Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Beatle fanatic at a Paul McCartney Soundcheck for the first time



A Beatle fanatic at a Paul McCartney soundcheck for the first time
By Sara Schmidt
For Meet the Beatle for Real
May 2013


When you pay half of a month’s paycheck for something, you expect amazing things.   I have to admit that I was not disappointed with the Paul McCartney “Hot Sounds” VIP package but I still feel like it was way too expensive and I most likely will never get to do such a thing again. 

I decided to write up what happened as a VIP Paul McCartney concert goer because there seems to be some unwritten rule that you aren’t supposed to talk about it with those who don’t go.   Actually there seems to be a lot of secrets that go on among the Beatle community.    As far as I am concerned, this isn’t a secret!   I wanted to know what to expect and couldn’t find any information anywhere.   So this is written with the fans who are considering shelling out the big bucks for the once in a lifetime opportunity to see Paul McCartney on a more personal level.

The biggest myth with this whole thing is that only the extremely wealthy can do the VIP package.   And yes, you do have to have some money to afford this luxury.   However, I found that the majority of people that I met there had never done this before and acknowledge that they will never be able to do it again.   Most of them were like me, and middle-class working Americans who decided to treat themselves.   Some of them gave up vacations, are making payments on their credit cards, cut back on eating out, etc etc to pay for the VIP package.   As for me, I just don’t buy a whole lot of extra things.   I don’t spend my money on clothes, make-up, shoes, or things like that.   Plus I am single and have no children, so I really do not have extra expenses.    So I had enough money tucked away in my savings account to pay for this.   It isn’t anything I could afford to do again, but one time was alright.   I know there are people who do the VIP thing for Paul’s concerts 5+ times a year.   They must be the rich people.  

So here is what happens with the VIP package:

A little under a week before the concert, I got a special email that told me where I was to enter and what I needed to bring with me.   I needed an ID and my ticket.   I was told that I was allowed to bring a “point and shoot camera,” but no memorabilia because Paul would not be signing anything.   Right before they let us in, they told us that we couldn’t bring in any food or drink, and that we weren’t allowed to leave once we allowed inside the auditorium. They also informed us that if you had flowers or a gift for Paul, you had to hand it over to the security guards right then and they will get it to Paul (yeah right).   

We all lined up and waited to have our bags checked and our tickets scanned.   Then we were ushered over to a table where they checked our IDs and we had to sign in.     Then we were told that we had to stay inside of the lobby area until told otherwise.   In the lobby was a merchandise table that we could buy from, which was nice because you could actually look at the shirts and items without a huge crowd.  There were also jugs of water with cucumbers in it to drink.  I thought it tasted a little strange.    We waited there for well over an hour because “the artist was running late.”   It made me laugh that they never once said, “Paul McCartney,” but kept referring to him as “the artist.”  It was like they thought a riot would break out if they said his name.   I was fortunate to  make a friend with a fellow Beatle fan named Pam, and chatting with her made the time go by a lot faster than if I was all alone.

I took this photo to show how far back from the stage we had to sit.  Look at all the empty seats near the stage!

Finally after a long wait they told us to make two lines (which no one really did) and follow the guards down to the arena.    Here is a little known fact (at least I didn’t know it):  if you get to go to a sound check, you are not allowed to sit in the front section.   You have to sit a whole section back.    Yeah, that was disappointing to me.   I thought we would be right up front, but instead we were back a little ways.   We were still on the floor, but still it wasn’t as close as I had thought.  You do not have assigned seats for the soundcheck.  It is just first come first seated.    Some people stood up, and other sat while we waited some more.   Wix (the keyboard player) was the only person out there and he plunked around on the keyboards for about 10 minutes while we sat and waited some more.    Finally the rest of the band came out and then the big moment:  Paul!!!      He started by hugging each of the band members and then they all stood around in a circle and talked and goofed around with some Elvis sunglasses.   
 
Paul greets Abe.  Photo copyright:  Sara Schmidt

Finally Paul got to the microphone and welcomed us to the soundcheck.   To look at us, he had to put his hand up above his eyes.   Why were we sitting so far from him….I kept wondering.   He called us the “soundcheckers.”    He explained how he was going to run through a few songs with the band.   He talked a bit about Memphis and Carl Perkins and started by singing “Matchbox.”    Of course I associate that song with Ringo and it was pretty neat hearing Paul perform it.    The he moved onto “Blue Suede Shoes” and everyone started dancing.   The soundcheck was sort of a blur in a way.   I was trying my best to take it all in, but it was hard to really do.    At one point he noticed a girl who had a sign about how it was her birthday and then they played “Birthday.”    I held up the “soundcheck” sign I made that said “1K PPL WANT ME 2 MEET U 4 REAL.”   I think he saw it, but I don’t think he understood what it meant.   He did thank everyone for making signs.  

