Tag Archives: Memorial Coliseum

Happy birthday, Sir Paul; may you keep on making music

I don’t normally use this blog to comment on people’s birthdays, other than perhaps members of my immediate family.

I’ll do so briefly here by noting that Sir Paul McCartney is turning 77 years young today.

I am mentioning Sir Paul mainly because I was among the 40,000 or so fans who cheered him on Friday night as he sang to us at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.

And, yes, we sang him “Happy Birthday” for good measure. He returned the favor later in the evening when he launched his six-song encore with The Beatles’ classic ditty “Birthday.”

Sir Paul might be the youngest 77-year-young individual I’ve ever seen. The man can play music. He plays it well. He plays his bass, guitar, mandolin, ukulele and piano with amazing verve and vigor.

I am just blown away by being able to say I’ve seen him perform now three times in my life. No. 1 was at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum in the summer of 1965, when he played for about 30 minutes with The Beatles. No. 2 occurred in 1993 at the Houston Astrodome, when the show went a whole lot longer than it did the first time. No. 3 was just this past week in Arlington.

Paul McCartney — along with John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — helped raise me when I was a kid. Those of you are about my age know what I mean.

So, I feel a bit closer to Sir Paul on his 77th birthday than I have before. Happy birthday, Paul.

I hope you are “going to a party, party.” 

‘I may be old, but … ‘

A Facebook “memory” I posted this morning brings to mind a personal anecdote I want to share briefly on this blog.

The memory was this, from Feb. 10, 2013: Best bumper sticker of the day: “I may be old, but at least I saw all the cool bands.” You go, dude!

I am now 68 years of age. I graduated from high school in the Summer of Love, which would be 1967. My life took a dramatic turn the following year when I shipped out after being inducted into the U.S. Army.

It took yet another marvelous turn in 1971 when I married a girl who had appeared before my eyes, like a vision. The rest, as they say, is history.

But in 1965, I got to watch the all-time greatest rock ‘n roll band. It was the very first rock concert I ever attended. I tell folks that today and they are shocked and amazed, I tell ya. The Beatles came to my hometown of Portland, Ore., in August 1965. It was their second U.S. tour.

They played at the old Memorial Coliseum, built in 1960 at a cost of $8 million. When it opened, the “Glass Palace,” as it was called then, was considered a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue. These days, you can’t repair the plumbing in such a venue for what it cost to build the Memorial Coliseum.

John, Paul, George and Ringo came to Portland back then. They played in front of a hysterical crowd of about 10,000 fans at the Coliseum. My sister and I sat at the center of the front row.

My most vivid memory of that event isn’t so much the music The Beatles played. It is the brevity of the event. They played 10 songs. The “concert,” if you want to call it that, lasted about 30 minutes.

They came onstage, they hooked up their instruments, played some songs and then were gone. Poof! Just like that.

I’ve been able over the years to see many more such events. The Association, Toto, the Doobie Brothers, the Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, the Beach Boys, the Monkees, the Grassroots. I’ve seen some others. Those just stand out.

Oh yes, I also saw Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney perform solo shows long after The Beatles broke apart.

Yes, we Baby Boomers got to see some “cool bands.”

Rock on, y’all!

MPEV as parade staging area?


I used to say to my mother, “Mom, I was thinking …”

To which Mom would quip, “Oh, beginners luck?” Mom had a million of ’em.

Well, I was thinking the other day as Amarillo’s Electric Light Parade was tooling down some downtown streets: Wouldn’t the multipurpose event venue be a suitable location for the parade either to begin to end?

The MPEV development is moving forward. Critics of the venue keep insisting that there’s insufficient uses for the proposed building, that it wouldn’t be kept busy enough.

Well, the Electric Light Parade is just one event in which the MPEV could play a part. Yes, it’s just one night a year. But it symbolizes a number of one-nighters that could occur at the venue, given the right amount of creative marketing.

Back in the old days, when I was growing up in Portland, Ore., my parents would take my sisters and me to the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade. It’s a big event that clogs downtown Portland every June when the roses are in full bloom and the City of Roses celebrates the flowers for which Portland is famous.

We usually would find a spot to sit along the parade route.

But one year I remember Mom and Dad taking us to Memorial Coliseum, which once was a state-of-the-art athletic arena. It was built in 1960; its cost then was $8 million. It became home eventually to the Portland Trail Blazers professional basketball team.

It also used to be the starting point for the Grand Floral Parade.

Mom and Dad took us there one year to watch the parade take off. The marchers and the floats would exit the building, move across the Burnside Bridge that spanned the Willamette River and through downtown.

It served a marvelous purpose back then.

Why not use our very own venue for such a thing here?