I went to Lollapalooza yesterday. Lolla is a three-day music festival in Grant Park that thousands of people flock to each summer. The heat and the crowds are not very appealing to me, but I went this year because none other than Sir Paul McCartney was headlining.
Christina and I waited in the sun for hours at the main stage. We saw some really cool bands – one woman called SZA (pronounced like sizz-ah) who was really cute. The Cold War Kids and Alabama Shakes put on great shows. And we were delighted by a British band called Glass Animals we hadn’t heard before.
The only reason we saw these bands though, is that I am a crazy person and insisted on not giving up a spot at the stage where Sir Paul was playing. That meant we went to the bathroom and to get food and drinks in shifts. We also aggressively guarded a towel we would sit on whenever there was a break in the crowds.
Towards the evening, though, there was no chance to sit. There was barely room to move. A bunch of frat stars kept encroaching on our space and one even got in my face when I let him know politely that we were not pleased with the way he kept shoving us. But I was determined. By 7:45 we were hot, sweaty, dirty, and thirsty. But we were close to the stage. And then Paul McCartney came on.
It’s hard to describe what it feels like to see someone like him. I grew up on his music, it’s been a major part of my life. I have tons of fun memories of driving with my brother and belting out Beatles songs (we do the harmonies). And I just finished reading a huge biography called The Beatles a couple months ago, so I felt I had even more insight to this person.
I know I don’t actually know him and never will, but seeing Paul McCartney was like seeing an old friend. Whenever he did the little Beatles head shake or bowed at the waist (which he did after a ton of songs, it was really cute), it was like recognizing a friend’s mannerisms. And when he spoke to the crowd he was just so goddamned charming.
I only cried when he played Here Today. And Something on the ukelele as a tribute George Harrison. And a little during Maybe I’m Amazed.
But here are some of the songs he did:
Magical Mystery Tour (opener)
Let Me Roll It (I mean, come, on, this is a great song!)
And I Love Her
Maybe I’m Amazed
I’ve Just Seen a Face
Something (my favorite love song and possible favorite Beatles song)
Can’t Buy Me Love
Back in the USSR
Band on the Run
Let It Be
Live and Let Die (complete with pyrotechnics and fireworks)
Helter Skelter (!!!)
and the end of the Abbey Road Medley.
The last words he sang were: “And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
I’m proud that I didn’t sob through the whole thing.
He still sounds great. He still plays with amazing energy. He still clearly loves to get a crowd worked up. He’s a hero.
I will never forget seeing him.