Paul McCartney at the Memphis Soundcheck  Photo copyright:  Sara Schmidt

He played some on the piano and it was really nice.   Then he got out his ukulele and played “Ram on,” which was fun to hear.   And next he played, “Big Barn Bed.”    The  Wings album, Red Rose Speedway has always been one of my favorites and I had actually been listening to it in the car the past week, so hearing this song was awesome!  It was sounded amazing on the uke!     It wasn’t until long after the soundcheck that I learned that Paul has NEVER performed that song live before.   I hadn’t looked at the soundcheck set list on purpose, so I didn’t know that he hadn’t been playing that one all along.   After playing “Things we Said today,” he then played one of my top favorite McCartney solo songs:  Bluebird.   Oh I was in heaven!!!     The “magic” piano was rolled out and Paul played my mom’s favorite Beatles song, “Lady Madonna.”  And that was it!   The soundcheck was over.   Paul thanked us for coming and told us to enjoy the show.    He played many songs, but I just can’t remember them all.   Paul looked really good.  He was wearing a blue suit jacket that looked similar to the one from the Abbey Road cover.    To me he looked a bit younger in person than he has looked in recent photographs.   All during the soundcheck he was drinking something that sort of looked like Gatorade.    I am not sure what it was, but he was chugging that stuff.   It is interesting because he never takes a drink at all during the concerts I have been to.  
Paul playing "Big Barn Bed" on the uke during the Memphis soundcheck Photo:  Sara Schmidt

 
The soundcheck was over.  Boo!   Photo:  Sara Schmidt
They ushered us out of the stage area, but I didn’t want to go.  Paul was still up on the stage!  There were people just filing  out and there I was still mesmerized by the fact that I was in the same room as Paul McCartney!   How could I walk out with Paul still right there?    A small group of us decided to yell out to Paul before we left, so we screamed out, “We love you Paul!!!”  And he turned around and waved at us.   I was still craning my neck to see him as I was forced to leave.  

We were next moved upstairs for our meal.  It was held in a room that was located above the stage.  There were glass windows that faced the auditorium and you could see everyone taking their seats while you were eating.    We were given our souvenir gift while we were in line for the food.   We received a Paul McCartney “Out there” backpack.   It is a hiking backpack made out of very heavy material and it has reflective parts as well.   We also got a Paul McCartney “Out There” bag that is just like the ones I typically use for my grocery shopping.     
This was the backpack that the VIP package people received.  It is really nice!

I was told that the food was going to just be hors d'oeuvres, but that simply was not true.  We had a full meal and one drink.   It was vegetarian and mainly was pasta.   There was cheesy alfrado, a macaroni dish, mashed potatoes and a variety of cheeses and veggies.   For dessert there was ice cream with all sorts of toppings and a chocolate cake.   We were given a ticket for one drink from the bar, and there was a variety of beverages to choose from (just don’t ask for a blush wine because the people sure didn’t know what that meant).

After the meal we had to find our way to our floor seats.  By this time the pre-show photo were beginning to be shown.   The usher who was to help me find my seat could not tell me how to get to it and I was running back and forth trying to find it.   But I finally located where I was supposed to be and was able to get ready to see Paul!

Was going to the soundcheck worth it?   That is a hard question to ask, because it sure was a lot of money.  I had an amazing time and it is something that was worth experiencing.   I am glad that I decided to go ahead and do it, because I would regret it if I didn’t.   Most likely I wouldn’t do it again unless they add that you actually get to meet Paul and get his autograph or something to the package deal.   



57 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Sara! I've always wondered what those high-priced ticket packages were all about, and now I have a clear image in my mind. I'll bet that when you think back on it in the future, you'll be very glad you splurged!

