(Warning -I need to add some disclaimers. This is an excessively detailed account of the craziest moment of my life. It has honestly taken longer to write than some of my Master’s papers. I planned to write about it in my journal and post the pictures on Facebook, but then my non-Facebook friends and family, and my Instagram friends all wanted to see the pictures, so this is the most convenient thing to do. That being said, if you do not wish to read my every thought, just scroll through the pictures. There are A LOT. Hopefully this at least provides some entertainment to my insomniac friends, those up in the night with babies, and everyone procrastinating from working today. 😛 I had initially created this all as one post but then had to split it in to two posts because it was RIDICULOUSLY LONG. Here’s Part One if you are interested. It will provide some good context, as well as pictures of the previous McCartney concerts I attended. I have told friends about my old Beatles-themed bedroom – I posted pictures of it here as well.
Disclaimer #2 – If you want to share this for some reason, feel free! If you want to use any of my pictures from the concert, please just let me know and credit me. Thanks!
Disclaimer #3 – I KNOW I sound like a ridiculous fangirl. I KNOW Paul McCarrtney is over 40 years older than me. Let’s just overlook that and understand that I’m a huge fan, okay? :P)
August 14 – THE BIG DAY! Even through I had just seen Paul McCartney play in Winnipeg two nights ago, THIS was the show I was really waiting for! So many of my friends, family, and even my students were going, and I wanted them all to experience the best concert of their lives and understand why I travel to see Paul’s shows! Not only that, I was FINALLY going to see Paul with my best friend, Shawna.
Meet Shawna. She’s pretty much the best wingman in history for going through this crazy day with me. We have been friends since we were three years old, and she, too, grew up with parents who were Beatles fans. I can vividly recall sneaking her dad’s Beatles CDs without permission (sorry, Vic!), taping them onto cassettes so that I’d have a copy (early bootlegs?), and listening to Twist and Shout while playing cards in Shawna’s bedroom. Good times! Like me, Shawna also travelled with HER Dad to see Paul in concert, braving a snowstorm to drive eight hours to see the show. She sent me pictures and video recordings of Paul singing “Yesterday” because I was so sad that I was unable to get the time off of work to join her. It helped to ease the pain haha. Because she’s a nurse and I’m a teacher, our schedules rarely mesh, but for this show, it worked. (Fate! Or, working lots of overtime on Shawna’s part. :P) Thus, we splurged on the Soundcheck Package and third row seats. A lot of budgeting and saving went on this year in my world haha. Needless to say, we were beyond excited to experience Sir Paul TOGETHER, and in the third row at that! Shawna came over to get ready. I made us headbands out of some vintage flowers I had bought at a garage sale.
Our signs were all set! We planned to hold these during the concert…
…and these during the soundcheck.
Shawna and I have had a LOT of good times over the past 27 years. We do have fun when we’re apart, but when we are together, crazy things happen. This would be THEE ULTIMATE example!
We got to the stadium and waited to get in to the soundcheck. They let us in to Mosaic Stadium, where everything was set to go. New seats have been added for Grey Cup, so the concert would be one of the biggest events to take place in Mosaic Stadium! All told, over 40 000 people were in attendance!
We killed time by taking pictures (obviously!) and visiting with other fans.
Our VIP passes!
At around 5:00, the soundcheck finally began! So exciting I can barely explain! I talked about it a bit in the previous post, but people who do not know me might wonder why I’m such a Beatles fanatic (which I explain in that post). Likewise, I mentioned how I’ve been a McCartney fan since I was young. There are a TON of reasons why he is an amazing musician and person, but here are a few of my top reasons:
1. He was, and is, incredibly hard-working and a total perfectionist.
(…and he was super cute. 😉 )
2. He taught himself to play many different instruments. (John and George were self-taught on many instruments as well.) On his first solo album, he played and recorded every instrument on the album rather than hiring a band.
3. His creativity is pretty much unmatched. He challenged (and still challenges) himself constantly, and he has written in pretty much every genre imaginable. Listen to the White Album, for example: “Honey Pie,” (vaudevillian), “Helter Skelter” (heavy rock) “I Will” (ballad), “Ob-la-di Ob-la-da” (raggae-ish), “Rocky Raccoon” (country), “Back in the U. S. S. R” (rock), and “Mother Nature’s Son” (folk). That’s on ONE album. He’s also written classical compositions, including a full oratorio.
4. Also like Lennon, he was very interested in art, literature, and poetry from a young age. He has done a lot of painting over the years, and has books of poetry published. He was doing quite avant garde things in the sixties before anyone else. I read an interview where he said that creatively, he feels like he is always inspired by everything around him, and that he “constantly has his antenna up for new ideas.” I can COMPLETELY relate to that feeling.
5. Even from the early Beatle days, he was always so polite and well-spoken to the press and fans, despite how crazy the fans were and how idiotic the press often was.
8. When his old school in Liverpool was set to be closed, he funded it so that it would remain open and would be turned into the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. He teaches the occasional class (CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE?!) and attends the graduation ceremony each year, apparently.
9. He has a great sense of humour:
10. He was a hipster before it was cool. 😛
Okay, I’ll stop now. Back to the sound check!
