Right off the bat I will have to say that I have been a huge Beatles fan ever since The Fab Four first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964 to the screams of my older sisters and the bewilderment of my parents. Why would you scream at a TV screen? And for a rock band no less? Dad could understand screaming at the TV if the Canadiens scored or the Yankees won, again, but for four guys from Liverpool? Singing? C’mon. But he watched. Screams and all. Mom had lived through the Sinatramania period so she had a better understanding of what my sisters were going through.
Like millions of other children growing up in the 60’s I was swept up in Beatlemania, too. For me it continues to this day. I have vivid recollections of the moments in my life that I associate with their greatest hits. From their first album “Please, Please Me”, in 1963, to their last album, “Let It Be” in 1970 I was hooked. Their songs were the soundtrack to so many people’s lives in the wild decade that was the 1960’s; including mine. We grew up with them. Sure, there we other bands and Elvis, of course, but to me it was always The Beatles.
So you can imagine my excitement when our dear children presented Deb and me with the tickets to see one of the original Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney, live and in concert at Mosaic Stadium on August 14th. In Regina, Saskatchewan, if you can imagine? Like a zillion other people I had wanted to see these guys, even one of these guys, perform live but I had never made it happen.
Deb and I pulled into the Victoria Square Mall parking lot around 5:30 pm on the 14th to catch one of the shuttle buses to the stadium. We thought we’d have a bit of time to grab a bite to eat and browse around the mall before catching the bus to the eight-o’clock show but to our amazement the line-up of people for the buses was from the old Zeller’s entrance door, on the east end of the mall, all the way back around to the other side of the Safeway store and this close to the Tim Horton’s on the west side of the mall parking lot. Yikes!
We made the best of it though. There’s a certain camaraderie in like-minded people. We found some common ground with a few of the folks waiting in line with us, sharing our Beatles memories and, of course, as most Saskatchewan people do, we all know somebody who knows somebody, you know? and before long the wait was over and we were on our way.
We got off the bus on Albert St. to another long line-up to get to the stadium gates but this time some friends of ours let us butt in line cutting the wait time in half. I told you that Saskatchewan people always know someone who knows someone.
However, nothing was going to discourage us from enjoying this show. Not the line-ups and the line-ups and the line-ups or the people whining about the line-ups and the line-ups and the line-ups…. Or the fact that it started almost an hour late because there was a snafu in getting 44,000 people into Mosaic Stadium, or the inflated food and beverage prices, or the middle-aged-rhinestone-clad-bleached-blonde-reeking of cheap perfume and beer sitting right behind me all noisy and talking all night long and everything…It didn’t matter. We were there to enjoy an evening with Sir Paul. And we did.
I am not going to tell you that we’ve seen hundreds of live shows but we’ve seen enough. Big name acts and also-rans, great shows and not-so-great shows. I admitted to you right away that I was a huge Beatles fan so my expectations were almost low but Sir Paul blew everyone away! Of course, there’ll be that tiny minority who wouldn’t be impressed by anything but they are so few in number I shouldn’t have even mentioned it. But, “ to each their own”, eh?
Now, do me a favour. Close your eyes and think of a seventy-one-year-old-man. What do you see? I thought so. On August 14th, 2013 we watched a seventy-one-year-old Beatle rock the house down better than a man half his age or younger. Sir Paul McCartney performed for three hours straight and he and his band, with a cameo accompaniment from the City of Regina Pipe Band, played 39 songs all together and it was the most amazing live show I’ve ever seen.
“Being in the audience actually looks like quite a lot of fun.”-Paul McCartney (1942-).