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  2. thanks so much for this, sara! i have many friends here in brazil that have been to the hotsound thing. it costs the equivalent to US$1,500.00 (yes, one thousand five hundred us dollars) per person over here, and since the shows are all in huge stadiums, they watch the soundcheck from veeeeeery far away - you were lucky! then after that they have to literally run towards the front of the stage, because here in brazil all floor "seats" are standing room, no chairs at all. so these people who paid all that money have to stand from when the soundcheck ends until the concert starts otherwise other people will get in front of them. i have never done it because i couldn't stand for all those hours with no drink or bathroom, i would be too tired to even enjoy the concert. so glad you could do it, though!

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    1. You should get free VIP tickets to all the concerts, Lizzie, for your unpaid participation in Across the Universe!
      PS Thank you so much for sharing this, Sara!

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    2. HEY LIZZIE!!! What are you doing here!!!!??? I just splurged for MY first Soundcheck for the upcoming Fresno, California show!!

      Christopher John Martin

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  3. Thanks for sharing this- I really enjoyed reading it and seeing your photos. I was there as well on 3rd row as part of a VIP package- also went by myself. I too had always wanted to go for the VIP deal but was frustrated just like you at the lack of info out there on what to expect. I decided to go for it and I'm glad I did; however, there were some real downsides to it as you describe (waiting for hours, why so far back at soundcheck, $1500...). The venue staff referred to us as "prisoners" at one point during the wait which I thought felt accurate. Also, looks like "the artist" was late as he was touring Graceland. Maybe we should have been at Graceland and not the soundcheck! Thanks again for sharing! :-)

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  4. Bummer. I too have VIP for the DC show. Couldn't get them for Boston where I live. I was sure hoping to be up close and bring an album for him to sign. Doesn't seem like it's worth it but like you, I alway's wanted to do this. What time can I expect the sound check to start? I have to fly in from Boston and hope the sound check isn't too early. Thank you for sharing this story. Laurie

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    1. I am glad that you found my story a bit helpful, Laurie. When I was looking into it, I couldn't find any information online. I do not know why the "soundcheckers" try to keep this all a secret. If you are going to spend $1500 on something, you should know what to expect.

      You will get an email 6-7 days before your concert. In Memphis, you had to be at the doors of the venue at 4:00pm. You can't be late, or they won't let you in. Although we ended up sitting around and waiting on until 5:30. I hope you have enough time with your flight to get there.

      I am glad that I did it. The best part was the close-up seat during the concert. Although the actual sound-check was really cool too. I just thought we'd be sitting in our concert seats and not far, far back. I just am not sure if I would ever want to spend that crazy amount of money again for it.

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  5. Thank you for sharing your experience. I saw McCartney once, it was a good show, but i would not have paid for your experience. it makes me wonder what an old Billionaire needs with that extra cash ?

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  6. hi - i never went to a soundcheck but a friend did in Germany in 2011. The back seat position is everywhere and no one knows why. In Germany it wasnt allowed to take photos - to be honest they said "if you take pics youll be thrown out" (and who risks losing his 500 bucks ticket for that).

    Great you did it!!
    thorsten

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  7. Great post to share your experience. I have never done a sound check nor will I as I just can't justify spending the money for it. I have read multiple times about people having to sit about 30 rows back so it isn't a big secret but probably hard to find once posts become older. I would rather spend $1500 buying 5 or 6 concert tickets on the floor for $275. I've been in the 12th row aisle, right off center section in Miami and 11th row last night in DC. Great experiences. Till you can meet Paul and get an autograph, I'll skip the sound check.

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  8. This was an awesome overview of what to expect! My wife and I have these tickets for his August show in Canada and I simply can't wait. Yes it is a lot of money but it's a once in a lifetime experience!

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  9. I am really glad that people are finding my information about the soundcheck helpful. As I have said, when I bought my VIP seats I wanted to know more about it and there was NO information out there that I could find.

    I really had no clue that you would be sitting so far back from Paul during the soundcheck. I thought you would sit in your regular seat. I feel like this was being kept a secret or something, but maybe I just don't visit the right Beatles forums.

    The whole money thing is a personal decision. I understand why people think it is insane to spend $1,500 on VIP for Paul. I think it is insane and I did it. I spend half of a month's paycheck on VIP seats and I didn't even get to meet the man. But I don't have regrets. I would only spend the money if I had it to spend (I am not going in debt for Paul) and if it was for Paul or Ringo. I don't have the opportunity to see Paul McCartney in concert very often. He just doesn't seem to play the midwest as much as he does other places. I might never get to see him again.

