I am a person who likes things far too much, and few things show this more clearly than my love of the Beatles.
So when I recently had the opportunity to see Paul McCartney perform live, I knew it would be an experience I would never forget.
I’ve liked the Beatles since I was in my early teens, but I didn’t become a serious fan until my sophomore year of college. That year I got copies of all 13 albums and became obsessed.
My love for their music and the history behind it has probably reached an unhealthy level.
So when I heard that Sir Paul was going to be in Lincoln, Neb., where I went to college, I immediately texted my “Beatles buddy for life,” a friend in Kearney, Neb.
My friend’s response: “WE HAVE TO GO.”
I counted down the weeks. Then the days. By the time there were two days remaining, I started counting down by the hour.
I told anyone who would listen that there were only six days left. I probably drove everyone around me crazy with my constant chatter.
After what seemed like years, finally I was taking pictures by the Abbey Road street sign that had been placed outside the arena for the occasion.
We waited in our seats for 15 never-ending minutes before I heard screams. And then I saw Paul McCartney walk onto the stage.
It was surreal to see a living legend standing there. I cheered with the other 11,000 people as he opened with “Eight Days a Week.”
My friend burst into tears the moment she saw him, but I held it together until the third song.
Paul broke into “All My Loving,” and I lost it. It’s one of my favorite early Beatles songs, and I think it’s one of his songwriting gems.
I heard the original voice singing this adorable love song, and something came over me. I listened with tears in my eyes because I couldn’t believe it was really happening.
That was the first moment when I truly realized that the person who had helped create so many of the songs that mean the world to me was the same person playing them in front of me.
My most distinct memory is when the back-up band left and Paul was standing alone on the stage with an acoustic guitar. I knew that “Blackbird” — quite possibly my favorite Beatles song — was one of the few he could be playing.
He told how the song was inspired by violence in the South in the ‘60s. I knew from that story which song he was going to sing.
Hearing the opening chords of “Blackbird,” I started crying again, listening to that voice sing that beautiful song. I will cherish that memory for the rest of my life.
Too soon (even though the concert lasted nearly three hours), after “Live and Let Die,” complete with explosions, flames and fireworks, Paul sat at the piano and started “Hey Jude.” Knowing he usually ends his shows with that, my friend turned to me and said, “I don’t want it to be over!”
I didn’t either, but we sang our “na nas” with the crowd and she said, “We’re singing with a Beatle.”
It was another surreal moment and made it even sadder when he left the stage. Luckily, he played, not one, but two encores, including two of his other classics, “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Yesterday,” both of which also brought tears.
He returned to the piano and said, “There comes a point when we have to leave.
‘That’s about the same time that you have to leave,’ he added with a smile.
He played the final song, “Golden Slumbers/ Carry That Weight/The End,” and we had to join the line filing out.
A woman who had been sitting behind us told my friend and me, “Watching you guys was almost as entertaining as the show.”
I guess we were pretty enthusiastic. It was the best compliment she could have paid us.
I left the arena already wishing that I could relive the night again and again. To see one of the biggest rock stars ever to live, someone whose music is so important to me, is something I wish I could have permanently tattooed in my memory.