On Sunday evening, July 31, I was driving in the car with my wife when I turned to her and whined, "If there's one thing that I could do this summer that's fun, it would be to go see Paul McCartney tomorrow night at Wrigley Field." I continued to whine, "But, we don't have tickets and we have to work Tuesday and tickets are so expensive. Damn, this sucks."
It did suck. It sucked reading the review on Monday morning in the Tribune. Not a bad word was written and McCartney performed something like 36 songs over a 3 hour concert. The guy is 69 years old! He took no breaks and rocked for 3 hours I read. I whined some more on the way to work that morning. "Man, I just wish we could see McCartney. Wouldn't that be awesome?"
My wife answered, "Yeah it would be awesome. But, you said that tickets are really expensive. Maybe you should just look into it." You know what makes a cool wife? Letting a husband whine, not getting angry or responding with testiness, and coming up with a positive suggestion or idea.
It also sucks to get to work and within minutes of starting the week, being forced to listen to an office loudmouth proclaim how great the McCartney concert was the night before. (Did you pick up on the Beatles pun right there?) Yep, she went to the concert and was playing Hey Jude that she recorded on her iPhone for anyone who walked by her cubicle to hear.
So, I tried to take my wife's advice and "look into" getting tickets. My way of looking into getting tickets to a popular event that is sold out or nearly sold out is to call my boy, JB. Even JB didn't have a good hook-up for McCartney tickets. "Dude, they want double face-value for tickets today." Forget it, I told him. But, a couple of questions. Why are the guys who have hook-ups for everything always known only by their initials? And, why do the same guys always say "dude" when they start a sentence? No matter, he didn't have the goods this time.
I had a meeting at 3 p.m. on Monday where I had to be serious and make a presentation to people who could help my employer with an important project. Waiting for the meeting to start, sitting in my own pool of cold sweat and self-induced nervousness, I surveyed the conference room. Faces were largely unrecognizable and the ubiquitous PowerPoint hung on the wall marred only by a poorly placed fire alarm.
As I reviewed my role in this meeting over in my head, I heard my name called from across the table. Our office's Chief Information Officer - the techno guru - was calling me over. Immediately, I thought, "What's wrong? No internet connection for the presentation? Servers are down? My PowerPoint section went blank?" Nope.
She was smiling as she whispered in my ear, "I was invited to a skybox for the McCartney concert tonight, but I have a meeting that just came up and that I absolutely have to go to. Do you and your wife want to go in my place?"
This isn't happening, I thought to myself. Things don't just fall into place like this. "Are you serious?" I asked. "Yeah. Can you go?" I want to tell you - no doubt.
Four hours later, after a quick run over to Old Navy to get shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops, we pulled up to Clark and Addison. The only problem, the parking lots are charging $80 to park for the concert. That's right, I said $80. But, because things seemed to be falling into place on the evening of August 1, 2011, I pulled around the corner onto Irving Park and found free and legal (yes, legal - I checked every sign for a block down the street) parking. Even a guy who parked in front of me commented, "This is too good to be true." He didn't know the half of it.
After a ten minute walk and a brief stop at Will-Call, we were in the Wrigley Field suite down the first base line, making our intros and enjoying a cold beverage.
While the lead-up to the concert makes for a great story, this was not a concert - it was an Experience. To someone who didn't grow up in the Beatles era, but who likes good music and did grow up in the Wings era (I"m sorry, but the 70's was probably the worst decade of popular music in the past 60), the show was almost indescribable. It was without a doubt the most entertaining, fulfilling and enjoyable show I have ever seen. (Although the Clash at the Aragon in 1983 was close.)
I have seen many concerts - from Bachman Turner Overdrive to Styx to the Rolling Stones; Creed, Aerosmith, Warren Zevon, Allman Brothers Band, Doobie Brothers, Marvin Gaye, Earth Wind & Fire - to name a few of the good ones. This was transcendent.
I kept asking myself will Paul McCartney ever perform here again? He is 69 years old. If you closed your eyes, you wouldn't know his age or whether or not the original Beatles were actually on the stage with him. He played for 3 hours and performed 36 songs. His band was incredible. He seemed to want to keep going even after the last 3-song encore. Each song was better than the one before and the one before was unimaginably great.
I'm not a music critic and I don't have enough music or instrumental knowledge to write a critical review. I do know a good time and I do have years of experience with good times and bad.
This was the best of times. It also goes to show that sometimes, when you may least expect it, luck or good fortune finds a way of tapping you on the shoulder.
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