The soundcheck is essentially a private concert for about 50 or so people. I KNOW it’s crazy expensive, but honestly, there’s nothing I’d rather spend my money on than this and super-close seats at the concert, so it’s worth it to me. It was worth it to Shawna, too:
Just in her glory! But seriously, how can you not be?! And can we take a moment to recognize how completely suave Paul is in his Ray Bans? I mean, seriously:
It was really hot and humid, and Paul joked about the light being in all of our eyes for once, and not his (a statement I would truly understand when I was on stage). He also said that the sound was great, so I was relieved because I know how crappy the sound usually is at our city’s arena, and I was hoping it would be better in the stadium. He played an amazing set of songs. I jotted them down on my phone later so that I wouldn’t forget them:
Ram On! Drive My Car! Things We Said Today! HONEY DON’T?!? Are you kidding me?! I have heard John sing it on the BBC Recordings back in the early Beatles days, but never Paul! It was SO good!
I didn’t want it to end – SO much fun! Shawna, Dana, and I sang and danced the whole time! I had met Dana the day before at the Hotel Sask. She is from Saskatchewan, and she, too, got called up on stage once at a Toronto show. Like me, she is a die-hard fan, and she has been to fifteen shows! Thus, she understood the sign that I had made! Speaking of which, during the soundcheck, one of the videographers came up and videoed me with my sign. (Again, I explained the story behind the sign and why I made it in the previous post. Basically, I’ve been a Beatles fan since I was little, wanted to meet Paul since forever, and wanted to get his autograph. I decided that if I ever DID meet him, I would tattoo his autograph on so that I would always have it. I NEVER DREAMED that the crazy plan would actually work!) He told me to keep holding it up, and maybe I would get lucky. At the end of the show, Paul read the signs and called up a lady who had a sign that read, “I’ve had PMS for 50 years – Paul McCartney Syndrome!” He called her up on stage for a hug and a picture! I was really happy for her, as she was obviously a fan for a LONG time, and I couldn’t believe how composed she was on stage. I thought about how I would probably faint or cry! She was completely ecstatic when she left the stage, and with that, the soundcheck was over. Paul remained on stage to practise Mull of Kintyre with the city’s pipe band. I tried to linger by the stage (again, big surprise), but we had to leave. Oh well, the show would be soon!
We went upstairs to the box seats for the reception. We were treated to an awesome vegetarian supper!
And that is pretty much THEE WORST food picture I have ever taken, but believe me, it was much better than it looks here. Cheese and asparagus stuffed pasta, stacked mushrooms with peppers and cheese, bruschetta, lentil salad, bean salad, wild rice, delicious bread – it was all very good. This is where I must mention that one of the things I love most about Paul, apart from his music, is his passion for animal rights. Remember this?
I was in grade seven when I first saw this episode. I WAS Lisa Simpson, completely having a crisis about loving animals, and not wanting to eat them (or dissect frogs in Science class, which I refused to do until I was told that they were killed humanly. I’m sure that my teacher made that up so that I would obey…). Also, the news had just exposed the ruthless seal clubbing tactics happening in Canada, to which I remember crying my eyes out while I watched the footage. When I learned later about what Paul McCartney was doing to protest the clubbings, as well as what he and Linda had done (and he continues to do) for animal rights and vegetarianism, I had even more respect for him. I felt that even if no one I knew personally was as upset about such causes as I was, at least someone as important as Paul McCartney was trying to do something about it. I have followed his campaigns and have used a lot of the information to teach my own students about animal rights, and have done much with my students over the years to raise money and awareness for the Regina Humane Society, of which I am a member. I have total respect for all that Paul has done for the animals of our world.
Okay, back to the show…
We watched the crowd piling in, and we marvelled at the many generations of people sitting together. There were a lot of grandmas and grandpas, moms and dads, and children sitting together. It was really heartwarming. Paul’s music spans all generations. Incidentally, my friend who is a police officer and who was working at the venue, said what a great crowd this was and how there was not one arrest or incident during the show. Yay!
We decided to head down to our seats at around 7:30. We ran into some friends and my sister-in-law, Julie, in the concourse. Up until this point, only Shawna, and my friends Sheldon and Danae, knew that I was taking the tattoo sign. Even though I had taken signs like it to the other shows, the day before the Regina show, my husband was like, “That’s kind of…..weird.” He doesn’t usually judge my crazy shenanigans, so when he DOES say something, I know I’ve crossed the crazy-line. Thus, I didn’t tell him, my parents, or my friends about the sign. However, Julie saw it in the concourse, which I will refer to later…
Waiting for a concert to begin is one of THEE BEST feelings in the world. Seeing people of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, all there for the same reason – it’s just pretty amazing. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be the performer, knowing that all of these people spent their money to see you play. I’ve read many interviews that Paul has completed, and when he has been asked why he still plays his hits after all these years, he said that people are spending their hard-earned money and giving their time to see him. He knows that when HE goes to shows, he likes to hear the hits, and he wants to give his audience the same experience. I’m always blown away by how much fun he seems to have performing songs that you KNOW he has played tens of thousands of times. I have seen many of the classics in concert. I’ve seen the Stones four times – including this year at London’s Hyde Park – Bob Dylan, Elton John, Neil Young, Supertramp, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen – and they were all very good. However, with Paul, I always get the sense that he really, truly cares about his fans enjoying the show, and is not simply concerned that HE has a good time. He works FOR the audience.
