Seeing Sir Paul with his No. 1 fan (my daughter)
Last updated 6/15/2022 at 3:19pm | View PDF
We'd read the reviews of the concert. Perused the set list. Compulsively checked the Baltimore forecast on our phones' weather app (which at one point was calling for thunderstorms!).
And then, before we knew it, Dan, Ainsley, my birth mom and I were sitting in Orioles Park at Camden Yards, waiting for Paul McCartney to take the stage.
I have always been more of a Rolling Stones fan, but Ainsley has loved the Beatles ever since she discovered Channel 18 on Sirius XM. She's watched their movies. Read books about them. Played their albums on the turntable in her bedroom.
"This is the only thing on my bucket list," she told us on the short walk from our hotel to the ballpark, where a giant poster of Sir Paul observed our approach.
We found our seats, decided the line for a concert tee was too long and bought some pizza slices. When a DJ came out to play Beatles hits from 7:30 to 8 p.m., the excitement began to build. By the time a 30-minute audio-visual retrospective came to a close at 8:30, the anticipation was palpable.
I looked at Ainsley when Paul finally came out on stage and tears were streaming down her face. I glanced back at the stage and by the time my gaze returned to her, she was so overcome with emotion, she was practically sobbing. Her tears soon made way for a giant grin that lasted most of the two hour and 45 minute concert - her first.
My birth mother, Pat, who lives on Maryland's Eastern Shore, made the two-hour drive to join us. She's been waiting to see Paul McCartney since a friend invited her to a Beatles concert in Cleveland in 1964 and her parents wouldn't let her go. I think she was almost as excited as Ainsley.
I can count on one hand the big stadium concerts I've been to - REO Speedwagon, Whitney Houston, The Rolling Stones and Journey. The Escape Tour was my first concert, and the way things worked out, I got paid for a babysitting job my mom did for me while I was at the Rosemont Horizon. I thought that took the cake as a first concert experience.
Now I know better.
It seems cruel to tell a 13-year-old that she's most likely just seen the best concert she will ever see in her life. But I think it's probably true.
McCartney has eight No. 1 hits he didn't even play during the tour, according to Jed Gottlieb, who wrote a review of the Fenway Park concerts for the Boston Herald.
"McCartney gets an absurd amount of respect. He might deserve a bit more," Gottlieb wrote.
Obviously he has
not met Ainsley.
Her favorite numbers were "Live and Let Die" (thumbs up to the fireworks and pyrotechnics on stage) and "Golden Slumbers."
She also enjoyed seeing in person the singer whom she (half) jokingly refers to as her boyfriend and whom she rates as a "300" on a hotness scale of 1 to 10.
"Are you actually adding that?" she asked me during a brief interview Tuesday night. "You should!"
I asked her if she thought it was strange for her to rate the hotness of a man who was a heartthrob for her grandmother.
"Umm, yeah," she admitted.
But she had that giant smile on her face again. And then she broke into a rendition of "Maybe I'm Amazed," complete with choreography.
I loved seeing Paul McCartney. But watching Ainsley see Paul McCartney was even better.
- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected]