I was a weird kid. I wrote song lyrics all over my sneakers way before people wrote on their sneakers. I quoted quirky David Letterman lines at my teachers, who responded with odd looks. And I was into music people 20 or 30 years older liked. One of my obsessions was The Beatles.
My ma was a hippie. She went around in her poncho, carrying her guitar everywhere. She worshipped The Beatles. I grew up worshipping them, too. I thought everyone did. Two of my good friends in high school were also into music no one else was. One of them worshipped Billy Joel, the other worshipped Fleetwood Mac, and I worshipped Paul Simon. And we all naturally loved The Beatles. So it was a Monumental Night when we went to Paul McCartney’s concert at Giants Stadium in July 1990. Elton John may or may not have been there. It’s all kind of a blur. We had nosebleed seats and didn’t even care (which says a lot, given that I was a maniac about getting as close as possible to the front row even back then). We were 17, obsessed, and freaking out.
Fast-forward 21 years.
My good friend and fellow YA author, Elizabeth Eulberg, asked if I wanted to go see Paul McCartney at Yankee Stadium. Um, yeah I did! How cool is it to be friends with another Beatles fan? Especially one who wrote a whole flippin book about The Beatles! The first time I saw the cover of The Lonely Hearts Club, I was like, “I have to meet her.” And then there we were on July 15, going to see Paul McCartney. The seats were much better this time. The Universe totally intervened. Excellent seats, full moon, and it was Elizabeth’s birthday. How perfect was that? I promised Elizabeth that if Sir Paul didn’t sing “Birthday” for her, I would.
Elizabeth has already done an amazing job of describing the concert here – including a cute pic with her shiny Sgt. Pepper’s shirt and the birthday tiara I gave her. So I’ll just share a few intense parts.
The most intense one has to be “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Paul wrote that song for Linda as a tribute to her being such an amazing support when The Beatles were breaking up. It’s one of those songs that always makes me verklempt, no matter how many times I hear it.
When Paul played the first notes of “Maybe I’m Amazed,” I was ecstatic. And then I started singing “maybe I’m” and that was it. My throat got all tight, the tears poured in, and I was reaching for the pack of tissues I had ready by my water. I was like calm down you cannot be a sobbing wreck through this whole song you’ve been waiting to hear live again for 21 years this is it stop crying chill calm DOWN.
You can’t take me anywhere.
Intense in an entirely different way: “A Day in the Life.” When the part that goes “ah-ah-ahhhhh” started, it was like I was 13 again, back in my room with my red tape player blaring the same part, back when a day in my life felt like a year, wishing that one day I’d be living a better life. And the full moon glowed over the stage and we waved our arms in that way you do when you’re worshipping at the altar of your musical religion and it was one of the most transcendental moments of my life.
At one point, Paul took a moment to “take it all in.” Of course he understands about enjoying the Now. What else. Oh, “The Night Before” hasn’t stopped playing in my head. And Paul ended the concert with the most perfect lyrics ever:
And in the end the love you take
is equal to the love you make.
We kept spazzing that Paul was going to sing “Birthday” because Elizabeth said he played it at another concert she went to a while ago. But he didn’t. Not that this made up for it in any way, but after the concert we stayed in our seats and I sang “Birthday” to Elizabeth. I had choreography. Did you know the Hand Jive goes perfectly? Well, it does.
So. Thank you Paul McCartney for being such a rock star after all these years. Thank you Elizabeth Eulberg for sharing that beyond amazing experience with me. I’m already looking forward to remembering it 21 years from now. And When I’m Sixty-Four.