“Sitting in the stands at the sports arena, waiting for the show to begin….Red lights, green lights, strawberry wine, a good friend of mine, follows the stars….Venus and Mars are alright tonight…..”
Earlier in the week, there was an article about four Regina guys who were going to be in the fifth row wearing authentic Sgt. Pepper costumes. I was excited to see what they’d look like. Apparently, so was everyone else – they were SWARMED by people wanting pictures! Of course, I was one of them! (Check them out on Facebook!)
Paul gave them a few shout outs during songs from Sgt. Pepper, and he even dedicated a song to them! SO COOL!
Shawna and I both went to London this year at different times, and both managed to buy the same set of Beatles buttons, despite the fact that there was literally THOUSANDS of different pieces of Beatles merchandise in London! #twinsiesforlife
Around this time, something amazing happened…..the crowd of 40 000+ STARTED DOING THE WAVE! I LOVE THE WAVE! I never felt that Regina’s crowd would be lame, but I WAS afraid that they would be too polite. I’ve been to arena shows here where everyone sits and claps politely, seemingly afraid to get too into the show or simply in awe of the performer. I was worried that this could be the case. However, Regina is home to the craziest, most supportive, BEST fans in the CFL, and we know how to party, so I should have known they’d be pretty wound up. THEY. WERE. PUMPED! The wave went around at least 1 times – maybe more! I videoed part of it…but then stopped recording. #fail. Apparently, I was too overcome by the awesomeness. However, someone did a much better job than I did and captured it here:
Prior to Paul taking the stage, DJ Chris Holmes plays a set of remixed Beatles and McCartney songs. I’d LOVE to buy the mix when/if it ever comes available, but a similar mix is available at the above link! (Thanks, Dana!) Simultaneously, the screens featured a running collage of photos and video of the Beatles, Paul, and his family. I love watching it – it’s like a collage or a painting being created in front of you. I wouldn’t doubt Paul painted and collaged the thing himself. In Orlando, I took pictures of pretty much each aspect of it, but here are a couple from Regina:
And then, just like that, Paul was on stage, the show was starting, and the crowd was GOING NUTS! All I could think (other than OMG OMG OMG) was that everyone would FINALLY witness everything that I had pumped this show up to be for the past 11 years! Shawna said she was so excited that she was shaking, and I said that I was feeling the same way. I can’t even imagine what I would have done if it really was the 60’s and I was at a Beatles concert. Mostly likely I would have fainted…or spontaneously combusted.
I am now realizing that this post is WAYYYYY too long, and I am only at the beginning of the concert. I’m clearly the worst ever at being concise. Thus, I’ll just post a sampling of my concert pictures and TRY to limit the captions to save you from having to read for a while! I took a photo of pretty much every song, but here are a few for now.
Ahh John! ❤
I love this one!
Story time with Sir Paul. He was talking about when, the Friday that the Sgt. Pepper album had come out, Jimi Hendrix was playing in England. By the end of the weekend, he had learned “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and played it live in concert, as Paul was watching. He said it was one of the ultimate tributes that he was paid.
He talked about how wailing on the whammy bar threw Jimi’s guitar wildly out of tune, and how he asked Eric Clapton to come and tune his guitar for him. Eric didn’t want to, tried to hide, and this was Paul’s impression:
“Maybe I’m Amazed” – one of my favourite songs of the show, and one of my favourite songs of all-time. I also love playing it on the piano. We definitely held our signs high during this song! Another reason why I love Paul – his relationship with Linda. They were the best couple in rock history. From the time they got together until Linda died, apparently they were only ever apart for a few days in almost thirty years. Not only that, they endured a lot of flack when Paul taught Linda to play the keyboards and sing on his solo album and in Wings so that they would be able to tour together with the kids. Just listen to “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “My Love,” or “No More Lonely Nights.” Sigh.
I love this one as well. I wonder what he’s thinking.
Paul telling the crowd the story behind “Blackbird.”
Paul performing “Here Today” on the elevated stage, with the image of the moon and tree silhouetted behind him. This is one of my favourite moments of the concert. It’s extremely moving, and of course, I always get choked up. Paul even gets kind of choked up sometimes when he performs this song, and rightly so. If you weren’t at the show or were unaware, Paul wrote this song for John shortly after he died. It’s a conversation that they never got to have. I can’t imagine singing such an emotional song in front of 40 000 people. I absolutely love what he says at the beginning of the song, and I videoed it in Winnipeg. I had to film the screen because it was better quality than zooming in. I didn’t film it here because the security guard was right beside me in the aisle. Too risky, even for me. 😛
Here’s my video from Winnipeg:
Back to something more upbeat, one of my FAVOURITE lesser-known Beatles songs, “Your Mother Should Know.” I love the clips in the background from Magical Mystery Tour!
“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.” I could tell that Paul mixed up the lyrics, but seriously, who cares – he can do what he wants. However, he called himself out on it and said, “Just today, I gave an interview to your radio station, and I said that this song is the hardest to perform live because the bass line goes one way and the lyrics go another. I guess I proved that tonight!’ or something like that! Totally down to earth!
Another of my favourite moments, Paul’s tribute to George through “Something” on ukulele. George loved playing the ukulele and he had a collection of them, so Paul learned Something and played it to him. Just….so good. SO GOOD.
