The Long and Winding Road

15 07 2014


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On Saturday night, under a fabulous full moon, Paul McCartney played at the Fargodome in Fargo, North Dakota, making my dream come true. The Beatles have always been my favorite band and being able to see one of the Fab Four was an incredible experience that I will never forget. I have nearly every Beatle album ever pressed and also have some of Paul’s other albums, from his Wings era. The Beatles were the Shakespeares of the 1960s music renaissance, the leaders of the pack, and McCartney is still in full form. When he came onto the stage, following a super scrolling video focusing upon his childhood to modern day, I was absolutely enthralled. Wow, what an honour to actually see one of the Fab Four live! He kicked off the concert with Eight Days a Week and then moved on for an enriching two-and-a-half hours of non-stop music. Seeing and hearing Paul and his band play songs that have been so much a part of my life really took me through time. Every song has a specific memory attached. When he sang oldies like All My Loving, And I Love Her and Eleanor Rigby they all took me back to the ‘60s, watching the Beatles cartoons on an Admiral 23-inch black and white television, and listening to the band’s records on 45s and 33.3 LPs in our little rented house at 302 6th Avenue NE. I had very blonde hair back then and we lived near Rotary Park, to the west of Little Italy in Calgary. Whenever I go back to the park, Rubber Soul songs play in my mind non-stop. Before he enthusiastically cranked out Paperback Writer Paul pointed out that the guitar he was using was the original one for the song, from the 1960s. His repertoire for the evening spanned his whole career, with him showing his talents on bass, lead and on the piano for heart-stopping renditions of Let It Be and The Long and Winding Road. In the second encore, Paul chose to play Yesterday and when he launched into the song he wrote 50 years ago the audience went “Oooohhhhhh. . . .” Paul also played his tribute song to John Lennon, Here Today, telling the audience that the song was about how we don’t often get to tell people how much we love and care about them. He played Maybe I’m Amazed for his deceased wife, Linda. To pay his respects to George, Paul came up with a ukulele and noted how George was an enthusiast for the instrument. He told us about how, after George had written Something, he went to visit Harrison and played the tune on a ukulele for him. Paul started the song on the little instrument, and then the band launched into the rest of the tune. I had to wipe away a few tears at that point.

Paul has had hard tragedies in his life, but he has not allowed them to put him down. He just turned 72 last month and he is full of health and vigour. Being able to play music and sing non-stop for over two-and-a-half hours is a firm indication of his physical fitness and overall health. I was inspired by him, and admired how he has dealt with the loss of loved ones – Linda, John and George being just three of them. He really shows himself to be a real, caring human being. Paul even paid tribute to Jimi Hendrix, by playing a snippet of Foxy Lady and going for the feedback from the amps. He did so in recognition of Hendrix opening with Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at a concert, with the Beatles in the audience, just days after the iconic album’s release. Paul’s charisma has not faded and I am eternally grateful that I got to see him. It was a long and winding trip – Calgary to Denver, over three-hour layover, then to Fargo and racing to get to the venue on time along with waiting over six hours for my flights back — but definitely worth it. I have heard many people say that we should follow our dreams in life and I have enjoyed some of the fantastic actualities of this approach. We only go around once, it is best to make it meaningful. God bless you, and thank you, Sir Paul McCartney.