Thursday, July 27, 2017

Why I love seeing Paul McCartney

Over the past year I have read numerous articles about why people refuse to see Paul McCartney in concert anymore.      And while I respect their decisions, I thought since I just saw Paul in concert this past Friday in Des Moines, Iowa, that I would share with you all the reasons why I still LOVE seeing Sir Paul in concert every chance that I get.  

The three reasons I hear most often as to why people don't go to a Paul show is 1.  It is too expensive  2.  Paul's voice sounds bad   3.  He never changes the set list.

I have to agree fully with reason #1.  It is too expensive.   There is no reason except for the fact that people (like myself) will pay the enormous prices as to why it costs so much to see a concert these days.   Paul's shows are especially expensive when you add in the cost of travel and hotel to the price of  the ticket.      And if you can't afford to see Paul in concert, then I get it.   If it is out of your budget, I feel really bad for you because Paul's shows shouldn't be so expensive that his most devoted fans cannot afford to go.    But if you CAN afford it and chose not to out of a protest that the prices are too high---well---it isn't working because his concerts are always sold out.

The second reason doesn't matter much to me.   Paul is 75 years old.    And while I think he still sounds pretty good, his voice is not as strong as it used to be.    I am okay with that.    When you are at the concert, you get what I call "tunnel ears" and he sounds good while you are there.   Then you listen back to it on youtube and think, "whoa---that wasn't what I remember it sounding like at all."   Do I wish he would drop certain songs out of the set list or lower the key?   Yes!    But the strength of Paul's voice has nothing to do with why I see him in concert.

The set list will always be a debate among fans.     Do you really think Paul is going to take out "Hey Jude" or "Yesterday?"    I think people that have never seen him in concert deserve to hear him sing the classics.     I think Paul tries to walk that thin line between performing songs that the die-hard fans want to hear, songs he wants to perform and songs he is expected to perform.     He should change things up.   He has a vast catalogue of great songs to chose from---but he mixes things up enough to please me.

So why do I go??   Here are my Top 5 reasons:

Paul leads the singing of "Hey Jude"  Photo taken by Sara Schmidt 

1.  I get to sing Beatles songs with an actual Beatle--

I am not the biggest fan of the song "Hey Jude," but you can't beat having Paul McCartney himself--the guy that wrote the song lead you in singing "Hey Jude," or "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da."   How many chances do you have in your life to sing a Beatles songs with one of the Beatles??    I don't know about you, but I am going to jump on that opportunity whenever I can.

Photo by Sara Schmidt 

2.  Someone will get acknowledged by Paul!

In Des Moines, before the show, Brian Riddle came around and read my sign.  He wrote it down in a book along with my seat number.   I was in the running for actually getting to go on stage and meet Paul!    And while I wasn't the one chosen, it was beyond exciting to know that someone, possibly someone I actually know, was going to get that opportunity.     The lucky family that went up on stage were someone that I had spoken to during the limo watch.    Plus---my friend Tammy had her sign read during the show!    Also during the song "Something" Paul noticed that during the song a guy proposed to his girl and talked to them about it.     Maybe it is because I run a blog about people having person interactions with Paul McCartney, but I love this stuff.   Seeing it happen in my presence makes it extremely worth my time.

Photo by Sara Schmidt 
3  The thrill of the first moments 

I think I experience the highest level of adrenaline in my whole life the moments a Paul McCartney concert starts.    The lights go dark and you see that image of a Hofner bass on the screen and the sounds of "The End" are playing.     And then there he is!    Not a look alike.    Not a fake.   But the real Paul McCartney.   The guy that was friends with John Lennon.    The guy that I have spent most of my adult life reading and learning about.   There he is.   In the same room that I am in.    At that moment it doesn't matter to me that there are thousands of other people also in that room.    And as the first notes to "A Hard Day's Night" start, I just can't control it any longer and I let out the most Beatlemaniac scream I can.     NOTHING else is the world compares to that feeling.    

Look closely---that is Paul and Nancy in there!

2.  The limo watch 

If you have never gone to a Paul McCartney limo watch, you really should!    It is a great FREE activity.    You don't even have to have tickets to the concert to go to the limo watch.    Limo watches are fun.   The one in Des Moines was a bit disappointing because Paul waited to roll down his window, Nancy blocked my view of Paul and we were really far away.   However, I am glad that I went.    I was able to talk to other fans from all over the world.   (Hello limo watch people!)   We saw the band leave the bus,  Paul's videographer Charlie, his photographer MJ and of course Brian Riddle.  They even had water out for us.     The local news came around and interviewed us.    It was all so much fun and we got to see Paul for about 5 seconds to boot.   For me, the limo watch is worth it because it gets me ready for the show.   I wouldn't miss it!

Photo by Sara Schmidt 

1.  The Experience 

To me this is the key point that those that refuse to see Paul in concert are missing.   For me, it is not a concert---it is an experience.     An experience that gives me a lot of happiness.     From the anxiety of ordering the tickets to collecting Paul confetti once the show is over---the whole thing is an experience that I love.  I like looking at  the Beatles t-shirts of  fans in the audience while reading signs before the show as I jam to DJ Chris' Paul mix.   I love looking at the variety of Paul pictures during the "video."   I have fun  dancing to the music of  live Paul McCartney.   I laugh as I  hear his same old tired jokes.  I like seeing the different guitars he plays during the show.    I enjoy the fire of "Live and Let Die."  I love seeing Brian, Rusty, Wix and Abe play their instruments with the passion that they have. 
   From meeting up with other fans, to seeing Paul give a thumbs up at the limo watch, to having Paul confetti fall on me---the whole experience makes me happy.      For me (and I can't stress that enough), it doesn't matter what Paul sounds like.    It really doesn't.     I am not there to hear Paul McCartney, although that is part of the experience.    I am there for the full package.   I know that Paul isn't going to be with us forever and there will come a day when I will look back without regret on the concerts I attended.    


  1. Dear Sara, I really appreciate your article! I do feel that it is difficult to afford the tickets and all the other expenses involved. I was only able to see him in St. Louis several years ago because a good friend bought the tickets and a limo to the show! (Lucky me!!!) I also thought his vocal was great, especially at the age he was at that time. I was also very impressed at the length of the show and how well he kicked ass for that long!!! I agree with everything you said about the experience as a whole. I didn't do the limo watch, but I had that same feeling about singing along with him and being in the same room with a Beatle. What a BLAST!!! I saw him at Busch Stadium in the early 80's as well. It was an incredible experience, as was seeing Ringo at the Fox Theater a few years ago. Ya know, if the Beatles had any impact on your life, then you owe it to yourself to catch a glimpse of them in person, even now. They influenced popular music and culture in a way that will NEVER be matched! One can argue if one wishes, but I think they would be wrong! As Ringo always says, Peace and Love, Sara! And thank you for your wonderful book!!! Scott

  2. Sara - enjoyed your article and me thinks Paul will basically always be a Beatle; have seen many artists from Elvis to Streisand and they did their same line up of songs as Paul does his.

  3. I agree with every word you wrote. Brilliant.