“Let it Be.” Everyone held up their lights on their phones and ahhhhhh it was SO BEAUTIFUL! Again, crying. It was all too much with the song, and the lyrics, and the lights, and the organ, and the crowd, and just..everything.
The crowd was honestly the best crowd I’ve ever experienced at a McCartney show, and I’m not just being biased because this is my hometown, I promise! Paul thanked the crowd a lot, so I think he understood how appreciative we were that he chose to play our little city! We were in our glory!
“Live and Let Die!” The fire and fireworks are so awesome when performed at a stadium! The fire is SO HOT when you’re up front!
Paul’s reaction haha.
“Hey Jude,” PROBABLY my favourite performance, and in my top three favourite songs of all time. I know it’s cliche to say that’s your favourite Beatles song, but ahhh it’s just so melodic and wonderful! Plus, the story behind it, and how John thought it was about him, and how he persuaded Paul to keep the “the movement you need is on your shoulder” line in the song…it’s just the best. Singing along with the “na na na na na na na”s with Paul McCartney – everything is pretty much right in the world during that moment! Plus, Shawna and I got on the jumbo screen, so we were pretty stoked!
Hey Jude, 1968. I definitely recall fangirling over this video the first time (and, well, every time since) I saw it. I remember my mom joining in on the “he was just the cutest” comments!
The “end”…AKA still two more encores! Shawna’s arm got in front of Abe. Whoops!
The triumphant return! Yay Canada! Yay Saskatchewan! Yay Great Britain!
Jump ahead to second encore…”Mull of Kintyre” is about to begin! Wix is featured up front on the accordion!
He is seriously THEE BEST percussionist and keyboardist!
I took some pics of the band. Brian, an amazing musician…
Rusty, killing it on the guitar, and also awesome because he signed an autograph for a young girl (my former student) outside of the hotel. Bonus points for Rusty.
More of Brian. Unfortunately, our view of the drummer, Abe, was obscured. He’s SO GOOD and so much fun to watch!
The Regina Pipe Band got to play on stage! Yay! I don’t even know any of them, yet I was so excited and proud of them! I bet never in a million years did they think they’d be playing on stage with a Beatle!
It was so good!
Next was Yesterday, another one of my favourites. Again, cue Shawna and I, all choked up. I didn’t take any pictures because I took a video in Orlando, and I wanted to REALLY experience it live. Shawna videoed it, though. Next, Helter Skelter!
It was JUST after I snapped this photo that I was asked the question that changed my life…”Do you still have that sign?” I instantly recognized the man asking the question as the person who was working the stage as head of the venue security. (Paul calls him Brian in the YouTube video when I’m on stage.) He was the one who had brought the lady up on stage at the soundcheck. I KNEW WHAT THIS MEANT. I said, “…yes…” and he asked if I wanted to come with him. I was flabbergasted. I turned to Shawna, was like, “It’s happening!”, grabbed my Sharpie and sign, and it was ‘go-time’. (I’m honestly getting butterflies just thinking about it!) He told me that we had to run, and did I ever! I will NEVER hear “Helter Skelter” without thinking of running through the aisles, following Brian, knowing that this was going to be ONE INSANE MOMENT if it happened (perfect song for that feeling!). I remember saying, “Is this really going to happen?” and he said yes, and I replied something ridiculous (and true) like, “THIS IS MY GOAL IN LIFE!” We got to the side of the stage, and he went through, then motioned me in past security. It was really dark back there, and Brian had me follow him up the stairs. The guy who was videoing my sign earlier said, “See, I TOLD you to keep holding it! It worked!” (Now side-note – Dana, who had been on stage in Toronto, was talking to Brian earlier in the day. He said that Paul had seen my sign during the soundcheck [which makes me insanely giddy haha] and that I was most likely going to be called on stage during the show. I am FOREVER GRATEFUL that Dana did NOT tell me this prior to the show. I don’t think I could have done it. I honestly would have fainted or had a panic attack. She had learned at the soundcheck at the Toronto show that SHE was going to be going on stage during the show, and I have no idea how she made it through the concert knowing that!)