    To the Anonymous person: Have fun in August and let us know how the soundcheck and concert was! Love to see photos or hear stories.

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  10. I purchased a VIP ticket for the July 14th show Indpl., IN. Tickemaster salesman had sold the $1,500 ticket, stating there was a 90% chance that Paul will show up for pre-hospitality event. Not true. Nethertheless, when I learned of this, after I got to stadium I was devastated and felt lied to. I had look forward to the concert for months and had high hopes of getting a good glimpse of Paul. The Hot Sound Package included a floor seat, "special entrance", invitation to sound check, pre-show hospitality reception, special swag bags, on-site management staff and laminated Beatle Picture. Number one: there was no special entrance, ticket holders stood in line for hours and then we were marched in lines upstairs to the holding room, where we were sequeastered. Cash bars. On-site management, staff stood around, didn't offer to serve food or drink. Like cattle we were herded downstairs for the sound check, which was great fun. But like the other blogger mentioned we were seated a 1/2 stadium back. Another one of my hopes dashed. Mccartney did play well and I think 13 songs. But when it was over, again the security herded us back up the steps and out of the arena. Paul turned his back to audience while we filed out. We returned to the reception room to eat the buffet, which was okay, but the caterers had not planned for enough food. So some people did not eat. Security passed out a coupon for a free drink. Then more waiting until finally we were allowed to move around the building and find other family members. I enjoyed the concert. But, personally, I would not have paid $1,500.00 of my hard earned money to buy VIP ticket, especially after I learned Paul typically shuns them. By the time the real concert started I was depressed. I am 62 years old, I am very ill and I knew this would be my last chance to see someone who meant so much to me. In the end I felt like a silly old woman for falling for the slick sales packaging. In the end I didn't feel like a Very Important Person. I just felt like a really, silly, stupid person. One of the little people that got fleeced. Not a kind thing to do.

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    1. Thank you for your honest information about your soundcheck experience. I think this is the type of information that needs to be out there. I feel awful that you were told that there was a 90% chance that Paul would show up, when really there is a 90% chance that Paul WON'T show up. I don't think he has ever came and greeted the VIP fans besides just the soundcheck.

      I thought the food was pretty good, but it wasn't anything special. However, I would have thrown a fit if they had ran out of food and I didn't get any.

      The best thing about the whole ordeal was the soundcheck and being in the 4th row for the concert. Being ushered out of the soundcheck while Paul was still on the stage really killed me. They were just pushing us along and I kept saying, "But Paul is still right there...."

      What I think is REALLY strange is that people who pay $2,000 for the next package up get the exact same thing but get to sit in the front row. I would want something more if I paid $500 extra.

      If I ever do this again (which I most likely will not) I think I want to make a sign that says "I paid $1,500 and want to sit closer."

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    2. Don't feel bad or like a silly person. The VIP packages sell out quickly, so it's not like you were unusual. And, as someone pointed out, this may have been the only way to guarantee good seats. I say shame on the promoters for not making clear that there will be no "meet and greet" with Paul.

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  11. I am the anonymous person back to provide an update on my VIP experience in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was abosolutely amazing! My wife and I really enjoyed the VIP experience. The stadium was brand new! The dinner table was set very eligantly and the meal was fantastic (my wife and I are both vegetarian). The cheesecake for desert was decedant and was more than I expected.

    The soundcheck was awsome (I really appreciated the heads up on what to expect as I may have been surprised with how far back we were). Paul was absolutely charming and delivered a 1 hour mini concert.

    Our seats for the main concert were 3 rows back and dead center to Paul. We were 10 feet away from him for the entire show and I abosolutely loved every single minute of it!

    My wife and I took our kids to the Regina, Saskatchewan show. We had good seats and the evening was also beautiful. Comparing the shows, my wife and I both feel very strongly that the Winnipeg VIP experience was well worth the money. It is important to manage expectations and I can see how a person could have a negative experience if they were expecting something much more and it under delivered.

    I would for sure do this again - its Paul McCartney!



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    1. Thanks for remembering to come back with your experience. It sounds like you had a great time. I was disappointed that we had to sit so far back (no one told me differently) and that they made us leave the area while Paul was still on stage. But I am glad that I did it! I most likely wouldn't do it again, but I wouldn't rule it out either.

      I am not vegetarian and I thought the food was great.

      I am so happy for you and your wife that you had such a great Paul experience.

