Saturday, 11 February 2012

Mostly Macca

I've been trying to figure out where I left off in 2010 with my story-telling here, and it seems like it was sometime around June.  Some of the events I know I talked about, like the Famous Alva Highland Games, but at least one very big event I somehow missed.  Maybe I needed more time to calm down from it before I wrote about it?  I'm not sure.  Either way, this is where I'll start:  Paul McCartney in Glasgow, with Paige.  You can see the photos here, under the 'Pictures and Videos' tab, in the albums labelled 'June' and 'Macca'. 

It was the second annual summer concert spectacular for Paige and I.  We'd seen U2 in Dublin the year before, as you might remember (it's not like talked about it very much, ha).  I can't remember why, but I hadn't bought tickets for Macca early-- it might have been something to do with finishing my thesis and all that being up in the air, but I'm not sure now.  Anyway, as it drew nearer, and as Paige was still in town, I decided I couldn't live without trying to go see him for the third time.  So I asked Paige if she'd be interested (and really, why wouldn't she be?) and she said YES!  Because everyone should see a Beatle live if they get a chance.  And we had a chance, because I found some nice tickets on eBay, and got 'em.  So. Excited! 

I got all packed up and headed to meet Paige in Alva for the first night.  It was the first trip for my wee traveling companion, Amoose Bouche.  I was going to be staying in Alva after Paige left for America, in order to do all those other things I wrote about earlier, so it was nice to drop my bags off first.   Things were off to a good start, and we got a good start the next day.  We caught the train to Glasgow, where we were going to be staying with my friend Liam, who was a fellow PhD.  It was very kind of him and his flatmate to put us up (put up with us?) for the night so we didn't have to pay for accomodation.  Finding the right train and then the right building to arrive at the right flat to leave all our stuff took longer than we expected, but luckily Liam came to our rescue and found us at the station, walking us back to his place.  I hadn't seen him in a while, since he'd moved to Glasgow, and Paige had heard about but never met him.  Sadly, we had to drop our stuff and dash in order to get to Hampden Park on time.  So we visitied briefly, dropped our stuff and dashed, making sure we had their numbers so we could get back to the right place later that night. 

There were loads of people streaming into Hampden, as one would expect for a Macca concert.  Our seats were on the floor, off to the right.  They weren't U2 good, but they weren't bad at all.  We were a little late, so we missed most of the opening act-- I honestly can't even remember who it was.  A girl.  Honestly, I couldn't be bothered.  I was just glad to be there in time.  We were on the end of a row, which was nice.  There were loads of different types of people around-- people our age, people our parents' age, people with wee ones.  It was quite an atmosphere;  the older couple across the aisle just in front of us had been drinking (a lot) and were quite enjoying themselves-- singing and dancing and having a ball.  It was hilarious, yet endearing.  I watched them a good bit during the evening, partly because they were in my line of sight and partly because they were so entertaining in themselves. 

The show itself was amazing.  Of course it was.  Sir Paul is an entertainer;  it's just who he is.  Everyone sang along, on pretty much every song.  I don't think we sat down hardly at all.  We laughed and swayed and just soaked it all up.  Somehow he makes you feel like it's just a small friendly gathering, sitting around the campfire kind of vibe.  There are the showy elements, of course, with the pyrotechnics and videos and such, but Macca himself just seems to have so darn much fun that everyone else does, too.  I think he loves us being there as much as we do.  It was my third time to see him (April 2002 in DC, October 2002 in New Orleans, and June 2010 in Glasgow-- a nice combination), and I do hope I get to add more to that.  As long as he keeps touring, I'll keep going to see him.  Even though he does most of the same songs, they're the songs everyone wants to hear.  And he has a big enough body of work to switch things up some, so it's never exactly the same.  But people go because they love the music, and that's what he gives us-- great music. 

After the show, we left with the thousands of other people to catch the trains back into the city centre so we could get home.  They were running special ones, I think, to accomadate our numbers, and we finally got on.  We got one stop down, however, and everything shut down.  The train just went dark, and we had no announcements to tell us when or if we might be moving again.  It was packed in there, too-- so many people, all of whom had just come from the show.  That might be a recipe for short tempers and annoyance, except that it didn't work out that way.  From somewhere behind me, someone started singing (rather drunkenly, but not at all badly) Hey Jude, I think it was.  You could see people glancing at each other, not sure what to do.  Some were giggling, some were confused, some were just waiting to see what happened next. 

What happened next was that someone else joined in, then someone else, and then someone else.  When the song ended, another was started.  And before we knew it, our whole train carriage was giggling and singing along to whatever Beatles or Macca song someone was brave enough to pipe up with in the lulls.  It was, actually, quite breath-taking;  in an odd way, it was a taste of the Kingdom of Heaven for me.  Not that there is anything inherently religious about Beatles songs, and as much as I love Sir Paul he is not deserving of worship-- but to have a bunch of people, from all different ages, races, backgrounds, all joining together, raising our voices and sharing this profound moment of togetherness, simply due to the fact that we had in common one thing: the concert we'd just experienced... it was amazing.  It made me wonder how much better the world would be, and our lives in generally, if Christians could share more moments of such togetherness... but that's another issue to explore in another post.  Still, it was a profound and moving moment for me, and a great conclusion to the concert. 

It wasn't the end of our adventure, however.  When we finally got back to Liam's, he and his flatmate (Adam, I think) were still up and waiting for us.  They knew we hadn't had time to have dinner before the show, so they cooked up some goodies for us-- salads and quiches and bread and cheese and wine.  It was a feast!  They stayed up with us for a long while, chatting and making sure we felt at home.  They were amazing hosts, for certain!  And it didn't end there-- the next morning, they made us breakfast, and we stayed around the table, talking about life and religion and music and culture and art and all kinds of deep things, for hours!  It was one of those times when the conversation just flows, where everyone both listens and shares, and where you enjoy each other so much, even if you don't always agree.  It was incredible, actually.  We had intended to head back to Alva much earlier, but we probably would have stayed longer if Paige hadn't been set to leave for America imminently.  So, wishing we could stay longer but knowing we had deadlines to keep, we gathered our things, thanked our friendly hosts profusely, and headed back to Alva. 

It was, simply put, an all-around amazing adventure. 

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