I stood backstage for about 20 seconds, and it was absolutely incredible watching the band perform from that close. I was so mesmerized that I didn’t have a chance to be nervous. I remember thinking how bright it was, and how hard it would be to play with all of the flashing lights, the crowd, and the floor that lit up. At this point, it had probably been about two minutes from the time that Brian had gotten me out of my seat. The thing that almost everyone has asked me is how I remained “so composed” on stage. Honestly, as I said above, if I had had time to really think about what was going to happen, I would NOT have been composed. Anyone who knows me knows that I get nervous very easily. I mentioned fainting – I’m not exaggerating. I’m a fainter. I faint really easily. I’m also a pretty emotional person. If you’ve seen the YouTube clip of Kristen Bell talking about her sloth encounter with Ellen (which, if you have not seen, you need to watch ASAP), I HIGHLY relate when she says, “If I’m not between a 3 and a 7 on the emotional scale, I’m crying. I’m crying if it’s too sad, or I’m crying if it’s too happy. Always.” That is me to a tee. However, two things worked to my advantage: 1. I had no time to think about what was happening. 2. I had honestly visualized what I would say if this really DID happen. (No joke – I had thought about this MANY times and what I would say, but I never thought it would be on stage. I always thought I would see Paul at the Hotel Sask and ask him to sign my tattoo.) However, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t nervous. I was FREAKING OUT inside! As annoying as this may be, I’m going to post a ton of screen caps of the YouTube video that Dana took, complete with my thoughts. This isn’t because I think everyone is dying to hear about this, it’s because I NEVER WANT TO FORGET IT! (Disclaimer #3 – all grammar/punctuation/formal writing skills are about to disappear from this post in 3…2…1……)
Luckily I showed Shawna how to work my camera before the concert, JUST IN CASE. I also drew a line on my wrist where I wanted Paul to sign. Everyone thinks that this is funny/crazy, but a fan’s gotta be prepared! Shawna took the picture below (and I’m forever grateful to her for her photos, and to Dana for her video!). Brian said to me, “He’s going to call you up, and then…you go!” OMG! AND THEN YOU GO! GO ON STAGE IN FRONT OF 40 000+ PEOPLE AND MEET YOUR IDOL. I can’t even explain! PAUL MCCARTNEY. SIR PAUL. MACCA. PAUL-THE-BEATLE. One half of the best songwriting duo of all time. The most successful musician of all time. Someone whose music, melodies, lyrics, poetry, art, and creativity have inspired me for two and a half decades. And here he is, calling ME on to the stage. I am still in shock, to be honest. From backstage, it felt like everything was in fast-forward. I guess this is what happens when your adrenaline kicks in – your senses are heightened. I can remember certain sights and thoughts so vividly. Paul’s shirt looked blindingly white. I could hear him say, “Earlier, a girl in the crowd had a sign asking me to sign her tattoo. I’m curious as to what that’s about, so let’s bring her out,” or something to that effect. That was my cue. I remember thinking, “Wow, this really was planned. He really must have seen my sign and chosen me,” haha. Next, I remember walking towards Paul and thinking, “This is it!!!!!!! It’s your dream!” and then awkwardly thinking, “…do I…hug him…..? Can I touch him? Is that against protocol?” Before I could become (any more) awkward, Paul pulled me in for a hug, and I knew it was okay haha. Was it EVER okay!
(Disclaimer #4 – This is all so fangirl / Teen Bop / Tigerbeat-ish. I posted a picture of me on stage to my Instagram account. Let me tell you, there is a huge, HUGE Beatles Fandom that exists on Instagram and Tumblr, and they’re about 90% teenage girls. It probably appears pretty crazy to the average person that I’m freaking out about meeting someone who is 71. I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW. But to Beatles fans, it’s the pinnacle of being a fan. One girl posted on my picture, “I am only 13, but you are now my role model for getting on stage.” Lol awww, they get me, even if everyone else will think the following pictures and captions are crazy. And that is a-okay. :P)
He said hello, I said hello back as if it was all just a casual conversation, (all the while, DYING INSIDE), and he asked my name.
He asked where I was from, and I said, “Regina!” He said, “Regina!” Incidentally, I saw that a message board had posted about me getting on stage, and they had as the title, “A girl from China?? (a blonde???) gets on stage at McCartney concert” Hahaha! I told them it’s a far cry from China here.
The crowd cheered, and then I was suddenly PUMPED. I thought for a second that everyone would think that I was SO CRAZY AND WEIRD for doing this (as they should), but when they cheered, I was excited! My hometown crowd! I even went, “Wooooooo!” in the mic hahaha. About 1/2 hour before this moment, Shawna was chastising me for screaming and “woooing” so much. Here I go and do it on the stage haha.
One of the things that I remember the most vividly is thinking how true it is when musicians say how bright it is on stage. When I said, “Regina,” I looked out at the crowd, and it was a gigantic fish-eye view of LIGHT, and a massive, blur of a crowd.
If you look close enough, you can see cartoon hearts coming out of my eyes.
I can’t get over that I just NONCHALANTLY have my arm around him. Is this my life? I mean, really.
Paul: “Okay, so where do you want me to sign this thing?”
Me: I’ve got a tattoo already…
Paul: “She’s got a little tattoo…” (Rik – check it out – he’s totally examining your previous work on my tattoo!)
Me: So if you could sign it, I’m going to tattoo your signature on. (In my head, I imagined I would say that I wanted him to sign my LET IT BE tattoo, under his lyrics. That didn’t play out lol. Oh well.) People cheered, which I’m still surprised by. I figured they’d be like, “……WTF…….??? This girl is nuts. I’m going to get a beer.”
Paul: “I’ll tell you what…doesn’t it hurt getting a tattoo right there?” He had a pretty good grip on my arm haha!
I feel like I COMPLETELY blanked at this moment, though you can’t tell on the video. I was just surprised that he’d ask that, since it’s such a tiny tattoo! I remember thinking, “THINK OF SOMETHING TO SAY!!! TALK!!!”
Me: “Noooo, not as much as I thought.”
Paul: “She’s tough!” (Lol if you know me, you know that I’m the weakest, least-athletic person in Canada, so this is hilarious!)
let’s see if we can do this!”
HAHAHAHA l’m motioning Brian to bring the pen! I don’t know why I find this so funny. I think it’s because I HAD my own pen, and Brian kept it in lieu of a thick Sharpie (thank goodness. It worked much better. As I was running to the stage, I was scribbling with it on my other hand to make sure it would still work!). But in my mind, I was like, “Crap! He’s going to think I didn’t bring a pen! Get that pen over here!”
