Monday, July 26, 2010

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today

When I was in the ninth grade, our research project was to write a 10 page biography of a public figure and present an oral report. My friend, Mary, was a huge Beatles fan and had a treasure trove of resources, so being the slacker I am, picked Paul McCartney, because she had the most information on him. Keep in mind, this was DECADES before the “internet,” so to do any kind of research, one had to go to a facility called a “library,” go to the “card catalogue,” and look up information in “books.” Mary received a hefty allowance at the time, about $20 a week, which in the late 70’s was a fortune, so she had enough disposable income to have amassed quite a library. Little did I know that before I finished this project, I would be in love.

I fell hard for the Beatles and Paul. Knew every song and bit of trivia I could find. I can still list dates of birth for all Beatles without Googling them. I started my own collection of albums, magazines, books and assorted memorabilia. For Christmas one year, my friend Mel gave me a t-shirt with the legend “War is Over, If You Want It” on the front, and “Happy Christmas from John and Yoko” on the back. I still have it, and on a good day, it still fits. I didn’t have all the albums, but most of them, and some were collector’s items. Like the copy of the white album (I know, actual title was “The Beatles”) pressed on white vinyl and I still had the inserts from that and Sgt. Pepper in tact. I carried on this love affair all through jr. high, high school, college and beyond.

In 1990, my dream of seeing Paul McCartney live finally happened. He played in Dallas, at Texas Stadium. This was really back in the day, when if you wanted concert tickets, you had to actually go to the ticket agency and stand in line all night, or phone in until you reached an operator to order your tickets. My Boyfriend at the time, who later became The Ex, lived in Dallas and I lived in Tulsa. The minute the tickets went on sale, we both started dialing. And I mean dialing, as I lived with my parents at the time and they only had dial-faced telephones. I dialed so many times, I ended up with a black ring around my dialing finger. It took a couple of hours, but I finally got through and ordered the tickets, even though the pickings were pretty slim by then.

We get to Texas Stadium, and our seats are literally behind the stage, on the top row of Texas Stadium. I could actually reach up and touch the dome. Fortunately, this was one of the first shows where the jumbo-tron screens were used, so we could see a little something. Mostly I just caught a glimpse of his hand when he would swing his guitar out at a certain angle. It was somewhat of a letdown, after waiting for so many years.

I may have mentioned, one of the most hurtful things The Ex did was hock my Beatles albums. I had taken such good care of them, saved all the posters and inserts and they represented so much of my growing up. It was such a personal thing he stole from me and I literally got physically sick when I made this discovery. Even if I had been able to track down my property, I was so broke, I wouldn’t have had the funds to get them back. I know rationally, they were just “things,” but that was a new low, even for him. So for years after this happened, whenever I’d hear a Beatles song, it would bring all that back up again, and I’d get pissed all over again. So he hocked much more than just the physical albums.

Last Christmas, The Husband got me the complete Beatles collection on CD. I listened to every one of them, and because he was so sweet in his reason for giving them to me, I could listen and not get angry. And man, I missed my boys.

I forgot how good every song was. I listened to songs I had not heard in decades. I was surprised at how good “Magical Mystery Tour” was. I was inspired to have Genius Girl sing “All You Need is Love” at our wedding. I got my Beatles back.

The Husband and I had breakfast over Memorial Day weekend with an old camp friend we had not seen in 28 years. Punk Paul LOVES his live music. He’s had several FB posts reviewing shows he’s seen over the last year or so, and when we were talking about the Fleetwood Mac show, I said I’d regretted not seeing them when they came to town, because it was just so expensive. I made the spot decision to not let finances get in my way the next time an act rolled into KC that I’d always wanted to see. Life’s too short and life’s too long, I reasoned.

So not more than two weeks later, it was announced that Sir Paul would be making an appearance in KC.

Tickets went on sale online on a Monday morning at 10 AM. I had created my account with Ticketmaster and was logged on at 9:59.

I was an online ticket buying virgin, so my co-worker, Kathy with a K, walked me through it. She also revived me when I saw the ticket price. Seriously, I’m going to have to sell a kidney to recover the cost. She also held my hand while I had technical difficulties because of the panic attack I was experiencing while trying to decide whether or not to commit my children’s college funds while the Ticketmaster stopwatch was counting down. But she bitch-slapped me into it, which is why I heart her.

So Saturday night was the big night. I was experiencing some anxiety because of the expense and the crowd. Have I mentioned I have trouble in crowds? Yeah. Not crazy trouble, but enough to skewer rational thinking. Our seats were smack dab in the center of the row, which added to that because I kept worrying I’d have to go to the bathroom which would have caused everyone in the row to stand up to let me by.

But once the lights went down and the first note was struck, I forgot all about that. Because, after all, it WAS Paul McCartney. LIVE.

I’m not qualified to write a concert review, but can relate my experience. The whole damn thing was just surreal. For over 30 years, the only pictures I have in my head of Paul McCartney performing were from movies, television or what I could see on the jumbo-tron at Texas Stadium. But he was LIVE. Paul-effing-McCartney. Live in the same room as me. And 14,999 other people. I’m still trying to process it. And I could see all of him, not just a hand. LIVE.

So I have no regrets about the expense. Totally worth it. I really have the Beatles back now. And I did not lose that part of my growing up; it was just sleeping for a while.

Setlist, so I don't forget: Venus and Mars/Rock Show; Jet; All My Loving; Letting Go; Drive My Car; Highway; Let Me Roll It/Foxy Lady; The Long and Winding Road; Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five; Let 'Em In; My Love; I've Just Seen A Face; And I Love Her; Blackbird; Here Today; Dance Tonight; Mrs. Vanderbilt; Eleanor Rigby; Something; Sing the Changes; Band on the Run; Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da; Back in the USSR; I Got A Feeling; Paperback Writer; A Day In The Life/Give Peace A Chance; Let It Be; Live and Let Die; Hey Jude. Encores: Day Tripper; Lady Madonna; Get Back; Yesterday, Helter Skelter, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)/The End.

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