Shout-out to the Dude Next to Me at the Paul McCartney Concert

On Aug 12, 2010, a major item on my bucket list was checked ✔ off.

I still can’t believe it was 11 years ago I attended what was one of the best concerts I had ever been to. Ok I am biased. To me, Paul McCartney is in a superior class all by himself. I enjoyed his Beatle years as much as those with Wings and as a solo artist. So when I found out he was going on tour and coming to Montreal, I jumped at the opportunity, thinking this may be my last chance to see the living legend. McCartney was 68 at the time and I foolishly thought his touring days were numbered which of course I now know I was completely wrong. He is every bit as vibrant and sharp and youthful today at 79 years young, as he was that night when he sang in his trademark melodic voice to a sold out crowd at the Bell Centre.

My only dilemma is that, apart from one friend who was not available the night of the concert, there wasn’t anybody else I knew who was as big of a fan and who was willing to pay the big bucks to get decent seats. No way I was going to see McCartney from the “nosebleeds” high up in the rafters, regardless of how many video screens were installed. I decided to go solo and treated myself to a floor seat about 20 rows from the stage. It was a dream come true.

It turned out I had the best time, largely because I met some pretty cool people seated on either side of me – a girl to my left who also was by herself and told me that she was a mega fan, having already seen McCartney in Ottawa and Toronto a few days before… basically a groupie?? but I didn’t dare ask. She was nice enough to give me a rundown of his set list and his entire life story. TMI if I’m being honest. It was like listening to McCartney’s authorized biographer but she was sweet so hey, gotta roll with it. To my right was a guy with his girlfriend enjoying a date night I guess. I’ll call him “Dude” for the sake of brevity. (You’ll see why later). He was funny and engaging and was probably wondering why I was there alone. Little did that matter because me and the 3 amigos hit it off, singing along to Hey Jude and Back in the USSR lol!

At this point, I was thinking – ok I got this!

During the 2 hour-plus extravaganza, McCartney enthralled us with hit after hit. It was at times both euphoric and emotional, with tributes to John Lennon and George Harrison, and his own incredible catalogue of unforgettable classics.

Throughout the show, I snapped some pics even though I knew this was not allowed. Cmon how many of us have not done it? In the era of smartphones, it is practically a no-brainer. Plus I needed a lasting memory like this gem:

 Or this….

 Or maybe this??

Ok I’ll explain. During the concert, Security kept roaming the pathway behind us as we were in the last row of that section, which it turned out didn’t work to our advantage.  “Dude” spontaneously asks me if I wanted to have my picture taken while standing on my seat, with my back to the stage and McCartney as a larger-than-life figure projected on giant video screen. I loved the idea. No sooner did I hop up to take position that the security guard came by to give us a warning. “Dude” managed to quickly snap the pic but it was underexposed because we were rudely interrupted! (That’s me to the left). Ah so close but no money shot! Kept thinking that if we were seated a few rows up we wouldn’t have gotten nabbed. Anyway I still cherish that pic however dark and blurry it is because it was taken in the spirit of pure, unadulterated joy by a kind stranger. At the end, we all parted ways and promised to keep in touch.

Fast forward to 11 years later, and Dude (and his now wife) are my friends. We DID keep in touch and get together with our families every now and then, forever bonded over that incredible night.

By the way, I still call him “Dude”.

One thought on “Shout-out to the Dude Next to Me at the Paul McCartney Concert

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