One year ago today I was buzzing with excitement behind my desk at work, counting the minutes until I got to see Paul McCartney on stage at Candlestick Park. Here I was thinking I would never get the honor of seeing him live, having missed him by a day at Outsidelands 2013, but Jon and Leslie, two of my favorite people on earth, graciously invited me to join them to the show of a lifetime. It was at the venue of the last official Beatles concert (except of course for that famous impromptu rooftop concert in London). This was a historic show for me to witness, and it definitely didn't go unappreciated. It was one of the most memorable nights of my life!
The show was as much about the music as it was Paul sharing some of his life experiences, like Jimi Hendrix covering Sgt Peppers at a concert only days after the album released, and sharing his feelings about "Here Today", which he wrote after John was assassinated. So many moments gave me the chills, like the roar of 40,000 people singing the nah-nah-nahs of "Hey Jude" when the music cut out, but the power of what I was seeing really hit me when Paul played "Blackbird". This was a song I studied in my Beatles class in college (yes, there is such a thing). It was always one of my favorites of his, just because it is so beautiful in its simplicity - just Paul playing his guitar, singing the words of a poem he scratched on paper, the only percussion the sound of his tapping foot. He shared when he wrote the song, in the 1960s at the height of the civil rights movement, in an effort to "give hope" to those fighting against oppression. Although the lyrics and sentiment may have a disadvantaging tone from today's perspective, it was an honest representation of the perspective during the time when he wrote it. Time has passed, but so much is still parallel to today's events. I remember listening to the news on the drive up to the concert and listening to what was going on in Ferguson at the time... this show took place only 5 short days after Michael Brown was shot. I'm not one to be very political, get worked up over current events or share my opinions freely, but in that moment I felt the connection between the past and the present, and the song was even more powerful in that context than I had ever appreciated before.
It really hit me what I was bearing witness to... sharing a moment in this man's incredible life and career that had spanned decades, through some of the biggest social changes of the century of which he and The Beatles music was in the heart of. I looked down a few rows in front of us and saw a family dancing all together to Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, and realized it was 3 generations together, enjoying the same show in equal enthusiasm. How common is it that music connects people of such varying ages? I was amazed at the whole experience, moved to tears on several occasions, and tense with overwhelming excitement when the pyrotechnics went off during "Live and Let Die". I mean really, this night feels just as fresh to me today as it did that night. You know it had to be a good show when I didn't even mind being stuck in horrible traffic getting out of the park - it took me twice as long to get home as that drive from the city normally does.
I rolled into work the next day bleary-eyed and rocking some serious bed head I somehow managed to tangle in my meager 2 hours of sleep. But, I still had a big smile on my face because, OMG Paul McCartney!!!!!!! I am not worthy.