I had the privilege to see Sir Paul McCartney last night. This is as close as I ever got to the Beatles thing. Actually it was unbelievable. It was unbelievable to be there and hear Let it Be, Hey Jude, The Long and Winding Road, Blackbird for God's sake... I have never cried at a concert but last night I did and I can't even tell you from where that sprang. Music, as Oliver Saks and many others have written, reaches into primordial space with in us. It ties itself to emotional memories, and can evoke them.. in some way I'm kind of thinking that's what happened last night.
Then there is the energy factor - I am ashamed to say that a 68 year old man far out lasted me, and most of the people in the audience. At one point I thought, finish already, I'm exhausted! And he just kept on going. Paul McCartney has to be one of the most generous musicians I have been lucky to see. Yes the tickets were expensive but for a change, they were worth every penny - and he made sure of it. He was engaging with the audience, calling up a lucky Jessica to get her arm "signed" so that she could get a tattoo, and another young lady got her dress signed. He read the signs held up by people in the audience - and responded to them. He shared tidbits - and I'm sure he does this all the time, and I'm sure its part of the script and show - but he makes it feel very personal. Maybe thats the emotional leverage his music gives him... you're hooked from the first note... when you first start singing, you're in your living room (in my case it was the basement) listening to those records that you played over and over and over again. See, I'm tearing up all over again...
Then there is the group phenomenon. Holy shit can 18,000 people make a lot of noise! There was no doubt that Sir Paul felt the love last night. From the second he stepped out - actually it was a few seconds before he did, there was such a surge of cheering and screaming - the papers this morning dubbed it The Roar.. no kidding. Throbbing, pulsing, LOUD, loving, you could feel it... and the singing .... we were one voice joining with Paul.. again.. like in the basements of our youth... belting out the words to songs we will surely remember when our dementia sets in. That's not as crazy as you might think.
I'm grateful to have shared a history last night. I'm grateful that back in 1960 something, when my parents bought their stereo console, and were given 75 free records as part of the deal, they got the Beatles Hard Days Night album... without that I would have grown up with Heinte and Elvis Presley only ... and let me tell you THAT is something to be grateful for.