A collection of grievances, memories, occasional musings, and everyday happenings


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The Night I Saw Paul McCartney

Waiting for Sir Paul!

Waiting for Sir Paul!

There is not a word in the English dictionary that properly encapsulates how I felt at the Paul McCartney concert. While it’s very possible that there’s a word in the German dictionary specifically for moments of this sort and is defined as “when there is no available word that properly encapsulates how one feels”, unfortunately I don’t know it, if it exists. What I’m trying to say is, Paul McCartney has got it GOING. ON. even at the age of 71 and his concert landed itself within the top 3 of my “best moments in life” chart. (The engagement and marriage to my husband are automatically at numbers 1 and 2.) I still can’t wrap my mind around how I was in the presence of a Beatle, and when I do attempt to wrap my mind around it I start crying, so really it’s best that I continue to stay in shock until I recover which should be within the next week or so.

IMG_2590Vienna was nuts about him. The “Österreich”, a well-known Austrian tabloid, printed a Paul McCartney specific paper complete with the night’s set list, an exclusive interview, and tour pictures. Lines outside Vienna’s “Stadion” began around 2:00pm, myself there (and second in line at my station!) at 3:00pm. I partook in and proved my own theory of when one hears the sound of Paul’s voice, one automatically reaches for one’s ears and/or hair. I decided this to be some sort of defense mechanism against premature fainting or emotional overload, and found it to be helpful during the entirety of his soundcheck during which my fellow-McCartney lovers and I overheard “Honey Don’t”, “Lady Madonna”, and “Penny Lane” among several others. My husband and I were fortunate enough to land spots in the front row of our particular section – that being a “Stehplatz” or standing room not right at the front of the stage but in the middle of the ground floor in the stadium. The fans around us were a mix of hardcore Beatles and Wings fans, one of them who looked EXACTLY like the nervous, nerdy guy from Office Space (except he sounded like a robot which made for a very eery sounding Eleanor Rigby singalong). And unlike a lot of concerts I’ve been to where fans push and shove and hate each other for being too close or too tall or too loud, we all got along and simply enjoyed the concert together, each of us basking in the presence of Sir Paul’s musical genius.

Happy tears during "Hey Jude"

Happy tears during “Hey Jude”

Total, I think I cried on 10 separate occasions during the concert, which is why this post is brought to you by Mary Kay’s Waterproof Mascara: For all of your pre, current, and post Paul McCartney concert needs. I of course cried the moment he appeared on stage. I just couldn’t believe he was really right there in front of me, you know, existing. He said, “SERVUS WIEN!” into the mic then went right into playing “Eight Days A Week”. Each song he played conjured memories beginning from my childhood to now which only made my teary tendencies harder to control. As you know, I had anticipated crying throughout the concert and was at first comfortable with this outcome. But pretty early on in his performance I realized I had encountered the unexpected dilemma of struggling to both be able to sing and cry at the same time. I don’t know if you know this but… it’s a difficult feat to achieve. So for example, while Paul was playing “All My Loving”, my heart was yelling, “SING WITH HIM! IT’S YOUR ONLY CHANCE!” and my memory bank was sobbing, “Oh my WOOOOORD! Isn’t this the first song Paul sings on the Ed Sullivan Show?! Remember watching it over and over again on The Beatles Anthology when you were a little girl? Oh the EMOTION!”  This was a constant inward battle in which both my heart and memory bank were able to check “Win” throughout the night, but also, to be fair, it didn’t help that during nearly every one of his songs, clips of movies and pictures played on the screen behind him. I mean that’s obviously going to take an emotional toll, especially when he’s dedicating “Something” to George Harrison and there’s picture after picture of him and George back from when they were little guys till the end of George’s life. Talk about WATERWORKS.

PAUL

PAUL

As far as favorite parts of the night go, I’m unable to tell you which parts of the night were my favorite because every part of the night was my favorite. But I suppose the part of the night I was looking forward to the most were the last 3 songs of his first set: “Let It Be”, “Live and Let Die”, and “Hey Jude”. I knew “Let It Be” was going to be everything I had dreamed it would be and more, and it was. I sang along for about three-fourths of it before I fell apart. My emotional strength was regained during “Live and Let Die” because the stage effects were AWESOME and Abe looked like someone needed to hand him a grown tree and quick for him to break in half with his bare hands at the explosive ending of the song. (Abe is a BEAST.) But then “Hey Jude”… Good ole’ Jude brought down the house and I could barely keep up with the crowd’s unified Na-Na-Na’s. I could not stop thinking about the first time I saw the recording of “Hey Jude” on The Beatles Anthology and how…how mesmerized I was by this group of guys who left such an undeniably, incomprehensibly enormous mark on the history of music, and how whenever I watched this song in particular I wanted so badly to see it performed live I couldn’t stand it. And yet there he stood. There was Paul. He played the song just like he did on the video, and the crowd sang along with him at the end just like they did in the video, he screamed Jude’s name in crazy ways just like in the video, and it was perfect – just like in the video.

