My poor husband. He asks all the time and I am rarely interested. But this time, I couldn’t turn him down. Because this was not just another concert starring a rocker relic from our youth… well, actually, that’s exactly what it was. But it was Paul McCartney: One on One at the Verizon Center! You bet I said yes to that ticket to ride, even though it cost so much for a venue that I have outgrown (too big and too crowded — I’m spoiled by the Birchmere). We were cavalier in justifying the frivolous expense as the final celebration of my husband’s birthday that week. Plus we didn’t want to miss the opportunity again. How much longer could the guy go on touring? Let’s face it, Paul isn’t getting any younger. Or is he?
Well, there’s something in the way he moves. Sir Paul has discovered the fountain of youth. He looks and sounds amazing, much younger than his 74 years of age would have you believe. Think about it: he’s already a decade past “will you still need me, will you still feed me.” Some credit his vegan lifestyle; I just think he’s got great genes and a zest for life. For three hours he reminded us why he is unique – strumming his guitar, tickling the piano keys, belting out the songs we’ve been singing since we were pups, here, there and everywhere. And yet, it felt like he was the one honored to be there with us! He told stories, he waved at the crowd as he bopped from guitar to piano, he read people’s signs, he invited folks on stage, he signed posters and tattoos. When you got a job to do, you got to do it well. Live and Let Die exploded in a pyrotechnic conflagration of heat, music, and light. Hey Jude, Let It Be, Ob-La-Di. Life goes on. La la la la life goes on.
My older siblings were all bitten by the Beatles bug in the early 60s. After seeing them on the Ed Sullivan show, and then hearing a school friend singing one of their songs on the playground, my brother remembers feeling awestruck at the power of their music. The Beatles were a perpetual soundtrack as I grew up, wafting through the house from the turntables upstairs and downstairs. Fifty years later, I felt that same powerful, emotional force once again. Moved to tears as Paul sang The Fool on the Hill, You Won’t See Me, and Lady Madonna, I realized I’d have paid double to see and hear him play and whisper words of wisdom. Maybe I’m amazed by the way the music sent me back in time, but truly more amazed by the LOVE that poured from the audience to McCartney, and right back at us in return. One of the signs Paul read out loud declared “108 times.” My cousin saw the show the next night and Paul read it again, “109 times.” I wonder if that guy saw shows in all the eras Paul covered in song: the Quarrymen, Beatles, Wings, and solo work for so long, most recently with Rihanna and Kanye, for heaven’s sake – a band on the run for nearly six decades.
There was no sitting while Sir Paul played. A woman in front of me, also up and dancing, kept turning around and smiling the conspiratorial “can you believe this?” grin. Arms waving and singing out loud, we felt giddy and timeless. Was it because the music took us back to yesterday when all our troubles were so far away? You betcha! It felt like reading a favorite book from long ago, the words wrapped in the nurturing, familiar embrace of the melodies. You’re smitten with the music you loved then and still love now. Love, love, love. Wait a minute, didn’t the Beatles have a song or two about love?
Paul McCartney: One on One was a fabulous show, one of the best I’ve been to in a long time. I’m so glad my husband made it happen. I really need to say yes to him more often.
Note, Dave found this and wanted it added: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/paul-mccartney/2016/verizon-center-washington-dc-53fc9305.html