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  12. Thank you for sharing your experience to us.

    I'm Korean big fan of Paul McCarteny and I bought his Fukuoka concert VIP ticket in November, JAPAN.

    I had any informations about VIP ticket until I am visiting your blog.

    Thank you again.

    I have a question to you.

    I have Paul McCarteny's limited edition Epiphone texan guitar.

    I planned that I will carry the guitar on soundcheck with banner (from KOREA to JAPAN via airplane) to get the Paul's sign on it.

    How do you think about the Guard on the venus would allow to carry the guitar in the area or not?

    Please answer to me.

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  13. Hello Anonymous person in Korea! I am so glad that you found this about Paul's soundcheck. I am also very excited for you that you will be seeing him soon in Japan. You will have a great time!

    Honestly, I would not bring a guitar with me to be signed. They will not allow anything inside to be signed and most likely they will take it away from you. You can bring a gift for Paul (which he may or may not get) and a sign. Sorry for the bad news, but you will have a great time. Let us know about the concert.

    Sara S.

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  14. Sara, your experience is an almost moment by moment description of my experience at the Seattle "Out There" VIP experience. My anger has finally subsided enough to even have a rational dissertation of the event.

    I bought a front row seat VIP package, which from what the arena seating chart displayed, was in front of the right section of the stage. I figured he would at least move around the stage and for a short period of time be in front of our section. This was not the case. A giant screen projected the view from center stage and "flesh and blood" Paul moved very little from the centrally located stationary mike. He did move deeper into the stage to play the piano but never ventured to either the right or left.

    Like you, I spent a small fortune on my ticket and felt so short changed, I was ready to denounce my lifelong love of the Beatles, which began in Pierre, South Dakota at the age of 11. I was so removed from any venue the Beatles performed it was never going to be a reality for me, so this was my last chance at being close to Paul, my very favorite Beatle. So I splurged. $4,000.00 on 2 tickets and a front row seat.
    The lessons I took away from that experience were: 1. Center stage front row tickets are reserved for very rich people with inside connections to the promoters or artist. 2. I was such a naïve concert goer, I assumed the amount of money I paid guaranteed me a special experience. 3. Paul McCartney, who has more money than he ever dreamed of making, is still trying to rake in as much as he can as a Beatle and taking advantage of my sentimentality.

    I understand not being able to meet him. I'm sure he feels vulnerable at being exposed to potential Mark Chapmans, but I really expected more after paying what I did for a front row ticket.

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  15. For my 10th Paul concert, I decided to bite the bullit and buy a VIP package. Glad I read your column so I know what to expect. It's about what I thought but a pack back? Really? Seems lame. About how many people do you think there were at this VIp event. Mine is in Dallas on June 16th.

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    1. I think there were around 150-200 people there. If we weren't so far away, it would have been pretty intimate. I am going to see Paul in Louisville on June 29, but decided against doing the Hot Sounds package again and went for the $170 seats in section 111.

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  16. I'm in Chicago and I think my package tickets go on sale tomorrow and I'm trying to decide if I should do the Hot Sounds package. I'm like you, no kids, no crazy expenses. I won't go into debt if I do it. It just seems sooo expensive. Anyone that I've told about it has thought I'm crazy. But I've been a fan of Paul's for almost 30 years, and I feel like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. I have a question about your seats for the show. You said they were 4th row. Were they fairly center, or to a side? I'm 5' tall, and am worried about being on the floor and being able to see him, with the angle and/or people blocking me. I'm thinking you could probably get better seats with this than just buying them alone? But I don't know. I'm so undecided! Help! lol

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    1. Hello Leigh,
      Everyone thought I was crazy for doing it. Maybe I was! I have tickets to see Paul in Louisville, but I am in the $170 seats this time and not on the floor. It was tempting to go for the VIP package again because it is easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the moment of when the tickets go on sale. However, I knew that I would just be disappointed.

      As for my seats....I was in the 4th row center, however a tall person was in the first row and it was hard to see at times. You know the drill...he moved, I moved, and then he moved again. But then the tall guy decided to sit down and I had a perfect view.

      That is why I decided against the floor seats this time. I am going with a friend who is about 5 foot tall and I know that if we were on the floor, she couldn't be able to see.

      The seats I had with the VIP package were amazing. I have a review of the concert on this blog as well. I mean I was close enough for Paul to read my sign!

