The Greatest Show on Earth: Paul McCartney Live from Vegas

When the house lights went black and the stage lights flooded the audience, my mom looked at me glassy-eyed and said, “This will be the best concert you will ever see.”

I have to admit, when my husband came into our bedroom this morning at 9am and said to me, “Your mom has tickets to Paul McCartney tonight and she wants you to go with her.  The show starts at 7:00.”  All I could think of was how exhausted I was, how I wasn’t sure I would be able to peel my fatigued body off the bed in time to make it (I had just ran 5 miles at 5am), and how I didn’t have a babysitter.  On the other hand, I knew how important this concert was to her.

When I think of all the really great concerts I have been to, and I have been to some pretty amazing concerts, most of the ones in my top 10 are concerts I’ve attended with my mother:  Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, the Eagles, Don Henley, Fleetwood Mac, and a personal favorite, Madonna.  For Madonna, she even went as far as to buy them almost a year out from a ticket broker because they were sold out before they went on sale.  At each of these concerts, she took my sister, brother and me, creating lifelong memories for all of us.  If it wasn’t a concert, it was a Broadway musical.  Music has always been a constant theme in her life.  I swear, she has a different theme song for every day.  She has a Soundtrack to her life.  I know this because she has already requested songs for her funeral.   She has shared this love of music with my siblings and I, and we have passed it on to our own kids.  The Beatles, for as long as I can remember, have been her all time, most favorite group ever.  The Paul McCartney tickets were meant to be shared with my brother, sister and me.  After she saw him the last time, she told us that the next time he comes to Vegas, she was taking us to see the concert of a lifetime.  So when my brother couldn’t get out of work, and my sister bailed the morning of, I knew there was so way out. Fortunately, my on-call babysitter is in nursing school, and needs the money, so I can pretty much bet on her being available, even at a moment’s notice.

With every ounce of energy I had, and 15 minutes to take a shower, find something to wear, straighten out my hair and plaster on make-up, I made it out the door and down to the Strip with my mom in the car like a giddy little teen-ager.  And, she wasn’t the only one.  When we finally made it to the MGM Grand (no thanks to the jacked up construction on the I-15/Trop exit), and started walking through the Floor Entrance of the Grand Garden Arena, immediately, I felt a sense of instability.  As I looked around, I thought, how dangerous could this be?  It’s a Paul McCartney concert.  The average age of the concert goers are like 65…harmless.  But as I was trying to make my way through the crowd to the security guard taking the floor seat tickets, a huge group of Baby Boomers walked in, all wearing “I {heart} Paul” buttons.  For some reason, I felt panicked like they were all going to bum-rush the security guard to try to get to the floor seats.  For a minute, I was right, until the security guard called over back-up and the group was ushered up the escalator to a separate entrance.

Paul's Still Got It!

All I could think of were those teeny-boppers from the early 60’s fainting and screaming out the names of all the Beatles, and how that fanatic energy still hasn’t left this aging crowd.  You could feel it all night long, but the funny thing, or I should say, the really, very cool thing was that, it wasn’t just the aging Baby Boomers rocking out to the show.  It truly was an audience of every generation.  In the front row, the cameras scanned a young boy with his dad, about 5 or 6 years old, singing and dancing.  In front of me, two twenty-somethings on a date.  I, personally, was there with my 60-ish mother-in-law, and my aunt and mom, both in their mid-50’s.  As I was walking out to the lobby during “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band,” a pre-teen was singing along, word for word.  And when Paul belted out cultural hits like “Let It Be,”  and “Give Peace a Chance,” there was no age barrier as we all swayed our arms to the music, some holding posters with the words and others just sharing peace signs.  We all felt it.  It was totally groovy, man.

It happened to also be the 5th Anniversary of the Cirque du Soliel show, Love, based on the music of the Beatles.  I’m sure it wasn’t a coincidence, but we were all lucky to have been apart of the next amazing thing that happened.  Several minutes before the lights went out, the crowd all stood and awed at the Beatles’ families including,  Olivia Harrison, Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, being ushered into the section right diagonal from us.  I felt like pages from my Rock-n-Roll history book were being written as I stood there.

I had been to Grateful Dead concerts before and been witness to Deadheads working to recreate what it was like to be apart of the 60’s, but the nostalgia, the words, the meaning, the history…what it meant then, what it means now…no drugs could have taken you back to that place like Paul McCartney did with his music tonight.  It was an emotional journey through time, and you could see and feel people reliving the past right there in the concert space.  I even found myself getting choked up at times during this musical masterpiece.  I cannot even begin to wrap my head around what the Beatles music meant for a generation who was fighting so hard to create so many of the freedoms we now celebrate today.  It even cost the Beatles a brother. With the presence of Yoko in the arena, when McCartney sang, “Hey Jude,” you could feel the crowd want to burst out in tears.

When I was at the concert, I was so inspired to write a light-hearted, funny post about my crappy pictures and videos I pirated, and the weirdo sitting in front of us (you can still see all of this on my FaceBook page), but by the end of the concert, I knew I couldn’t do that.  Paul McCartney really deserves more than that, but my writing can’t do tonight enough justice.  So, I’ll go back to focusing on the person who it really was about for me.  My mom.  Sitting only 10 rows away from the stage, all night long I wanted to scream out, “Paul!  My mom is your biggest fan!” in between sets when the music faded out, when he would be sure to hear me.  I was too chicken.

My RockStarMom rocking out with me at Paul McCartney

As we loaded back into the car, again, giddy with the same excitement, she couldn’t help herself when she blurted out, “Did I tell you?  Did I tell you that was going to be the best concert you have ever seen in your life?”  And, you know what.  She was right.

 

To visit my photo gallery from the Paul McCartney concert at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, check out my FaceBook page.  I could not upload video that did not include me or a friend, so if you want to see my crappy videos shot from my iPhone, check out my YouTube Channel.

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4 thoughts on “The Greatest Show on Earth: Paul McCartney Live from Vegas

  1. I’ve seen him twice and yes, he puts on an amazing show. Your post did a great job of capturing it. So much nostalgia and such great music. And very cool that you got to see The Families!

  2. I love this! Sounds like an absolutely amazing night and very special you shared it with your Mom, Aunt and Mother in law. You did such an incredible job describing the atmosphere and feeling, I felt like I was there. How magical!

  3. Sounds like a BLAST! I love Paul McCartney – even the “Wings” years. I’ve noticed that there really isn’t the ‘age gap’ there used to be. With the advent of YouTube and iTunes, all generations have as much exposure to one anothers’ music as they could want. Very cool!

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