My husband John and I have been Beatles fans since we were kids back in the 1970s. That infatuation extended to Paul McCartney & Wings and then later to Paul McCartney as a solo act. When the Paul McCartney World Tour was announced in 1989, we knew that if he was performing anywhere in the Midwest, we were going to be there.
Luckily for us, McCartney scheduled shows at the Rosemont in Chicago for December 3, 4 and 5, 1989. As soon as you could get on the phone and try to order tickets, we were on it. There was one glitch — you had to pay for the tickets with a credit card. John and I were all of 28 and 27 years old at that point, with three children ages 4, 3 and 7 months, and as poor as church mice. We didn’t even have a credit card. Luckily, my dad was willing to put the tickets on his card so we got seats.
We felt so grateful to be able to actually see Paul McCartney perform live, even if he was just a speck on the stage since we were so far up in the stands. After all, he was 47 years old and it could have been his very last tour for all we knew.
Fast forward 30 years, and John and I now are the parents of four children, grandparents of six, and have built a comfortable life for ourselves. In the last three decades we saw Sir Paul in concert a total of six times (twice in Chicago, twice in Milwaukee, once in Minneapolis and once in Columbus, Ohio).
The concert in Columbus was so special for us because we got to attend with our three daughters and our son-in-law. Our son and his wife had the chance to see Paul live at a concert in Milwaukee the previous year, so that meant that all of our children got to experience the performance of a living legend.
Every concert we saw was amazing, no doubt about it. As life got even better for us, we were able to afford nicer seats. When the folks at Lambeau Field announced that the Paul McCartney Freshen Up Tour would be stopping there in June of 2019, I knew it was time to experience the ultimate rock show. John and I pulled the trigger Christmas of 2018 and purchased the VIP Hot Sound Package. I would finally be able to check off one of the top items on my bucket list — to be so close to the stage when Paul was performing that I could see him sweat!
Who cares that the tickets cost more than our first car! This was the chance of a lifetime! In the days leading up to the concert on June 12, I couldn’t even believe that we were actually going to be VIPs at Sir Paul’s concert, get to hang out in the VIP lounge, attend a private pre-concert concert, i.e., sound check with about 200 other McCartney ultra fans, be a guest at a vegetarian buffet that would rival any non-vegetarian food out there, and have seats front and center in row 8 for the concert!
The night turned out to be everything I hoped for and more. To start, it was the most beautiful summer weather Wisconsin has to offer, it was absolutely perfect! Add to that, there’s nothing nicer than being treated like a VIP! The sound check was outstanding, especially hearing the hard-rocking Drive My Car and watching Paul chum around with the rest of his mates in the band.
There is something to be said about the mystique of Lambeau Field. This was my husband’s perspective: “I imagined I was Aaron Rodgers looking up at a full stadium of people. Who gets to stand in the middle of Lambeau Field with the stands packed and experience the unbelievable energy in that historic stadium?”
One of our favorite things was talking to the other VIPs. We met a lady from Chicago who had seen the Beatles live twice, saw Paul McCartney & Wings in concert, yet had never seen Paul perform his solo act. There was a gentleman who has a hobby of traveling all over the world to be a VIP at Paul’s concerts, this was no. 35 for him. There were people of all ages hanging out with us that day. McCartney fans come in all ages, races and nationalities.
As for the concert itself, it was one big love fest! It didn’t matter what anyone’s background was, what their political stance was, what kind of life they lived outside those stadium walls. The attitude was, “If you’re a friend of Paul McCartney’s, you’re a friend of mine.” The camaraderie was palpable — there was such a magnetic energy that filled Lambeau Field that night.
Paul — we’re on a first-name basis now — knocked it out of the park! He sang for three hours with no breaks and covered everything from pre-Beatles songs to The Beatles, Paul McCartney & Wings, and his solo career which has spanned from the 1970s until today. My favorite songs from that night were: Maybe I’m Amazed, A Hard Day’s Night, Junior’s Farm, All My Loving, Let Me Roll It, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five, From Me to You, Love Me Do, Blackbird, Lady Madonna, Band on the Run, Back in the U.S.S.R., Live and Let Die, Birthday, Helter Skelter, Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, and The End. His voice has certainly aged through the years but it was magical to the ears of the 60,000-plus people with their cell phones lit up, swaying back and forth in unison, and singing for all they were worth.
My concert life is now complete. Sure, I still plan to go to local concerts and maybe see some more well-known singers or bands in concert, but my ultimate wish list has been fulfilled thanks to Sir Paul. It’s a night that we and our tens of thousands of new BFFs will always remember.