This time last week, I was packing and baking muffins to take on our road trip to Winnipeg, excitedly counting down the hours until Paul McCartney’s concert. If you would have told me that within a week I would be on stage in front of more than 40 000 people with Paul McCartney; get a hug, kiss, and autograph on my wrist from him; get a tattoo at 1:00am on a weeknight; do multiple interviews with the media in the city; be on the front page of The Leader Post, and most of all, have so many friends, family, and STRANGERS be so excited FOR me, I would have NEVER, EVER believed you! Yet, here we are…
I intended to write about this amazing, surreal week in my journal, but I think that by blogging it, it will be easier to share with friends and family who are not on Facebook. That, and I will spare my husband from having to hear me tell the story to everyone haha. (Note – I WILL tell the story still if you’d like! I definitely enjoy talking about it! :P) Be warned – this will get long. I will TRY to keep it concise, but I can pretty much guarantee that it’s going to be detailed, overly-giddy, fangirl-y, and probably pretty “stream of consciousness” style. For the “too long, didn’t read” crowd, just scroll through the pictures. 😛
The best way to set the scene for this whole crazy experience is with a little bit of context. I’m pretty passionate about a lot of things – music, art, anything vintage, mid-century modern design, making jewellery, animal rights, and going to concerts and music festivals. However, one of my biggest passions is The Beatles! I have been a Beatles fan since I was very young. I started playing the organ when I was five-years-old, and any kid who grew up in the 80’s taking organ lessons knows that you honed your skills on the Kawaii books. These books contained many simplified Beatles songs. Whenever I was assigned a new song to practise, my parents, being awesome, would play the original recording for me so that I could hear it. I distinctly remember hearing “Hey Jude” and “Michelle,” and loving them. Shortly after that, my mom and grandma showed me a recording of The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. My mom had a little Paul McCartney figurine from her fan-girl days, and she showed me how his head bobbed, just like Paul’s did on stage. I was hooked. I played my parents’ Beatles / post-Beatles-solo-projects records, watched A Hard Day’s Night and Yellow Submarine, and when the Anthology came out in the 90’s, I watched the mini-series as it was aired every night. In high school, I had a plethora of obsessions, as any teen girl does – Leonardo DiCaprio, The Backstreet Boys, Prince William – but I always loved The Beatles. Case in point – my bedroom (after its Leonardo DiCaprio poster phase):
I painstakingly stenciled and drew that border, and then painted it with poster paint because I couldn’t afford anything better. It took about 3 days and 4 coats of paint. Worth it. It’s still there – I wouldn’t let my parents paint over it after I moved out! 😛
So what was/is it about The Beatles that I love so much? I don’t think I can even properly get into it in this post because then this will be WAYYY too long. I’ll save the comprehensive description for another time. To keep it (relatively) short, they were the most creative, hard-working, risk-taking, forward-thinking band of all time. They gave it THEIR ALL for years before they even made it big, playing 8 hour sets 7 days a week, constantly writing, and striving to set themselves apart from everyone else.
Individually, they were all intelligent, incredibly witty and funny, fashionable, SO creative, and let’s not forget, downright good-looking!
(Edit – My husband laughed out loud AT me and was like, “Ringo was NOT good looking!” So harsh! I said I’d prove him wrong:
Musically, there will never be another songwriting duo as amazing as Lennon and McCartney.
They broke every barrier and record, and constantly pushed themselves creatively.
Much of what we have musically today, The Beatles created the prototype. Music videos, lyrics printed on album covers, albums of songs written solely by the band themselves, the use of instruments from other countries, feedback, tape loops, backwards recordings, playing outdoor stadiums, concept albums – they were the first to successfully do it all!
Not only that, they played over 2500 concerts, sometimes performing in two different cities ON THE SAME DAY, incited a MANIA, shot movies, wrote books, released multiple albums A YEAR, filmed promo videos, and completed endless interviews and appearances, all in less than a decade.
No one will ever do anything like that again. Plus, their music is just SO AMAZING. The melodies, lyrics, content – it’s just unbeatable.
There are entire university COURSES devoted to The Beatles and their music. I really could go on and on.
John and Paul have always been equally my favourite Beatles. I intend to blog about “Why I Love John Lennon” on a different day, so I will devote this to “Why I Love Paul McCartney.”
If John were still alive, I would be following his tours around just as vigilantly.
His signature would be tattooed on my other wrist.
Alright. It’s 2002. I’m 19 years old. Paul announces his “On the Run” tour. I am ABSOLUTELY DYING to go. I plan to try to drive to the closest stop, St. Paul, Minnesota, butI know that my unreliable vehicle WILL NOT make it the 1050km drive. Thus, I make a proposition to my family:
(I was desperate enough to try to get my fifteen-year-old non-Beatles-fan brother to join me. Because THAT would have been a fun trip. *sarcasm*)
After weeks of begging, my dad gives in, and I work a minimum wage job for the rest of the summer to pay off this trip. SO WORTH IT.
Me waiting around outside of the venue (big surprise!), by the crew trucks, sporting my homemade Beatles purse haha. I did see Paul drive into the stadium, and he waved to the crowd. I was pretty excited!
The concert WAS AMAZING. You know those Beatlemania videos of the girls just losing their minds? I was one of them. I was so excited that I cried. I cried during “Yesterday,” I cried during “Here Today,” and I cried on the plane ride home because the concert was over haha. I also wrote NINETEEN PAGES in my journal about the concert. I devoted half of my concert scrapbook that year to this concert alone.
