Paul McCartney at 80 - MEMORY ALMOST FULL But Why Too Much Macca Will Never Be Enough -
Paul McCartney Spokane 2022 photo by Karen Freedman

Paul McCartney Spokane 2022 photo by Karen Freedman

Paul McCartney at 80 – MEMORY ALMOST FULL But Why Too Much Macca Will Never Be Enough

by Karen Freedman on June 18, 2022

in News

I wasn’t even born when The Beatles did their one and only tour of Australia. And they broke up the year after I was born. So I never got to see the Fab Four.

I missed Paul’s first Australian tour with Wings – I was just six.

I also never got to see John or George. I’ve seen Ringo a handful of times.

However, I’ve seen Paul 124 times. Yes, triple figures, really!!

My friends and family mock my Paul obsession. And don’t tell my mum how much I’ve spent following him around the world. Although, even I couldn’t tell you that.

But whatever it is, it’s been worth every penny.

It all started around 1979. I had learnt some Beatles songs in class when I was younger. You know, those ABC books, “Let’s All Sing” or something that all the kids would warble along to in class. The very stuff that John Lennon accused Paul of making, ‘Granny music’; classics such as ‘Yellow Submarine’ and ‘Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da’, etc.

I was 10 and really getting into music. For my sister’s birthday she received a present from our grandparents. It was a cassette of ‘Back To The Egg’ by Wings. I didn’t know much about them, but I liked the cover. I listened to it and fell in love with it. That tape became mine (sorry, Linda.) I still have it.

I first saw Paul live in 1989. I’d moved to London the previous year, and talk about timing. After a decade of not touring, understandably, due to John’s shocking murder, Paul was ready to go on the road again.

I’d already been extremely fortunate in meeting him many times by this point, spending most of my spare time in Soho Square and at Air Studios, where he’d been recording (Flowers in The Dirt), and he has always been charming and friendly to me.

As a member of his fan club, I was invited to several warm-up shows.

I think the first was late July, 1989, at the Playhouse Theatre (owned by convicted criminal and author, Jeffrey Archer) near the banks of the Thames. It was for about 200 fans only. I took my position right in the very front. The stage was maybe three feet high, and there were no security barriers. The good old days.

It was utterly brilliant.

The second time I saw him was the following evening, for he played two rehearsals. I was in almost the same spot again.

I had been bit by the Paul bug!

You know that song ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’? Well, I could do my own Macca version. I’ve been everywhere to see him, man – I’ve seen him in Melbourne, Miami, Manchester, Moscow/ Sydney, San Francisco, Stockholm, Sheffield … and that’s just the opening verse!

Why do I love Paul so much? I don’t know why I should even have to explain it. The guy is incredible. Arguably the best musician, songwriter and performer in my lifetime. Not only an amazing bass player, he is also a gifted guitarist and pianist, and not a bad drummer. He plays several other instruments more than competently too.

And of course that voice! From tender ballads to that raw growl, he is magnificent.

It never hurt to be so ridiculously handsome either. Although, aside from being a gorgeous rockstar, he is also an exemplary human being. A fine role model, and an affectionate and caring dad. Not to mention a vegetarian, who has been into saving the animals and planet earth long before it was considered cool.

So many of the shows have been special; Red Square in Moscow. For that one, I’d travelled with friends, sans tickets. I don’t think there was any way to buy them outside of Russia, but I had a feeling it would all work out OK. And it did. About an hour after we’d paid some guy about $80 each for standing tickets waaaay towards the back section, one of Paul’s people spotted me with my (slightly) begging sign and asked if we would prefer ‘”these” tickets. “These” tickets being for the mosh pit. Right in the very front of the stage! It was a thrill to witness thousands and thousands of people singing along to every song, knowing most of the audience spoke very little English.

Putin was in attendance that evening. Actually, he arrived late, obligating Paul and his band to play ‘Back In The USSR’ for a second time that evening.

Seeing him play in Melbourne is always special to me. Being my hometown and all.

In the Paul fandom, we like to hold up signs for him to read. It’s become part of the show. He’s clocked many of mine, and even read some out, which is always a huge buzz. I’ve made friends all around the world because of Paul. We’re bonded by Macca. Some of them I’ve known since my late teens (and I’m in my fifties now!)

Paul is 80 on June 18. And he’s still great. When he announced an American tour earlier this year, I had to be there, so after many calls with my dear friend Tessa (we’d been in New York on 9/11 due to going to see Paul at a function. But that’s another story), we decided we were going to the first few shows. Tessa is a Seattlelite, so it was fortunate that the Got Back tour’s opening night was to be in Spokane, a mere five hour drive away (or six, if you somehow manage to throw your phone out of the window, going 70 MPH down some highway…).

To see him again, especially after more than two years of the pandemic, was a tonic indeed.

That’s the thing about Paul McCartney : he brings unbridled joy. To so many. To billions. Literally.

His shows are like religious experiences. There are people of all demographics, all cultures.

Paul looked great, sounded great, the band were great, everything was just …great. I saw the first six shows on this tour, from front row (Oakland) to the nosebleeds (Los Angeles).

They were all terrific, but I really like the front row best! Getting a wink or look of recognition from Paul is a high money just can’t buy!

And whilst I personally would love him to do a show for us die-hards, of pure deep cuts, it will never not move me to see kids decked out in Beatles tees with their dads and grandads all singing along to ‘Hey Jude’, or mum and her 9-year-old daughter’s delighted faces when the stage explodes for ‘Live And Let Die.’

Happy Birthday Paul. Thank you for the music and all the memories. My life wouldn’t be the same without you.

And, as I wrote on a sign once, thank you for being born.

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