Thursday, May 24, 2012

29 of 30:The One About Paul McCartney at the Royal Albert Hall

Part Two of “When I Held Out For My Hero

"What are we going to wear?” was the first question I asked L, after I had given myself a few hours to breathe and calm down. I had just met my favorite person in the world, Danny Wallace, and he had given Lea and myself free tickets to see Paul McCartney at the Royal Albert Hall that night, so it took a few hours to get my bearings. (Read previous blog post here) Sir Paul McCartney is a living BEATLE after all… and I LOVE The Beatles. 

 L and I were wandering around Covent Garden, window shopping for an attire befitting a location that had the word “Royal” in it. I had never been to the Royal Albert Hall before, but have heard of it of course. Most recently through Adele who released a DVD of a concert she held there. All I knew was that it was a grand and magnificenent venue, and we wanted to look our best for it!

Then I remembered I didn’t have any money.

Oh well! My first name is “Lady”, and in my opinion, that alone is royal enough for any occasion, no matter what the attire!

We wore our best clothes available, hopped on the tube and off we went!

Outside the Royal Albert Hall
The venue didn’t disappoint. The Royal Albert Hall is every bit as grand as it sounds! Located in the heart of the South Kensington estate in London, Prince Albert’s little building is as grandiose as it is beautiful. That day in particular was the 141st year anniversary of the day it was opened by Queen Victoria herself! What are the odds, right?
We knew right away that Sir Paul’s performance was going to be a celebrity magnet right when we saw Corey Feldman hanging about. L was really excited to see him. I think she fancies him.

We went inside, got ourselves a ridiculously expensive drink, and settled into our seats.

Soon after, Sir Paul came out looking as hip as ever! He didn’t have an opening act --- he just dove right into playing!

OK – admittedly, I was a little apprehensive about the concert because I don’t know any of Paul McCartney’s songs as a solo artist. I just thought – “Hey, this is a free ticket at an incredible venue, I’m going to make the most out of it.”
But then he started playing all these Beatles songs and just ROCKED every single one of them! 80% of the songs he sang that night were BEATLES! And he played the really popular classic ones too, like “Hey Jude”, “Here Comes The Sun”, “Blackbird”, “All My Lovin’”, “Yesterday”, “Let it Be”… Oh my God, L and I were screaming like 12 year old girls in a Backstreet Boys concert, singing our hearts out!

It has to be said… Paul McCartney is one groovy grandpa! What is he – 80? And he’s STILL got it! His voice really strong, his moves – like Jagger, and his wit – still in tact! We were very very impressed.

But I couldn’t help but get distracted by the dude sitting next to me though. He kept scribbling notes into his little note pad. Curiosity got the best of me (like it always does) and I poked him on the shoulder to ask him if he was a writer. Turns out he was a journalist writing a review for the Evening Standard, a London newspaper, and it was due the next day.


“You’re writing a good review, right?” I asked.
“Oh of course,” he said. “And in this industry, there are just some people you don’t diss. Sir Paul McCartney is one of them. Look at him! He’s a legend!”

I had to agree. The old man can rock.

(We found his article online the next day. Read it here)

It was so great to see him perform live, telling us stories about his hey day as a Beatle… It even got a little emotional when he talked about John Lennon before singing “Here Today”, a song he wrote for him.
My faaavorite part was when he talked about George Harrison. He said something like, “You all know that George was an excellent ukulele player, right?” Then he whipped out a uke!! Eeeeeeeee!!!
He said he went to George’s trailer one time, and said – “Hey George! Guess what? I’ve learned one of your songs on the ukulele! Wanna hear?” Then everyone went wild as he strummed the first few chords of the song, “Something”.


But wait – there’s more!

At the end of the evening, he called some of his “friends” to jam with him on stage. Pretty soon, he was joined by Paul Weller, Ronnie Wood and Roger Daltrey for an encore of the song, “Get Back!”
I have to admit, because my rock knowledge is very limited, I had to rely on L to educate me on who they were. My jaw dropped when she said, “Ronnie Wood is from the Rolling Stones, Roger Daltrey is from The Who, and Paul Weller is like a famous musician who plays with different bands.”

We just looked at each other, wide-eyed and in awe. There was a Beatle, a Who and a Stone onstage at the Royal Albert Hall on its 141st year anniversary, and we were now and forever, irrevocably part of history. 

A Beatle, A Who, A Stone, and .. a Weller.
Photo by C Boland
At that moment, I said a silent “Thank you,” to Danny Wallace, my very generous sponsor for the evening. I woke up that day only with the intention and the hope of meeting my favorite author. I end up not only meeting him, but I got to confirm all the reasons why he was my hero in the first place, AND got the chance to experience an epic night of music from - not one, but several musical legends, in one of the most beautiful and historically royal venues in London.

Sandra Bullock was right. Life doesn’t always turn out the way you planned. It’s even better.
I thought about that while I was sleeping. :)

I woke up the next day to Danny Wallace’s voice on the radio. His breakfast show on XFM has started, another day has begun. Then my ears perked up when I heard him say something that sounded a little too familiar.

“…heroes. Who’s your hero? Have you ever met your hero? Have any good stories to tell? Text us! Call us! We want to hear all about them!”

I grabbed my phone, and I smiled. :)

L and I. ☺