Tag Archives: Paul McCartney

Rebirth

For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity. ~William Penn

As someone who in intrigued by the concept of memory and remembering, it was fascinating to see the diverse commemorations concerning the ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedies. Like many people, I remember where I was and what I was doing as the events unfolded, as disbelief stole across the nation.

I purposely tried to avoid the news programs and specials which endlessly replayed the footage. I saw it then, watched it happen, and don’t care to see that part again. But I was taken in by some of the interviews and documentaries that came about because of this particular anniversary year. A decade is, in most respects, a long time, a well-rounded period allowing for the settling and shifting of history and remembrance. Though the losses can never be replaced, holes never filled, ten years provides a distance to see how (or if, I suppose) the remembering changes.

Two documentaries in particular did catch my attention, primarily because of their particular slant. The first was a documentary following Paul McCartney in the days after the attack, The Love We Make. As he explains in the opening sequence, he was on the tarmac at JFK, preparing to return to London to celebrate some family birthdays when the captain announced that they were temporarily delayed due to an accident. McCartney said those on one side of the plane could easily see the first tower smoking. Then they watched the plane go into the second tower. The documentary then shadows him around New York as he worked to help put together the Concert For America in October 2011. Fascinating footage, not only about New York in the first weeks following the attack, but also an inside look at being a celebrity — some of the scenes where he gets inundated with fans were particularly eerie. The clips with celebrities of every ilk – music, political, Hollywood – were engaging. As my husband noted, no matter who came to talk to him, you could tell they were all a little awe-struck at talking to *McCartney* the legend. Having just seen him in concert, I can believe that.

The other documentary I watched was one called Rebirth. Project Rebirth tags itself as “A Living History of the Human Spirit Coping With Disaster.” The project uses time-lapse photography to document the changing landscape at Ground Zero since March 2002. In the film, which premiered on Showtime yesterday, the project team not only captures the continuous changes to the physical landscape, but also sets out to explore the emotional landscape of five individuals. The team interviewed each of these individuals once a year, every year, for the next nine years. The film is intense, no doubt about it, but what emerges is that same sense of hope, of recovery, that dominated the American spirit on November 12, 2001 – the sure sense that America and its people would recover, together.

Personally, I think one of the greatest tragedies was the lost opportunity to build on that sense of unity, to rebuild American spirit as the diversely unified country that existed in those moments, to compromise and come together to build a better world, instead of the insanely divided mentality that dominates these days. It goes beyond politics and red and blue states and politicians to encompass the choices we make, the steps we take.

I just think we could have done so much better with the opportunity. I think those lost deserved better than the decade that followed.

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Monday Moments: McCartney, Baby

I don’t take me seriously. If we get some giggles, I don’t mind.
~ Paul McCartney

There are some things in life you do just because. Getting the opportunity to see a living legend, to spend a moment with living history, is one of those things.

Last Thursday night, my husband and I, along with some friends, went to Cincinnati to see Paul McCartney in concert.

Yeah, baby….. McCartney. (If you want to catch the opening number, it’s available on YouTube, as are clips from nearly every song he performed.)

The Fab Four arriving at Lunken Airport, Cincinnati, August 1964 (Courtesy of Dayton Daily News Collection, Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University)

Now, I do like the Beatles. Not in the scream-my-head-off 1960s fandom kind of liking the Beatles, but I have some of their tunes on the iPod. And, yes, a few Wings songs made it on there, too. I love music, have it on around me as much as I can. Keep a playlist going for writing, different tunes for a.m. and p.m. writing, for different moods. I have my old original iPod mini at work, and my iPhone with me, and iTunes at home, all chock-full of tunes. I’ve kept my playlist organizational habit controlled — there are only 18 lists on the iPhone. (Ok, it helps that I don’t have to create a separate playlists for specific artists or albums — that cut out a lot of my original lists.)

But I’m a hard sell to get to a concert. These days, they certainly aren’t inexpensive. And I’m not fond of crowds. Or full parking lots. If I like some singer or band’s music, I buy it, but even as a teenager, I never felt the driving need to go see even my most favorite artist in concert. Plays, theater, heck yes. Concerts? Meh, not so much.

So when my husband first proposed that we go see Paul McCartney, I was skeptical.

Why?

“Because,” he said, “the guy’s a living legend.”

Important, critical pause.

“Hon, the guy was a frickin’ Beatle.”

Ok. He knows me well. So off to see McCartney we went.

View from our seats

And it was fab-u-lous! The music was amazing. He played a 3-hour concert, no intermission, with 2 full-set encores. Not bad for a 69-year-old.

And he’s still quite handsome! He started the evening in a red jacket –“For playing in the home of the Reds,” he said.

That didn’t last long – it was August in Ohio. But the evening was beautiful, milder temperatures than we had experienced in weeks, with a cool breeze blowing in off the nearby river. He shed the jacket, claiming it would be the only wardrobe change of the evening, and spent the rest of the time in black pants, white shirt, and black suspenders. Yowza!

But the best part? Like in his quote above, he never took himself too seriously. He had fun, you could see it on his face. He told stories, shared songs, and showed videos across the backdrop full of old pictures and film clips. He moved with an unselfconscious grace.

And his voice is as gorgeous as ever. Whether singing with the entire band and back-ups or just him with a piano or ukulele, it’s still drop-dead awesome. (Um, yeah, I said ukulele…. here’s the clip where he plays “Something” in Cincinnati). Turns out it was the last night of the tour before they went “on holiday.”

So pop in your favorite McCartney tune today and feel free to sing along, out loud! Let ’em hear you! It’s Monday, after all.

What’s your favorite McCartney/Beatles tune?

The best concert you ever went to?

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