      Leigh, I would go for it. It is a once in a lifetime thing. I think you will regret it if you don't. There is going to be a time that Paul will no longer be able to tour and you will think, "I should have done that VIP package in 2014 when I had the chance."

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    2. I'm currently obsessing over seating charts, reviews, and photos. LOL I've been to the United Center a lot for skating, but I don't think I've ever been there for a concert. I think one thing that's worrying me is being short and being on the flat floor. The first time I saw him in '89, I was pretty far back on the floor and got frustrated with everyone being taller. I had a crappy Kodak Disc camera that I had snuck in and was trying to take pictures. During the encore I decided I would just go for it and try to move up. Someone grabbed my arm and I thought they would throw me out, but they led met to the front of the 2 sections (behind the 1st section, so about 11th row) and told me to stand on a chair and take pictures! I have no idea who that was, but it was awesome! That's the closest I've been to Paul. It was awesome!

      Now for this, I wouldn't be so far back, but I still worry about being blocked, and I wouldn't be able to stand on a chair! lol If I got a seat in the stands on the side, I would be elevated and my view should be better. And it would definitely be closer than Wrigley Field 3 years ago! I was in the stands there, but it's so huge.

      You were allowed to bring a camera in. Were you able to use it during the actual concert, or only the soundcheck? Thanks for your answers. I'm still thinking. I was leaning against it when you posted. lol

      One thing I'm lucky with is that the venue is literally a little under 2 miles down the road from my job, and it's on a weekday! Finally, a convenient venue!

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    3. Also one other thing that makes me kind of nervous about doing the package is that I get, well, kind of nervous. :) I've always gotten really anxious for concerts, so I'm a little concerned about having to wait an hour or so doing nothing, being trapped, before anything happens.

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    4. You make me laugh because you sound a lot like me in so many ways. I studied the seating charts that a crazy woman too. I wish I could go to the Chicago show as well, but I live 5-6 hours from Chicago (and yet I live in Illinois) and I got up there for Beatlefest, but I just can't get up there very much. It is easier for me to travel south to see Paul than to travel north. I wish I had known about Kansas City originally. Anyhow...back to your issue.

      I couldn't decide what to do, and so I decided that if I I tried for the VIP and I was given good seats, then I would go for it. To me--4th row in the center was good seats. Maybe you could try that?

      The time went by pretty fast because I made a friend and we just talked about Paul and the Beatles for the hour long wait.

      You can bring a camera into the concert and take all the photos you want. The "regulars" down in the front get annoyed with people who take photos the entire show and aren't watching the concert, but don't let their comments stop you. I didn't! They might do the VIP thing 10 times a year, but it was a once in a lifetime event for me. Good luck on whatever you decide.

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    5. Thank you so much for posting all this information! Like Leigh above, I am an anxious person about this kind of thing and the whole idea of being held "prisoners" doesn't help! I have tried to get information about how it will all go and now I will have an idea, which I really appreciate. :) We splurged on the Front Row package - yes, it is an insane amount but, as others have said, it is a once in a lifetime experience. This will be my third time seeing Paul and actually besides the once in a lifetime part of it, I didn't want to fool with trying to get "regular" tickets. (I am missing out on seeing Fleetwood Mac this year because of the way the ticket site worked and even though I had the Amex earlier access...so I didn't want to not get tickets to see Paul!) We are headed to the concert tomorrow, August 2 at Target Field, Mpls. I dread the waiting time that seems to be a part of the package. I don't like that you don't really know what you are buying when you buy the package - you don't know until a week before when you get the email and even then it is only a few details - such as what time to arrive, what gate and you are told you can not take any video and only pictures for the first 15 minutes of sound check. There was no mention that you can't bring in food or water...I was hoping you could bring in whatever is okay for a Twins game - ? Thanks again for passing along this information!

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  17. This is great - thanks so much for the very helpful posts. I just splurged for four Chicago hot sound seats .. section 1 to the left, row 5. Been searching like crazy to find where these seats were and came across this site. The thing I am struggling with is my wife and I are taking our two oldest children (ages 8 and 6). They are Beatle fanatics and I really want them to be able to tell their children one day they saw McCartney live. I got caught up in the moment and splurged on seats without having a chance to think about it. I went ahead and bit the bullet figuring if I changed my mind I could always resell for a slight loss ... I know I am probably a fool for doing this as the site lines will be impossible but 5th row just sounds so cool. Not to sound like an ass, but I can afford this so money is not an issue ... am I an idiot for doing this with children or should I give it a try? Thanks so much

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    1. I saw several people bring kids to the show and they looked like they were having a good time. Be aware that everyone will stand for the entire show and your kids will probably have to stand on the seats to see. At the LA show because it was a baseball stadium the seats were plastic folding chairs. Just something to think about.

