Beatle Paisan

Friday, August 7, 2009

Paul McCartney at Fenway (August 5th, 2009) - A 45 Year Journey and it's impact.

I can't remember the exact year or grade it was when I brought The Beatles' 45 RPM "We Can Work It Out" to school for Show & Tell (I'm thinking it was 1970. I was seven years old). Being a hopeless Beatle Fan, I just had to share one of my favorite Beatle Songs with my class (being a chubby, large-nosed little guy, I wasn't exactly "Johnny Popularity"). Not that bringing in a five year-old song would heighten - create - my "cool factor" or anything. I just wanted to share my favorite music with kids I hoped would hear what I heard - Perfection. So I get to school, and my big moment arrives. I'm gonna slap that 45 on the classroom record player and play The Beatles! But when I reach into my bag to retrieve the record, it's not there. Immediately I begin to freak out on the inside. WHERE in God's name did my favorite 45 go? Needless to say, I wasn't "Showing or Telling" anything that day.

Fast-Forward to the end of the school day when I arrived at my bus stop. Just as the doors of the bus opened to let me out, I saw what I was hoping I wouldn't: a shattered 45 RPM of "We Can Work It Out" (with "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" on the flip side). Immediately, I began to sob (not a cool thing for a seven year-old boy to do in front of others). I felt like that record - shattered. Even at that early age, I felt a kinship with The Beatles. I had a loyalty to all four of them. Not being the most popular kid, I found solace and peace in The Beatles. I could listen to their music and be immediately elevated. There is an intangible magic to the way they wrote and recorded their music, played their instruments, the tonality and blending of their voices, George Martin's production, Norman "Hurricane" Smith's & Geoff Emerick's engineering...Everything. Like no other artists before or since, The Beatles were ordained by a higher power to change the way we listen to music, and the way we view the world in general.

Which leads me to an event of monumental proportions. Wednesday Night, August 5th, 2009, Paul McCartney took the stage at Fenway Park in Boston...and I was there.

I'd always wanted to see Paul in concert (the "Wings Over America" tour was something I REALLY wanted to witness. But being only 13 or 14 years old - and no one willing to take me - sigh....). I now know why it's taken me until I'm 46 years-old to see Paul McCartney: I wasn't meant to see him live without my daughter, Tess. She's been raised on Beatle music. She's my "Beatle Buddy". She can put most Beatle fans to shame when it comes to Beatle Trivia and musical nuances. WHO BETTER TO SEE PAUL McCARTNEY WITH THAN HER???

I fully expected to go bit off the deep-end at this show, but didn't. I suspect it was because I was seeing a "de facto" long, lost big brother" whom I've idolized for 45 years. Sounds off the wall, doesn't it? I never met the man (or any of The Beatles, for that matter). Yet, I feel more connected to them than my actual blood relatives (my daughter being the sole exception). What does that say about me?
Is it that I have so little to inspire me in my life that I look to a pop group that ceased to exist almost 40 years ago? No. I have a beautiful wife who feeds my soul in every way, and a child I'm absolutely crazy for.

Is it that I feel I might have wasted the musical talent I've possessed all my life? Possibly. I look at those "four guys" as being the ultimate capitalizers on their own God-Given Gifts. Were they the GREATEST musicians to walk the planet? No. But they sure as hell knew how to play their kind of music. Christ - they taught us all that there is always a new way to listen to something (let alone CREATE something)!

Is it that I looked upon those "four guys" as the ultimate friends? Definitely. The only two true, blue friends I've ever had in my entire life is my wife & daughter, and I say that with complete clarity and without remorse. The Beatles music, personalities. mindset, and overall mission has been a driving force in my life since 1965. They've never given me any grief, psychodrama, or upset. Sounds like the "Ultimate Friendship in absentia".

So what does all this psycho-babble bullshit have to do with the Paul McCartney show at Fenway? Well, I reckon it relates to the impact Paul (and John & George) had on my life. I've been an unapologetic Beatle Fan my whole life. That will never change.
Their music makes me happy. It makes my daughter, Tess, happy. My wife, Laurel, has really grown to seriously appreciate The Beatles (all it took was her to marry a complete Beatle-Idiot).

Some people thrive on religion. Others are Political Junkies. Others are rock fiends. Me? I'm a family man with a musical edge who loves The Beatles. Seeing Paul McCartney on Wednesday, August 5th, at Fenway Park was the culmination of 45 years of listening, learning, imagining, pondering & hoping. It was everything I hoped it would be and more.
My Daughter, Paul McCartney, a historic baseball park, an almost full moon on a beautiful Summer evening...

What's not to Love?

1 comment:

Robert said...

Ray,
This is one of the most beautiful pieces written about The Beatles, I've ever read. You were able to articulate what I have been feeling since 1963 and put it better than I could ever aspire.
My daughter, Kim, and I share the same appreciation for, and love of The Beatles, and their music as you and Tess!
There never was, nor will be a band such as this again.
Thanks,
Bobby Thomas