Paul: “You got a pen, Brian?”
Paul’s left handed, this is on my right wrist, and it’s facing me, so we had to get into position haha.
You can’t hear it on the video, but you can see Paul talking and me laughing. He said, “We’re going to have to spoon to get this right.” I almost said, “Take your time,” and then I didn’t! I wish I would have!!! I was too in disbelief!
This took over 10 seconds to do, which doesn’t seem like that long, but I am so grateful that Paul took his time: 1. FOR OBVIOUS REASONS 2. He could have just scribbled his name, but he wrote it really nicely and artistically. He made sure that it didn’t touch the Let it Be tattoo above it, either.
He also drew a heart under it! I remember thinking, “YESSSSSSS! I couldn’t have even ASKED for that – it’s so perfect!”
My life is peaking right here. It was 10 seconds of me thinking, “Whoa, so that’s what his autograph looks like / I’m spooning with Paul McCartney / there are 40 000 people in front of me / Regina is the best / people are cheering / awww a heart! / I’m spooning with Paul McCartney.”
He finished, looked at me, and said, “Okay!”
And THAT is my look of pure admiration and gratitude.
I remember thinking, “I don’t care, I’m hugging him right now!”
Me: “Thank you SOOOOOOO much!” And then I hugged him super tight. I laughed out loud when I watched the video for the first time because I gave him the biggest hug ever.
And thennnnnn, the best part of all….
...he gave me a kiss on the cheek. FOR REAL. (His lips were very soft lol. That is also FOR REAL.)
Lol at my grip on that sign.
Also, so many people have laughed and joked about how I patted him on the back. Lol I don’t even know.
My friend Sheldon was like, “Geez, you tried to make that hug last as long as possible, didn’t you??” You can’t hear it, but I was talking to him, and that’s why. Honest. I was thinking, “TELL HIM HOW MUCH THIS MEANS TO YOU!!!”
Some people say that it’s not good to meet your hero because sometimes, your image of the person gets tarnished. I always imagined Paul to be someone who would be kind to his fans. He’s been in the spotlight for pretty much 50 years straight, and you NEVER hear of him being rude to his fans or not having time for them. I always imagined he’d be genuinely nice if I DID get to meet him, and I can honestly say that that was true.
I said, at this point, “This is the best moment of my life. I can’t tell you how much this means to me.” (Incidentally, I remember thinking, “Oh no, what if that got on the mic, and my husband hears, and he thinks that our wedding day wasn’t the best moment of my life???” Hahaha! I told him that later, and he was like, “Oh, I know that meeting Paul was the best moment for you!” Haha. That, and my engagement. My two best moments involved Pauls.)
After I told Paul that this was the best moment of my life, he was so genuine and kind, saying, “Oh, that’s so kind, thank you, thank you!”
He patted me on the back, and then said, “Thank you Chelsi!” in the mic, and everyone cheered. Ahhhhh I love you Regina!
I said, “Thank YOU!” lol!
The other thing that I imagined wanting to say to Paul if I did somehow meet him, was to thank him for coming to Regina. I am sooooooo grateful that he chose to play here, of all Canadian cities. Our city is very small, and he could have quite easily chosen somewhere else. I wanted him to know that I, and many others, were thankful that he came HERE.
So, I looked at him and said, “Thank you for coming to Regina!” I didn’t know that this was heard on the mic until after the show, people in the venue, parking lot, and the next day thanked ME for thanking him. (How Canadian of us all haha.) I’m glad that others heard and I could say that on behalf of his Regina fans. He thanked me, for thanking him haha.
So that was that – I don’t even remember walking off of the stage!
But apparently, I was beaming. 😀
And apparently, I glanced back for one last look!
He said, “Okay!” and motioned to me, and then it was back to the show!
I then did a few seconds of an interview with the videographer who initially talked to me about my sign. He asked me how long I’ve been a fan, and I told him how many shows I had been to and where. I gushed about this being the best day ever. Other than that, I don’t remember what I said. I don’t know what that was for – perhaps the website? The band was playing “The End,” and Brian led me back to my seat. All the while, I was in shock and told him that I couldn’t believe that that happened. I then gave him a huge hug, and he laughed. I looked at Shawna, she looked at me, and we were screaming, jumping up and down, and she yelled a whole lot of expletives, in true Shawna form! I think the first thing I said, was, “HE KISSED ME! ON THE CHEEK!” Shawna was laughing and yelling, “I know! I saw!”
And with that, the song was done, and so was the concert. CONFETTI EVERYWHERE! I’m still finding it in my purse! I was just standing with my arms up at this moment, cheering, beaming. WHAT. A. NIGHT.
The show ended, and people swarmed me. Someone from The Leader Post pretty much immediately took my name and number. Everyone in my section was snapping pictures and grabbing my wrist lol! (I definitely would have been doing the same if it was someone in my section who had been on stage!) I stopped and was like, “Shawna – take a picture of this moment!” This, and the picture Paul took after we got engaged, depict my “post-amazing-event-I-am-completely-ecstatic” face. (You can still see the line that I drew for him to sign on, which he did very well! :P)
My friend Greg took this picture of me and posted it on Facebook with the caption, “I know her!” Almost immediately, I received loads of Facebook notifications, and a ton of texts from people at the show. Greg captured the moment where I was motioning Brian over lol. :S My friends who were not at the show said they were in disbelief when they saw this picture haha! A few said that they had heard that a girl got called up on stage and was going to tattoo Paul McCartney’s name on her wrist…and they knew it would be me. Haha I don’t know if that is a good thing or a crazy thing!
