in NFL policy now say that you can only carry clear bags of a particular size. If that carried over to other venues it might be a problem.

The only change I noticed however was that the security screening was now done outside the handicapped door. In the past I seem to recall the screening being done indoors right before we got on the elevator. I suppose doing it outdoors is a better idea considering how crowded the lobby can get. Someone with malintent could do a lot of damage in the lobby.

We had arrived plenty early because we weren’t sure what traffic was going to be like especially considering Indiana Black Expo may have been having events downtown as well. But we didn’t have much traffic going in.

There was a long line for the elevator that took a while to get through. When I went to see Barry Manilow and got there early, they did not let people on the elevators or into the arena itself until about one hour before the concert. Fortunately they were letting people in plenty early this time.

Photo of program I purchased for "Paul McCartney Out There Tour"

Photo of program I purchased for “Paul McCartney Out There Tour”

The three of us went to the upper floor where my seats were and immediately began looking for a souvenir stand. I bought a T-shirt and a program. I haven’t bought souvenirs at a concert in 20 years because the prices are just so outrageous that this was something special and I had to have souvenirs. It was $40 for a T-shirt and $30 for the program but I didn’t care. I offered to buy Judy a coffee mug but she said no thanks.

The wheelchair section was either the same one I was in for Barry Manilow or it was one right next to it in aisle 216. However much to my surprise there were two rows of folding chairs in the level area at the front edge of the upper balcony. Our tickets said “Row 2”. If we were going to have to sit back in the second row from the edge with people sitting in front of us, there was no way I was going to be able to see. I was really worried and was going to be really pissed if we were stuck behind that other row. Fortunately Row 2 was the front row. The usher said “We don’t even do this area for Pacer Games. This is only because it’s a sellout”. They removed a couple of the folding chairs in the front row and we parked my chair right against the railing. Judy took her spot next to me on my right. Judy asked “Are you where you want to be?” She was probably referring to the position of my wheelchair. I replied very enthusiastically “I’m EXACTLY where I want to be” and I smiled really big. I wasn’t talking about wheelchair position. I was talking about being at a Paul McCartney concert with her.

Up until the concert started I was still a little bit worried someone was going to say “No wait a minute… You’re supposed to be back here.” But fortunately we were where we were supposed to be. The folding chairs in back of us were sold. Able-bodied people eventually showed up behind us but they stood up through most of the concert.

Anne left us and went to take her seat. After she got there we exchanged phone calls to figure out where she was and managed to spot her. We waved back and forth at each other. She had great seats.

Our approximate seat locations. Anne in section 17. Judy and I in 217

Our approximate seat locations. Anne in section 17. Judy and I in 217

We got out my program and look through it a little bit but the lights were very dim and it was a little bit difficult to see. Included in the program was a pair of cardboard red/blue 3-D glasses because some of the images in the program were 3-D. By the time you put on the 3-D glasses it was way too dark to see the images at all. That would have to wait until I got home.

We reached in my wheelchair bag to get out my camera so Judy could get familiar with it. We turned it on and something started blinking. I had her show it to me and just as I recognized it to be the low battery indicator, it shut itself off. We tried turning it on again and it would blink for a few seconds and shut down. Dad had just replaced the batteries before we left but one of them must of been bad or didn’t take a charge. I was going to have to rely on Anne to take photos for me. We told her over the cell phone that she was going to be our sole photographer for the event. I was so happy she was up close and had a really nice lens. She was going to get better pictures than I would’ve ever gotten.

Over the PA system they started playing music little bit louder than I would’ve liked for a preshow time period. It seemed that it was a variety of different artists doing covers of Beatles songs. I liked the music but it made it hard to talk before the show. Judy kept checking her watch and I kept asking the time as he got closer and closer to 8 PM.

Judy went out to get us something to drink. Unfortunately it was Pepsi set of Coke. I didn’t care. I was exactly where I wanted to be.

Precisely at 8 PM the lights dimmed slightly and images began projecting on two video screens to either side of the stage and a different track of music started playing. It was really starting to happen. The concert had begun!
To be continued…