As soon as the Daily Mail switched to an afternoon paper a couple of years ago, I ceased becoming a morning person. My husband and I are perfectly content staying up late watching documentaries on Netflix and getting up in time to go to work the next day.
Few things will rouse me from golden slumber these days. One exception though is a certain former Beatle by the name of Sir Paul McCartney.
In a previous blog, I stated that were making the trek to the Queen City to see the king of songwriting, Paul, rock Great American Ballpark. We saw him last year on the inaugural concert on Consol Energy Arena in Pittsburgh.
So, we hit the long and winding road bright and early last Thursday on our very own Magical Mystery Tour. It’s not acceptable for us to just see a show, we go the extra mile to try to meet our idols, no matter how difficult that may be.
We checked into our hotel in Covington, Kentucky with a helter skelter pace as we set our sights for the ballparks in hopes of catching Paul’s arrival for sound check.
Fortunately, the backstage entrance was easy to spot and we saw a seemingly never-ending line of tractor trailers that toted Paul’s stage and equipment from every city on his On The Run Tour.
There was only a handful of other Macca fans waiting, so I eagerly took my spot at the front of the barricade. The police officers tried to tell us he wasn’t going to use that entrance, but as seasoned celebrity watchers, we simply saw them as the fool on the hill. We knew better.
As soon as I saw one of Paul’s top security guys, Brian Riddle, zoom past us on a golf cart, I knew we had chosen wisely.
Paul’s band began to trickle past us–first was, Paul “Wix” Wickens, then a stagehand named John clutching one of Paul’s guitars, then guitarists Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray made their way into sound check, giving us a wave and smile.
That’s when my inner Beatles fan girl really reared its head. I asked my husband, “Is the camera on, make sure the camera’s on.”
A few minutes passed, we saw two golf carts zip down to the upper end of the parking garage.
Again I asked, “Duane, I think he’s coming, make sure the camera is on.”
I uncapped my Sharpie and took firm grasp of the now-wrinkled concert poster Duane so kindly drew for me.
Then, we saw a flashing light on one of the carts. The moment was here. They were moving. I had an honest chance of MEETING a man I’ve admired for most of my life.
(FYI, you can see my head with sunglasses on and poster in the above video)
Even though the drive-by was quicker than Helen Wheels, it was in slow motion. Paul McCartney–a Beatle, a musical genius– was less than 20 feet away from me. He looked directly at me and my sign and flashed his boyish grin that has made millions swoon for the past four decades.
Always the professional, at 69 years old, he was dressed in blue jeans and a plaid button down with the sleeves cuffed.
He didn’t sign for our group that day, there was probably close to 40 that amassed behind us. In reality, I realize he can’t possibly sign for all his fans. If he did that, he’d have time for nothing else. He gave a final wave as he rounded the corner, then the backstage doors closed.
Seeing him that close though was definitely a thrill for us and was the perfect precursor to a wonderful evening at Great American Ballpark.
Paul took the stage in a smart, dark red jacket (a homage to the Reds, he quipped) and played for nearly 3 hours without so much as a sip of water. I read a quote where he said that was just the way he was accustomed to playing. You played your gig, then got off the stage.
I think I prefer an indoor arena show, but Paul and the band were amazing as usual. If you closed your eyes, you could almost imagine what it was like seeing the Fab Four at Shea Stadium.
The sheer joy that washed across the faces of virtually every concert goer — from the first generation Beatles fans to myself, teens and children perched on their parents’ shoulders — is a testament to the timelessness of Paul’s music and the musical impact he has made on the world.
As Paul energetically shouted before leaving the stage, “See you Next Time!” It was Hello, Goodbye.