I was blown away by how many people wanted to take pictures with me. I reunited with the guys in the Pepper uniforms and wanted to congratulate them for getting shout outs from Macca!
Next, I knew that I needed to phone my brother, Michael. Michael is pretty extensively tattooed. He designs his tattoos, and Rik Biehler, his tattoo artist/friend has done all of his tattoos. I phoned Michael and was pretty much screaming. I don’t know how he even understood me! I told him what happened (I had mentioned to him before that I wanted to do this) and asked if there was any way that he could text or call Rik to get me in tomorrow. Rik’s a great tattoo artist, and he’s booked solid. The wait is about a month or so, and I didn’t want to go to some sketchy tattoo parlour. As I was trying to tell Michael the story, I kept having to put him on hold to take pictures with people haha! It was so crazy!
A couple of minutes later, Michael phoned back. He was like, “Rik can do it tonight. He knows that this is a tattoo emergency, and he’ll be at the shop right away if you can meet him.” Tattoo emergency!!! Haha it definitely was! Rik explained later that HE once got called on stage at a 4 Non Blondes concert. He’s a HUUUUGE Linda Perry fan, and she saw his tattoos dedicated to her, and signed his arm. He couldn’t get it tattooed that night, and it RUBBED OFF by the morning. I honestly cannot even imagine. He didn’t want that to happen to me, so at 12:30am, with his car boxed in due to people at the concert parking improperly, he WALKED to his shop (D’Nile Tattooz – best tattoo parlour in town!) to meet us! All the way out of the stadium, people were calling my name, cheering, taking pictures…it was crazy! I couldn’t believe that people were excited about this!
We finally got to the car, Shawna navigated, and I really should not have been driving because I was just in shock! I kept saying, “WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING?!? IS THIS REAL LIFE???” and Shawna kept hitting me and saying, “OMG! OMG!”
Rik was already at his shop and was all set up when we got there. Rik is THEE COOLEST guy. Not only is he a great tattoo artist, but he’s a great artist as well. He currently has work in the Calgary Art Gallery! People were asking me if I was worried that the signature would get messed up when it was tattooed, but I didn’t even think of that. I trusted Rik completely!
We put on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, and Rik got to work. He took a bunch of pictures, tattooed the outline of the signature, and then printed out the pictures. Normally, a tattoo of this size would take 15-20 minutes. Rik took about an hour so that it would be perfect. Shawna, being the best wingman ever, documented it all.
People always ask me if it hurt. I think I was too jacked up on adrenaline and high on life to even notice. I know that it hurt more than my Let it Be tattoo, but not that much, and quite honestly, I couldn’t have cared how much it hurt. I just wanted to make sure it would be permanent.
After he was done, all three of us examined it really closely to make sure it was perfect, and IT WAS. Shawna and Rik celebrated with shots of Jaegermeister. I had water haha. I did NOT need anything else!
I am FOREVER INDEBTED to my brother and Rik for making this happen!!! My mom said her friend said people were asking, “Oh, did she REALLY get it tattooed that night, or was it actually the next day?” It was DEFINITELY right after the concert. We got there at 12:30am and left at 1:40am. Rik’s shirt is fitting. He received a lot of press the next day, and RIGHTLY SO!
What do you do after getting a tattoo at 1:00am on a weeknight? Go to O’Hanlon’s and celebrate! It only seemed fitting! I mentioned my sister-in-law Julie earlier on, and how she and my friend Brittany saw my sign in the concourse and knew my plan. When Paul gave my sign a shout-out, Julie texted me, sharing in my excitement. When he said he was going to bring out the girl with the tattoo, Julie said she was screaming, “That’s Chelsi! That’s Chelsi!” and everyone around her looked. She said she cried when I actually got on stage haha! Awwww! My mom and dad were also in the audience, and my mom said that she was in total shock that that was me on stage. She said she, too, cried, because she knew how long I had been a fan! My husband said that he stood there with his jaw hanging open for about ten seconds and couldn’t believe that it was me on stage! I would have paid to have seen that!
I walked into O’Hanlon’s (my favourite bar/pub in the city!), and people clapped! People I don’t know were calling me by name (still so bizarre!) and wanting pictures! We finally got a seat, and I regaled Julie, Brittany, and Emily with the story of how it all went down. Julie said, “Now I get it. Now I get why you have gone to so many of his shows. I was smitten, too!” I was SO HAPPY to hear that!
We stayed at O’Hans until it closed. Shawna and I went back to my place, uttered, “I can’t believe that happened!” about twenty more times, and then called it a night. I am absolutely, ETERNALLY GRATEFUL to Shawna for not only documenting all of this, but for going along with my crazy shenanigans as she ALWAYS has, and being so genuinely excited for me when things worked out. Best friends for life!
3am – last picture of the night!