Cut to 2009. I’m a teacher now, and that means I have summer off, and ONE DAY per year as a personal day. Thus, unless a concert falls on a weekend or in the summer, or is in driving distance, I can’t travel. This KILLS me. However, this year, I luck out, and Paul is playing Coachella, and Coachella is during my Easter break. I also luck out to be dating someone who is in a band and who is a huge music / concert / festival fan, and a Beatles fan at that! (Of course I married him! What a catch! :P) Coincidentally, his name is Paul. We travel to Indio, stay at someone’s place whom we found on Craigslist, and enjoy the best festival experience we’ve had so far!
(He played “A Day in the Life” and “Give Peace a Chance. ” It. Was. AWESOME.)
2011 – A week before my WEDDING DAY, I fly to Montreal by myself. (One of my best friends, Sheldon, was living there at the time, so I got to visit him as well.) I think everyone thought I was crazy, but it was the only date of the tour that worked for me and I was NOT missing out! I splurged and got the Front Row Ticket package, complete with soundcheck. Up until that point, it was the best concert of my life.
I made this sign, and Paul pointed at it, winked, and gave me a thumbs up. I also got the set list AND one of Paul’s guitar picks. Then I got married a week later. Two of the best events of my life, in one week!
This girl got called up on stage, and rightly so. She came from Japan, AND it was her birthday? That trumps all!
Her tattoo signature was slightly more risque than mine haha.
2013 – Paul’s “Out There” tour is being announced, one date at a time. EVERY date announced is during the week, and I only have that one personal day! Finally, Orlando is on May Long Weekend, and there are TWO shows! I promptly buy two tickets and decide to take my dad as a thank you for taking me a decade ago!
In the cheap seats, we still had a really great view. I was really grateful to see the opening show of the tour, and Paul and the band were on top of their game! My dad enjoyed the show, and told my mom that I “looked like one of those bobble head chihuahuas.” Thanks, Dad. 😛
Again, I splurged on the Soundcheck package. I’m sorry, I know these tickets are expensive, but I’m a thrifty person, and there’s nothing I’d rather spend my money on than concerts and travelling. When it’s a concert of THIS magnitude, it’s a no-brainer for me! I went to the soundcheck and concert by myself, but I met some really awesome people, one of whom, Corey, I stayed friends with since the show.
I made this sign (and didn’t tell anyone back home because they’d think I was CRAZY), and took it to Orlando. No one got called up at either show, or the soundcheck. Oh well – the show was BRILLIANT and coincidentally, Corey and I had seats almost right beside each other in the 3rd row. It was a great night, AND I got the set list again!
I took a ton of pictures, but this is already too long…so here’s just one.
Setlist! Woot woot!
And yes, that is the same dress that I wore to the Regina show. I wore it in Regina because I said even BEFORE the show that it is my “lucky dress.” Good things happen when I wear it…boy, do they ever!
Shortly after I bought the Orlando tickets, my husband and I were driving to Juno Fest to watch some concerts. I happened to look up at the electronic billboard on Albert Street, and low and behold, it had a teaser image for the Out There tour, with a Regina date. I honestly screamed, and made Paul pull over, just to make sure it was real. I then texted, tweeted, Facebooked, Instagrammed, and used every other social media outlet possible to get the message out! The concert announcement happened the next day, and I lost my mind. REGINA! The little city on the prairies would witness PAUL MCCARTNEY!!! Tickets went on sale, and I bought some for the Winnipeg show, 6 hours away, and the Regina show!
As if I didn’t have enough to look forward to, my husband and I booked our honeymoon that we weren’t able to take previously since he was studying and I was completing my Masters. In July, we went to England, and of COURSE stopped for three days in Liverpool! We toured every Beatle-y thing you can think of, and it was one of the highlights of the trip! I took, literally, 1500 pictures during our stay in England, but here are a couple of Beatles-related ones!
Abbey Road! (We went twice. I walked it in bare feet a la McCartney the first time. It is INSANELY BUSY there and people are constantly almost getting hit by cars lol.)
Abbey Road Studios!
We hung out at The Cavern both nights that we were in Liverpool. It was SO much fun!
I honestly got choked up. I’ll talk about this experience when I do my Ode to John post.
Eleanor Rigby’s grave.
At The Casbah Club, where the Beatles got their first gigs. Pete Best’s brother was our tour guide.
The Casbah Club. John Lennon helped paint that roof, and carved his name into it.
The Beatles’ houses. I toured inside of John and Paul’s. (People still live inside of George and Ringo’s houses, which is crazy.) The guides take your bags so you can’t take even a purse or phone inside, so no pictures of that, unfortunately. Being inside of John and Paul’s bedrooms, though – pretty unbelievable. We saw and did so much more, but this post is already far too long AND I HAVEN’T EVEN GOTTEN TO THE CONCERT YET! I feel like this needs an intermission or something!
August 12, 2013: Paul and I drive to Winnipeg for the concert! Our seats are on the field for this show. Like both Orlando shows, no one gets called on stage. From what I’ve heard, only a few people were called up on stage during the Out There tour.
We got up early, drove home, and I went to the Hotel Sask to see if I could catch a glimpse of Paul arriving. I still really wanted to get an autograph under my Let it Be tattoo so that I could tattoo it on as well, and because no one had been called up at the Winnipeg show either, I thought that this would be my best chance. A crowd of people and I saw the band arrive, but Paul’s driver took him to the other entrance, so we missed him. Rusty, the guitarist, stopped and signed one autograph, and it was for one of my former students, Kaylyn!
After that, I went home to make my signs for the concert and prepare for the Regina show…which you can find, in all its detail, here!