I saw him once at the very first rock ‘n roll concert I ever attended, in August 1965, at the Portland (Ore.) Memorial Coliseum.
I would see him later, in 1993, at the Houston Astrodome.
In a few days, I’ll be perched in the nose-bleed seats at Globe-Life Park in Arlington, Texas … to hear the music of Sir Paul McCartney.
Fifty-four years ago, Sir Paul was just Paul, part of that band known as The Beatles. Along with John, George and Ringo, the band played all of about 35 minutes, cranked out 10 songs, endured the incessant din of 11,000 screaming fans — not to mention a near riot when a couple hundred girls sought to rush the stage at the playful urging of John Lennon.
Then came the Astrodome show. My wife and I made the drive to Houston from Beaumont, sat in a crowd of about 55,000 fans who came to hear Paul play Beatles songs. Then I had a major life thrill by singing “Hey Jude,” the best song ever recorded, right along with Paul and his band.
The third show I will get to see likely will be packed to the brim with fans. They’ll be a lot of gray hair in the crowd, I can assure you. I am recalling now the time I stood in line in Beaumont to buy tickets for the Astrodome show 26 years ago; the fellow behind me said, “I bet you don’t see this much gray hair at a U-2 concert.”
Here’s the other very strange aspect of Paul’s present-day concerts. Listen to him play 50-year-old songs and then watch teenagers — children! — singing along with him, knowing every word of every golden oldie he cranks out.
So, here we are. My hair is a lot grayer now than it was in 1993. Indeed, so is Sir Paul’s hair. But the boy can still play. He’s how old? Nearly seventy-bleeping-seven?
And yet his music still holds up, It still stands the test of time. It remains immortal. He still packs ’em in. He still puts on a show worth every nickel one wants to pay.
I am not ashamed to admit this, too: I am likely to cry a time or two.
Let’s rock, Sir Paul!