The end of "The End"

The end of “The End”

Paul told us that as all concerts do, there unfortunately has to be an end. So after two encores, Paul ended the night by appropriately taking us all home with “Golden Slumbers”, “Carry That Weight”, and “The End” – the last three 3 songs off of The Beatles “Abbey Road” album, the last album the group recorded together prior to their split. The last song “The End” has a particularly special meaning to Will and me as the last words of the song “And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make” were the words we chose to be written on our wedding cake. It was the most immaculate ending to the best night of my life…Yes except for the time I got engaged and married to my husband.

The only issue that I am KICKING myself over is not getting a T-shirt from his merch booth. I was so focused on getting in line first and so determined to not carry a purse that I forgot money and therefore missed out on getting a Paul McCartney “Out There” tour shirt. My husband says it’s fine because we have other ways of remembering the concert, like through our videos and pictures and this wondrous thing called “memories”. I suppose he’s right, but if those tour shirts ever pop up on his website you can bet I’ll be the first to snag myself one. Until then, I’ll be busy frame shopping for my ticket and newspaper to hang by the side of my bed…forever.

Our soon-to-be-framed Paul McCartney newspaper

Our soon-to-be-framed Paul McCartney newspaper

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Happy Paul McCartney in Vienna Day!

Image

How I feel.

Ladies and gents, Sir Paul McCartney is IN Vienna. At this moment. His tour stuff is, anyway. I’m trying to play it cool and pretend like I don’t have stalker potential, but let’s face it – I do – and I’m actually having to distract myself with things to do around the apartment, like brush the cat 5 times or straighten the same vase every 10 minutes. The stadium is RIGHT DOWN THE STREET (or 2 U-Bahn stops away) from us and I’m just so excited I can barely handle it. The only thing keeping me from not running down there and jumping in the line that has not started yet are my husband’s emphatic “NO” text messages, and that’s why I’m thankful for him because in times of excitement he still remembers the importance of eating food and drinking water and not creeping on a celebrity crush.

And then there’s the whole issue of what to wear that I’m worrying about. On the one hand, I’d like to wear my light pink, deep V-neck Abbey Road shirt because it’s my favorite Beatles shirt. On the other hand, I’ve never, ever worn a shirt advertising the name of the band while seeing them/he/she in concert because, no. However, it’s not like I’m going to meet Sir Paul unless of course my dreams come true and mid-concert he taps on the mic and says something like, “PEOPLE OF VIENNA! I’just wanted t-thank you all for coming. You’re a lovely audience and we’ve got about four hours left to play. But it’s about to get real in here. Is there a Holly Kooi in the audience? Ah, ‘ello love. Come on up here and sing “I Want To Your Hand” with me. LET’S HEAR IT FOR HOLLY KOOI, VI-EN-NAAAA!” And then I get up there and Paul’s like, “You’re wearing an Abbey Road Shirt?” and I’m sorta like, “Y-y-yes….?” And then he goes, “Awesome. Uh’one-two-three-FAW!” And then we sing together for the rest of the night and are friends for the rest of his our lives.

…Alright so I’ve daydreamed about this a few times, okay?

So yeah. I don’t know what to wear. Normally this wouldn’t be a huge deal to me as most girls in the States dress one of two ways for concerts:

1. How are you fitting into that right now?

2. She looks really comfortable.

But in Austria there’s a middle ground. The first time I went to concert here, which was last year, I showed up to a grungy, old graffitied brick back room wearing my typical U.S.-style option 2 concert wear. Within 10 minutes of my arrival, I felt extremely underdressed. Most girls were in dresses – fashionable and modest dresses – and also appeared to be comfortable without looking like they had just come from work or a couch. This was puzzling to me as I don’t think I’ve ever been able to achieve both comfort and fashion within the same outfit in my life, but I’d like to discover this middle ground for myself and hopefully achieve it tonight without rocking my bright white mom shoes for back support.

Realistically I probably will rock my bright white mom shoes for back support.

ANYWAY. The doors don’t open for another 6 hours but I’m getting ready right now. My plan is to leave the apartment in a couple of hours with my husband who will be on his way to work. I’ll get off at the stadium and scan the area. If there are already people lined up, I will immediately jump in line. If not, then… I will either go home and wait, or, sit under a tree until people start to line up, or, start the line myself 4 hours early. Anything is possible when Paul McCartney is involved.

