|If you get to only one concert this year, make it Paul McCartney's Driving USA Tour!
To begin, I'm horribly afraid of heights and the MCI Center in Washington D.C. is very vertical -- fantastic for the view, but hard for us acrophobics to walk nearly straight up to find seats not quite at the uppermost back wall, but close. Keeping myself from looking downward more than necessary, while sitting and waiting for the concert to start, I made my husband talk about anything as a distraction.
But it was hard not to look down toward the stage that Sir Paul would shortly fill with his presence and his music. My first concert in an arena in 15 years, this one had drawn me out of concert-hibernation when others hadn't. I've always loved Paul. When the lady beside me asked if I was old enough to remember them (The Beatles), I had to shake my head, being born in the midst of their heyday, but I remembered him with Wings! And of course, I know The Beatles' music.
The show was phenomenal! I had to keep telling myself I was actually seeing the legend and wasn't in the middle of a dream. It had everything -- Beatles, Wings, Solos, Acoustic, Theatre, Light Show ... just incredible. I found myself wishing I could share it with those I know would love to have been there, but couldn't be. The photography on the background screens was perfectly done, adding to the emotionalism of the scenario and the music. The crowd was polite and appreciative, raising tiny lights into the air during "Let It Be," cheering furiously at the beginning strains of their favorites, such as "Band on the Run" and two of my personal faves, "Hey, Jude" and "Maybe I'm Amazed" ... standing for the tribute to victims of 9/11, "Freedom." (Side note: Sir Paul donated over 100 tickets to family members of victims.)
After three standing ovations, including two encores, Paul McCartney left the stage with the appearance of a man who has not let the fame go to his head. He was real, genuine, appreciative of his audience, waving thanks. I was sorry to see it end and glad to know I would always have the memory -- and the T-shirts.
Leaving the MCI center, my husband and I walked down a few blocks to find the car. On our way, we passed a wall of the Smithsonian Art Museum. It has been painted and autographed in memorial to 9/11 victims: even more touching after leaving the McCartney concert, full of upbeat, positive messages about peace and getting along. With "Let It Be" and "Freedom" running through my head as I studied the wall, Paul's words still echoed:
"We're all in this together."
This is a concert that goes beyond the music. Get to it if at all possible.
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