maybe i’m beyond amazed

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.

10 thoughts on “maybe i’m beyond amazed

  1. I was the only 7th grader listening to the Beatles and the “current” music I was listening to then became popular in high school and everyone thought they were so cool for liking those artists and I was sitting in the back of the class thinking “back off I was here first”.
    I get you about writing the lyrics on your sneakers (other kids were writing the answers to the tests on theirs). And I just let out a rah-rah because I understood the “When I’m 64” line. 🙂

  2. Late to the party here, but I just read this post.

    I too was obsessed with the Beatles in high school (and Elton John, and Fleetwood Mac!). When I changed my personal email address in college, I immediately thought of “Maybe I’m Amazed” because I’ve always loved that song so much.

    So imagine my surprise and delight when last Sunday night, my best friend arrived at my apartment and said, “Let’s walk over to Wrigley Field and listen to Paul sing from outside!”

    Outside the stadium was its own party. Among others, we heard Get Back, Lady Madonna, Hey Jude, Yesterday, and the first Beatles song I learned by heart, Let It Be.

    Epic.

  3. So glad you got to go!! And with Elizabeth Eulberg, no less. Haven’t read the book yet, but know it. We went to the one at Wrigley Field (first time at the Field too). His voice – it’s like it never changed at all! I also used a memory palace technique to spontaneously memorize the entire 36-song setlist in order (because I was reading Moonwalking with Einstein, on memory, at the time), and I couldn’t believe it actually worked!

    I didn’t know your mom was a hippie. My best friend’s mom too. Not my parents. They were about as different from me as possible, in that way and a ton of others. I always feel like I *should* have had parents who were hippies, or intellectuals, or just… something relatable. Did you get your awesome hair from her?

    • You mean my hair in its natural state (i.e. curly, frizzy, huge)? Yes. Which is why I enjoy my Japanese straightening every six months 🙂

      I loved that you tried the mnemonic device! Moonwalking with Einstein is yet another book on my long To Read list. You are so right about Paul’s voice. Unreal. We were marveling that it could have been 50 years ago. 50! That’s how much of a rock star he still is.

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