As you’ve probably gathered by now I’m the resident Paul McCartney fan on this here blog, and yesterday something awesome happened – I got to watch Paul’s concert for Jimmy Kimmel Live just thirty feet away from the stage!
This time last week I had no idea that I’d get to see a Paul McCartney concert – or even that there would be one in Los Angeles – and I was pretty bummed about it. Paul’s been touring the U.S.A. all year, but for some reason he’s played every city but Los Angeles.
But then last week I was reading a film and television news website and saw an article about Jimmy Kimmel. Now I don’t know what possessed me to read it since I don’t really watch Kimmel, but I’m glad I did because it mentioned that he was kicking off his new season with two concerts on Hollywood Boulevard – one by Justin Timberlake, the other by Paul – and that you could enter a lottery to win free tickets!
Surprised, I visited some of my favorite Paul McCartney websites (yes, I’m a nerd who visits Paul McCartney websites), but none of them had any news about the concert. I quickly entered myself and Heather into the lottery (which was ending in just a couple days) and crossed my fingers that the concert would stay on the down-low so I’d have a chance to win.
Luckily for me, news of the concert still hadn’t really gotten out there by the time the lottery ended and Heather won free tickets! I was super stoked even though thousands of other people won tickets, meaning we’d more than likely be pretty far away from the stage.
A couple days later, though, Heather forwarded me an email she got that said, “Congratulations! Your Tickets Have Been Upgraded To Priority!”
I stared at it in shock. “How? Why? What? I don’t -”
“Breathe, big fella,” she said. “Just breathe.”
I wasn’t sure how much better “priority” tickets would be, but I was excited to find out.
Upon arriving at Hollywood Boulevard we met up with Heather’s cousin, Tia Leah, and her fiancee, Ted. Since Ted is a huge fan of Paul like me, Heather decided to let him have her “priority” ticket. Yeah, my wife is pretty awesome like that. We then checked in and were placed in a holding pen with a lot of other people.
The hour and a half we waited there had it’s highlights and lowlights:
Highlight – getting to hear Paul and his band soundcheck in the distance and play songs he wouldn’t perform that night like “Coming Up” and “Drive My Car.”
Lowlight – the debilitating heat that caused a couple people around us to pass out and be taken off on stretchers.
Finally, an usher came and told those of us with “priority” bracelets to follow him. To my shock he lead us all the way to the front of the stage!!!! (Yes, that called for four exclamation marks).
My excitement, however, was dampened a little by the realization that we still had three hours to wait until the concert. That’s right. Three more hours. And since everyone was pushing to be as close to the stage as possible, we couldn’t leave our primo spot without risking losing it.
At first I was like, “Pfft. I can stand three more hours to see Paul. Heck, I would stand ten hours to be this close to the stage!” But then I realized how thirsty I was from standing in the sun for that hour and a half and three hours suddenly sounded like a really long time.
Heather and Leah, meanwhile, found that being further back in general admission wasn’t so bad because it meant they could slip out to grab food and drinks without losing their spot. When I sent Heather a text complaining about how thirsty I was, she sent this photo:
I don’t think she appreciated the photo I’d texted her earlier:
One way I passed the time was with my phone, and when Paul’s guitarist, Brian Ray, tweeted about getting ready for the concert, I tweeted back that I was in front of the stage and excited. Ted called me a nerd, but who was a nerd when this happened?
Three hours later my feet and back were throbbing when Paul and Jimmy taped the comedy bit to the start the show on top of the building:
After that they filmed us cheering about ten times in a row (shots they used on the broadcast when coming back from commercials), and told us to act super excited when they filmed the songs for the show. (Like that would be hard.)
Finally… after four hours of standing around… Paul and his band climbed on-stage! I suddenly didn’t mind my aching back, feet, and parched throat. This was my next hour and ten minutes:
I’m still not sure why we were bumped up to “priority,” but I’m thankful as tonight was an incredible once in a lifetime experience. I could see Paul as plainly as if he were across the room from me (as opposed to a distant figure on-stage as he has been at previous concerts), and could even make out his fingers as he played the notes on his bass guitar. My feet and back may still ache, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.