HAVE AN AMAZING THURSDAY. Pictures will be posted when I’ve snapped out of my Post-McCartney Shock sometime tomorrow afternoon, or umm… next week. Cheers.


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I Saw Him Standing There

Vienna, Austria - Thursday June 27, 2013

Vienna, Austria – Thursday June 27, 2013

I am only days away from being in the presence of Sir James Paul McCartney. Days. Honestly I can’t even believe I just wrote that sentence because of how crazy it is that this day is actually going to happen. Paul will be on stage, I will be a minuscule one of thousands, but we will be in the same place at the same time, together, and that’s all I need. As well as love, because The Beatles said so.

The magnitude of this concert’s importance goes back to when I was little (in age). My parents believed in raising my brother and me on good, classic music, and thanks to them we can probably tell you each classic rock or oldies band name that pops up on the radio. Some of my favorite memories are of my brother and me in the back seat of our giant green/blue GMC van road-tripping with my parents to Tennessee or elsewhere for a vacation accompanied by a Beatles cassette tape that we listened to over and over and over again. After a while I think my brother got a little tired of listening to The Beatles everywhere we went (he’s appropriately into Rush now), but I never did. I could listen to songs like “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “Money”, or “You Can’t Do That “(Actually I referred to this song as “the pot song” because I always pictured Ringo banging on a pot which years later I discovered was called a cowbell) a hundred times before I ever considered listening to something else. Another memory I have is of me setting the table while my mom prepared dinner and quizzed me over which Beatle was currently the lead singer in each song that played. By age 7 I had memorized most of their songs, deeply despised Yoko Ono, and was madly in love with the young version of Paul McCartney. (I had seen the much older version of Paul McCartney in “The Beatles Anthology” and found him to only be cute in a cute-grandpa sort of way.)

Hoping to convince Will of posing this way with our future child.

Hoping to convince Will of posing this way with our future child.

My love for Paul has never competed with any of the other Beatles. I love all of them, obviously, but to me Paul has always stood out among the others in both looks and talent. Whenever I was having a “I’m really in love with Paul” day (yes those happen(ed)), I would wonder what kind of Beatles fan I’d be had I been a 16 year old in the midst of The Beatles’ worldwide fame. Would I have been the kind of fan who ran after The Beatles in their car? Would I have screamed my vocal chords to shreds and yanked on my hair and face throughout the entire concert? Would I have been carried off by the police because I tried to crawl through their car window? Fainted and missed the entire concert? I gave this a lot of thought and eventually concluded that none of these types of fandom made sense to me. Whenever I watched “The Beatles Anthology” I was always infuriated by these count-your-blessings-lucky teenage girls who threw away their chance at being in the presence of The Beatles. I mean if my friend returned from her Beatles sighting only to report that she had spent a total of 30 seconds near them due to be thrown over the shoulder of a policeman for trying to touch Ringo’s nose, I’d be pretty bummed out. Fainting is silly, and The Beatles actually had to stop touring because they couldn’t hear themselves play (thanks a lot, ladies!). So with fainting and screaming and being arrested out of the running, what kind of fan is left? Who would I have been in 1964?

At a Starbucks in Liverpool.

At a Starbucks in Liverpool.

The Beatles “A Hard Day’s Night” gave me my answer. At the end of the movie, The Beatles perform “She Loves You” for an ecstatic crowd of tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings. The camera jumps back and forth from one screaming, ear-clinging girl to the next, then eventually focuses on one girl who is absolutely beside herself with emotion. She’s not screaming, she’s not bawling her eyes out, she’s not passed out on the floor. She’s just teary. She’s staring at The Beatles, and letting tears run down her cheeks. This, to me, encompasses what it is to be a true fan of a band and its music; to be so overwhelmed by the person or people in front of you as well as by the sound being produced that all you can do is tear up in response. The camera focuses on this particular girl three times, and on the third time she calls out for George right as the song comes to an end. I’m 100% certain that I will be this girl, silently crying through the majority of Paul’s concert, specifically if and when he plays “Hey Jude”, “Let It Be”, “Yesterday”, and/or dedicates any songs to John or George.

I have been dreaming of this day my entire life, and though there is currently a chance of rain and a definite chance that I will have an enormous crick in my neck and a charley horse in both of my calves the following morning from 4 to 5 hours of standing in the “General Admission” section, it will all be worth it just to be a teary-eyed fan at a Paul McCartney concert.

What kind of Beatles fan would you have been?