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    2. Oh, I would also bring some earplugs for little kids, to protect their hearing. I was okay without them but it might be damaging for a really young kid.

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  18. I think what you're missing is that the $1500 package is a good way, and often the only way, to ensure that you have decent seats for the concert. We tried to get seats on the floor near the front during the first presale (and we've gotten tickets from on-line sources many times before, so we're experienced), and it was simply impossible. Nothing good was available. In desperation I tried the Hot Sound link, and it showed fabulous seats right in the center, 3rd row. Knowing that we couldn't get anything decent for $275, and also knowing that buying anything later from the scalpers would cost at least as much if not more, I took the package. We'd been to a soundcheck in 2005 that my wife won from a local radio station, so we knew what to expect. The important thing was to have great seats for the concert. As far as meeting Paul, we've seen that it costs $20,000 to $30,000 to have a meet and greet with him, money which goes to charities. CharityBuzz.com auctioned off a chance to meet him not too long ago, and it went for at least $30,000, maybe more. And another one on ebay went for over $20K. So to expect Paul to come down and meet people at the soundcheck is pretty unrealistic. In 2005 we had front row seats (also won from the radio station), and my wife threw an old Beatles 45-rpm record carrier top on stage right at the end of the encore, and Paul picked it up, signed it, and gave it to security to give back to her. That's about the closest one will get, I think, without paying major $$.

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  19. Me and my dad are doing the Hot Sound Package for his concert in Jacksonville this June (took quite a bit of negotiations and convincing) and if they do serve us food and drinks, would there be non-alcoholic beverages like soda available as I can't drink alcohol quite yet.

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  20. Sara,
    Thank you SO much for filling us in about the VIP Sound check experience! I bought it & am going to it July 7th, 2014 in Pittsburgh, PA. I hate that they wait so close before the concert to tell you the particulars about the Sound check. I have never done this before and it was a way, as someone else said t ensure getting a GOOD seat to the concert. Hey, we only go around once and we nor Paul will be around forever. So, who knows when his last concert will be & how healthy he will stay. I mean, I hope it's a LONG time of course, but since I probably won't do this again, I just had to experience it. Plus he is still cranking out great new tunes. I am praying for a fabulous experience. THANKS AGAIN!!

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  21. Thanks, I found this really helpful. I bought my first (and probably ONLY EVER) Hot Sound package to see Paul this fall 2014 and I can't wait! And now I know what to expect.

    Sara J.

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  22. I bought the silver seat VIP tickets.so am I understanding that I paid 265 each for 4 backpacks. how is that VIP? I could have bought 5th row yesterday and spent $150 less per ticket. I feel like an idiot!!!! I get it now Very Idiotic Purchase

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  23. We went to the July show in Chicago. Our daughter is obsessed with Paul and The Beatles so we opted for the upgraded ticket packages. Our seats were on the floor, but toward the back. The biggest disappointment is that the gift items (backpack, lanyard, and 1 other item) are STILL to arrive (as of July 30). There was no guarantee we'd receive the items before the show, but a month later? Really? We enjoyed the show but feel we paid too much. If we would have waited until the day of the show, I'm sure we could have gotten better seats, cheaper, from a scalper. The novelty of the gift packs is lost because they will arrive too late.

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  24. I went to the sound check in Los Angeles and had a wonderful time. He plays a lot of songs in the sound check he never plays in concert and he plays for nearly an hour. In the LA show he brought four lucky people on stage during the sound check to sing along with him during Get Back.
    I wouldn't bring anything for him to sign since they don't allow it.
    You need to arrive for the sound check around 3:00 so plan accordingly. Also, don't forget your ID to check in with when you arrive. I also brought a hat because it's hot and sunny in LA and there wasn't any shade on the field.
    Our sound check had an open bar and dinner before the show so we hung out and made friends with the other guests. Our seats were in the fourth row and they were terrific.
    I agree the merchandise isn't amazing, it was a large backpack, lanyard, travel mug, and tour program, but I liked the backpack and mug a lot. And it was nice the tour program was included too.
    I didn't really buy the package for the merchandise.I bought it for the seats and the soundcheck.