This summer, my husband Paul and I were in London when Andy Murray won Wimbledon. Murray told the press that he didn’t want to go to bed in case he woke up and it was all a dream. That’s EXACTLY how I felt. If I didn’t have the tattoo on my wrist, I would have thought that I had imagined it all. I went on Facebook because there was no way that I would ever sleep, even if I tried. (Clearly I needed to be sedated by this point.) I chose a couple of the pictures Shawna had taken, and posted them. Little did I know that they would be shared literally hundreds of times, used on the news, and in articles all over the net in the morning!
I finally went to bed at 5am, and was up at 7am for an interview with Newstalk 980 CJME. Paul had been sleeping when I got home, so I was SO excited to tell him all about it! He left for work, and I did the interview. I was so in a daze that I think I just rambled the entire time. I had also been contacted by pretty much every news outlet in our city, despite having an unlisted phone number. I was REALLY torn as to what to do. I was (and still am) paranoid about people being like, “Stop talking about this already!” I didn’t do this for publicity. I HATE HATE HATE seeing myself on video. Thus, I chose each of the first forms of media to contact me – one radio, one newspaper, one TV, and an afternoon radio program that I listen to and which also wanted to feature Rik. The day was insanely busy. After the CJME interview, I got ready and painted my nails lol, and frantically cleaned the house because CBC was coming to film! I then did an interview on the phone with The Leader Post, and their photographer came and took pictures. Next, CBC journalist Tory Gillis interviewed me, and we had a great time chatting and she completely put me at ease for the TV interview! These were all very positive experiences, despite how nervous I was! (I’ll post links to the articles at the end.)
Following the interviews, I rushed to the Hotel Sask to meet Dana. She and I wanted to see if Paul and his band were checking out of the hotel so that we could both show him that we actually got the tattoos of his signature. They had already left – boo. I did tweet a picture of my tattoo to Paul, so I’m hoping that he actually saw it (slim chance, I’m sure!). Dana and I went to Atlantis for a drink. It was REALLY awesome to talk to someone who had had a similar experience! We rehashed our adventures and relived it all, and also discussed the Facebook Page that she created a few years ago for the city that is still going strong! It’s great meeting new friends at concerts, especially under circumstances such as this!
Following that much needed breather and a visit with my parents to show them the tattoo, I went to the CBC radio station. I am a diehard CBC radio listener, so this was very cool. I was nervous about the other interviews, but I was excited to meet Craig Lederhouse of the Afternoon Edition and to do this interview with him and Rik. It was really fun, and very natural. I also learned that Rik was having as crazy of a day as I was, and that he had been interviewed by a few places and was featured on tattoo.com!
I finally had a chance to sit down around 10pm, and I had all intentions of checking all of these emails and Facebook notifications…
…but after that crazy day, two hours of sleep, a super busy day before, and only a couple of hours of sleep the day after the Winnipeg show, I COMPLETELY crashed and woke up 11 hours later lol! I think that’s a new record for me.
The following day, The Leader Post article came out…and I was on the front page! Hahaha INSANE!
It was the most bizarre thing to see articles about myself. My friends were sending me articles from everywhere – The Vancouver Sun, Hamilton, Winnipeg, some celebrity gossip website (?!?!?), REDDIT even! The radio stations had posts about it on their Facebook pages, as did some of the McCartney pages that I follow. I was shocked! However, what I was most surprising was how absolutely and genuinely excited people were by this event and story. I have had countless strangers over the past week who have recognized me on the street and congratulated me. My family, friends, coworkers, friends of friends – they’ve all written and said the kindest, most awesome things to me about how excited they were for me. I cannot get over the enthusiasm people have shared with me, but I’m actually not that surprised because this is one of the things that I love most about Regina. People are quick to help each other in times of need, but they are also such great cheerleaders when things are positive! We share in each other’s joy and excitement, and that is definitely what I have experienced this past week. I am forever grateful to everyone for being so awesome throughout this whole experience. What initially was a “kind of weird,” pretty ludicrous idea, turned out to be something that people actually think is cool! I guess that is what is most surprising to me!
So here it is, the tattoo today. I love that I will have this with me until the day I die. Rather than an autograph in my scrapbook, or framed on a wall, the memory of this night will literally be a part of me forever. Just as I had “Let it Be” tattooed so that I could see it and use it as a reminder whenever I was upset or anxious, I now will look at the signature and if I’m having a bad day, it will definitely cheer me up. Someone said that one day, I will show my future children, tell them the story, and explain to them who Paul McCartney is. I don’t think that that explanation will be necessary. I think that, just as we know who Beethoven and Mozart are, people will always know who McCartney and The Beatles are. This has been the most unbelievable, amazing, unreal experience of my life, and I am eternally grateful for the experience.
Wow. Was that ever the longest post in history. I feel that I need to buy prizes and hand them out to people who actually read ALL THE WAY THROUGH. Let me know if you did (here, on Facebook, or by email), not so that I get comments, but so that I can congratulate and thank you lol! Below is the YouTube video and some of the interviews and articles in case you didn’t get a chance to see them. In the meantime, I’m off to start saving up for the European leg of the tour…. 😉
(You can follow me on Instagram at gobeil_soleil or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org )
(Another angle – you can see the kiss on the cheek better lol. 😉 Thank you, Pat!)
CJME.com Article (This, and the Leader Post article, were used by papers in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Hamilton, a celebrity website, and the MSN Canada homepage!)
Another Leader Post article referring to the experience.