While I know many people can give credit to The Beatles, Paul McCartney and the music they generated for contributing to significant moments throughout their life, I feel that I am one of the few who can make the claim that Sir Paul is directly responsible for the best night of my life, hands down.
I have pretty much been a Beatles fan since birth. My earliest memories are of listening to The White Album on my parent’s record player, particularly Record 1 Side 2. Legend even has it that I knew the words to Blackbird before I could recite the Eensy Weensy Spider. In middle school, my friend Kelly and I bonded over our love of the Beatles, and became even closer after a traumatic experience in orchestra when our director started singing and dancing to “Twist and Shout” as we were playing. When Paul announced his U.S. tour in the summer of 2009, we immediately purchased tickets, even though all we could afford were seats in the nosebleed section of FedEx Field in Washington, D.C. We didn’t care. After 13 years of friendship, we were finally paying tribute to the man who brought up together!
Kelly and I were hanging out in our seats chatting, occasionally bursting out into fits of laughter because of how excited we were to sing and dance like fools during the show. Thirty minutes of so before showtime, a staff member working the event walked over to us and asked us if there was anyone else in our party, or if it was just the two of us. After we told him that it was just us, he gestured for us to follow him so he could speak with us off to the side. We grabbed our stuff and followed him, having absolutely NO IDEA what was happening. The following conversation ensued:
Staff Member: I work for Paul McCartney…
Staff Member: For all of his shows, Paul buys out the front row of seats so that we can walk through the audience and search for individuals whose seats we can upgrade.
Staff Member: Would you guys like to move up to the front?
Somehow, I managed to stop communicating solely in non-verbal punctuation marks and in the midst of a series of “OH MY GOD ARE YOU SERIOUS?” Kelly and I said No, and returned to our seats.
Just kidding, what kind of story would that be? Obviously, we gave him an emphatic YES and he swapped our cheap, peasant tickets with a golden ticket even Charlie Bucket would covet.
Kelly and I were laughing and crying as we ran down the ramps of the stadium towards the entrance to the floor section. I attempted to call my husband (then fiance) to tell him what had happened, but in my excitement my voice essentially just become a series of shrieks and all he could he was that some guy had taken my ticket. Before he could get in his car and drive down to the stadium to rescue me, I was finally able to convey what happened; while I was explaining it however, I had a brief, terrifying moment of “Holy crap, what if this IS a scam and now we have no seats?!” I held my breath as the security member on the floor entrance looked at our tickets; it must have been the sigh heard round the stadium when he let us through.
As we found our shiny new seats, Kelly and I were both still in total disbelief that this was actually happening. It become more real as we made it to the front row and saw all of the other lucky individuals who’d had their tickets upgraded as well. It was obvious then, and throughout the entire show, that each person they had selected to come to the front was undeniably a huge fan of Paul McCartney as a musician and as a person.
When Paul took the stage, I continued the trend of the evening by sharing all of my emotions through screams and laughter and tears; I felt like my heart was going to explode from happiness. Fortunately, that did not happen, and I was very much alive to enjoy the electric show that followed. Paul does an amazing job at his shows of playing hits from his time with The Beatles, Wings, and throughout his solo career, as well as a couple songs off his newer albums (but he knows what the people want and the large majority of songs are the ones that even people not familiar with Paul McCartney know and can sing along).
As this show was in Washington, D.C., Paul mentioned that The Obamas were actually in the audience and as a result he played Michelle, a song that was only performed during this stop on the tour.
Before the show, sadly, came to a close, Kelly and I managed to take what is one of my absolute favorite pictures of all time. Yes, even more than my pictures with Gertie, more than my wedding photos, more than cute puppies and otters and sloths and other adorable animals.
This night was nothing less than perfect and I am grateful every day that these are memories I have. All my life, I was only waiting for this moment to arise.