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    1. Nancy, i am curious how they PICKED those four lucky people? Their signs, random? THANKS!!

      Christopher

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  25. I have VIP tix to see Paul next week... Can't wait...
    P.S. I also have tix to see Ringo and His All Stars the following week, if you want to see a Beatle on the cheap Ringo's the way to go; $129 for front row... Sadly no VIP available for Ringo

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  26. We bought tickets from stubhub to see paul in san diego. $2,270 total. It days vip3 on both tickets but does not specify about a silvet or hot seat vip package allowing us to attend s soundcheck. We arent sure if we are allowed to go. These tickets were sold by someone on stubhub to us. Clearly they couldnt go and resold to us. So how do we know if these tickets allow us into the soundcheck?

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    1. Well I got to this post too late. Sorry! I just want to state for anyone else that looks at this post that it states that the Hot Sounds packages with soundcheck are not transferable.

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  27. My dad and I went to the sound check and the concert in Jacksonville and both were absolutely amazing. He did look great and at the sound check he played Penny Lane which was a surprise and at the concert, he might have looked right at me during Back in the USSR, but I'm not sure. A night I will always remember!

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  28. enjoyed all these comments - feel that if you really want to and can afford it, go for it but honestly, going to a paul concert is a better gig and there are so many of them that you can go several times

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  29. I got the hot sound package for the seattle show next month. I am excited!!! Going to be so awesome!

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  30. Bought a 4th row seat for the concert in Little Rock. I'm glad I found this and now know what to expect. This will be my 3rd concert of Paul's but never this close to the stage.

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    1. Glad to help! I am going to the Paul concert in Little Rock too! I am in section 115 (as I stated in the above article, sitting down front was a once in a lifetime thing for me), so I won't see you---but hope you have an amazing time! Come back and let us know what happened!

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    2. My Fresno show will be the first of the new tour, so i'll remember to come back and provide feedback too, no spoilers though. I am REALLY looking forward to seeing how much the new set changes... i recorded my own version of Hey Bulldog in my home studio last week! Maybe he'll play that!!!!

      https://soundcloud.com/martinsoundlabs/hey-bulldog-msl-2016

      Thanks Sara and everybody!

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    3. Ooops, i should add that i am a Different "Unknown" than the original poster above... i am Christopher in California (SF)

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  31. Thank, Sara, for your in depth explanation of just what to hope for when doling out for the Hot Sound pkg. I'm looking to do this for the upcoming Milwaukee show on July 7, 2016. My biggest question is: Will I be guaranteed a seat in the first 5 or so rows of the CENTER section? I'd hate to do this and be relegated to sitting in the 3rd row right or left of stage like someone above had mentioned (but maybe they bought a different pkg?). The biggest bummer is not being able to meet, the second, being so far back from the stage for the sound check, but if your seats are guaranteed great for the concert.... I just may pop. This will be my 6th time seeing him and we're both not getting any younger....

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  32. Thanks for the info. But can anyone tell me what time Paul would be arriving at the arena for his 8pm show? As he sometimes stops to say hi. I don't think I'll EVER get another chance to meet him in my life. I knew where he was filming in North Vancouver, but I screwed that up. I'm so depressed. :-r

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    1. Hi Mark---I suggest that you read my "what to expect at a Paul limo watch" post

      http://www.meetthebeatlesforreal.com/2014/07/paul-limo-watching-what-to-expect.html

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  33. Hi Sara,
    Any insight on how to get picked with a sign? I've been working hard on a cool sign, but my seats are nowhere near the front. Is it just people who are front and center who get picked? I've been dreaming about a Paul tattoo for years...

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    1. We were in the 25th row on the floor (right in front of the sound board) with my sign. Brian (the security manager) walked right in front of us several times, but sadly I didn't catch his attention, and since it took me a while to realize it was him I didn't hold my sign up clearly for him to see it when he walked by. In the end, a lady closer to the front (and with funnier content on her sign) got the signature. Disappointing for me, but good for her! I will try again next time...

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  34. Hey after the seat for the actual show were they great? I wanna be front row one in front of me.

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  35. Thank you for your article! I'm considering buying a VIP ticket - but would have to go alone. Would it be uncommon?

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