Saturday, June 15, 2019

Freshen Up

If you know anything about me, my favorite group is the Beatles. My dream of seeing them in concert died in 1980 when John Lennon was murdered. I held out hope of a reunion with John’s son Julian in his place. That dream ended when George Harrison died of cancer in 2001. Since Paul McCartney was my favorite Beatle, I put seeing him on my “bucket list”. I finally got to see him in Louisville in 2014. I never thought he’d tour again given his age, but he did his Out There tour in 2016. He played at Busch Stadium and Jonathan and I went to see him there. I never thought I’d see him in concert again. He was seventy four at the time. I couldn’t imagine he’d tour again. Then, I got an email saying he would be touring again in 2019 with his “Freshen Up” tour. I looked at the dates and very happily noticed he’d be playing in Madison Wisconsin. Since my son Josh lives there, I could get tickets and we could see him there. I got on the Ticketmaster web site the moment tickets went on sale. However, all the good tickets sold out immediately. I was totally dejected and set myself to buying tickets on the secondary market later (this was in September of 2018 and the concert wasn’t til June of 2019).

Over the next few months, I continued to get emails about tour dates being added. I finally got one saying a date had been added at Lambeau Field in Green Bay Wisconsin. With that venue being much larger, I hoped to be able to get tickets this time. Green Bay is about a two hour drive from where Josh is so we could easily go. The day came for the tickets to go on sale. I again got in as fast as I could. This time I managed to get Silver VIP tickets which put us on the field itself!

The date finally rolled around for the concert. We left for the concert. We grabbed dinner on the way. I had gotten parking via ParkWhiz about half a mile away. My hope is with that we could dodge most of the traffic afterwards. We found our way with no problem and got in with no issues. We got our wristbands for the field seats and headed down. The seats were great! Since I’d made us leave early (as I always do) we had time to kill so we walked around. I was a bit surprised as to how new things looked there. I later found out the stadium had been recently renovated.

The concert was supposed to start at eight. It ended up not starting til about 8:20. The concert started with “A Hard Day’s Night”. Paul McCartney played a lot of the Beatles songs that he primarily wrote (Can’t Buy Me Love, Got To Get You Into My Life, I’ve Seen A Face plus a lot of others). He also played a lot of songs from his Wings days (Let ‘Em In, Band On The Run, Live and Let Die and a lot of others). He also played some of his more recent solo songs as well. He even laughingly said that he could tell when he played his newer songs because he wouldn’t see the lights of people filming them (he said it was like seeing a “black hole”).

Josh genuinely seemed to enjoy himself. He said this was as close as he’d ever sat for a concert and he’d known more of these songs than he had at any other concert. Turned out he knew a lot of the songs because the head of his company plays them at meetings where he works. I even found out his favorite Beatle song is “Eleanor Rigby” (which Paul played at the concert). The concert went for almost three hours. It’s still hard for me to see how an almost seventy seven year old man can play and sing for that long. Just like like the previous two times, the concert was fabulous. I knew that for his encore he’d play the closing song medley at the end of the Abbey Road album. We worked our towards the stairs as he ended the concert. We then literally ran back to where the car was parked and beat the crowd (and traffic) out. I slept most of the way back and we got back to his apartment about 1:45am.

Finally as part of the VIP package, we got special souvenir gifts. They were shipped to my address and I didn’t get the package til I got back to our home the following week. We both got a really nice “Freshen Up” duffel bag and beach towel.

Paul McCartney always ends his concerts with “We’ll see you next time!”. Based on his intervals of touring, he’ll be almost eighty. I’ll be SIXTY. Will I go see him again? Absolutely!