Thursday, November 15, 2012

Today I'm Thankful for Music

Every day this month I've been participating in stating what I'm thankful for. This used to be difficult for me because we never really shared personal things like that growing up. But man, oh man, is it freeing to be able to talk about the blessings in my life. It fills me with joy to be able to speak positively every day and not focus on the problems and inconveniences in life.

Today I'm thankful for music. Music has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up going to church and singing, was in choir for three years, band for one (french horn, by the way), took a year of piano lessons (I'm not very patient, obviously. I never stuck with one thing for very long), and have an iTunes library that I'm extremely proud of. I stay at home with Brooklyn except for my one side job: choreography for the Needville choirs. Tuesdays and Thursdays with Soundsation are the highlight of my week. Brandon turns on Pandora on the iPad during dinner most nights and dances with me at a moment's notice. I am so thankful that Brooklyn is growing up loving music too, doing everything mommy does- clapping or signing along at church, singing in the car, and dancing every moment she gets.

When I think about music that has been influential or important in my life, there's one obvious answer that rises above the rest: The Beatles. Last night, Brandon and I went to the Paul McCartney concert at Minute Maid stadium. I've always had a hard time explaining to those who didn't grow up listening to Paul and the Beatles why their music is so powerful. I just always loved it. I remember the insanity that surrounded every Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, Target, etc. when the Beatles Anthology CD's came out. I'd never seen any kind of craziness over CD's before or since then. I loved when the John Lennon art collection was displayed in downtown Dallas and my Dad took us to see it. I was so impressed and enthralled that I decided to do my 4th grade biography project on John Lennon, much to the surprise and excitement of my teacher. When our family bought a much bigger TV for our living room, I can remember my sister, Lindsay, saying the first thing she wanted to watch was "A Hard Day's Night", because, as she put it, "I want to see some big headed Beatles!" The film, "A Hard Day's Night" is just one of many Beatles films. They showcased their music, of course, but also showed how incredibly silly these guys were. They were cute and likeable and instantly adored by people all over the world, even by an elementary school girl like me who was first introduced to them in the early 1990's, over 20 years since they disbanded.

It's always argued whether The Beatles or the Rolling Stones are the best rock band of all time, but to me there's no argument. The Rolling Stones have had 40 years to attempt to become what the Beatles did in 7. SEVEN years. They were a band from 1963-1970. That's it. The Beatles are the most covered band in the world- and not just by unknown, fan bands. "Come Together" alone has been done by Aerosmith, Michael Jackson, Joe Cocker and dozens of others. Their music is both simple and amazing- simple in that there may be only 3 chords in the main melody, but amazing in that no one else thought up so many hits, so much fun and so much beauty in their short time together.
"I Am Sam" used solely Beatles songs to tell the story's soundtrack. "Across the Universe" is a film that allowed Beatles songs to tell the story of the tumultuous 1960's. Who else has music so influential that it described an entire decade, told everyone's life story, and is still touching people today?

They aren't just a band. They are a phenomenon. They are known by their first names alone. They have their own version of "Rock Band". Saturday Night Live tried their hardest for the first 5 seasons they were on the air to have The Beatles reunite on their show... causing some hilarity involving the fact that they were going to have to split the $2,000 check between the four of them. George actually appeared on the show to laugh at Lorne Michaels for that one. It was pretty great.

They were followed by the whole world, and still are. I was amazed last night at the Paul McCartney concert to see so much variety and diversity under one roof. From babies up to grandparents, white, black, Hispanic, male, female, dozens of different languages spoken... it felt like a musical United Nations. And we were all there because we felt like The Beatles music spoke to us. How could one group know how to reach us all? Because they are the greatest of all time. And despite my comment at the beginning of the show that the only concert that could be better to see than Paul would be John... by the end of the night I was seriously doubting it. Last night was one of the greatest nights of my life. And by far the best concert I have ever been to.

Waiting for Paul!

Excited more than I can put into words waiting for the concert to start!

Okay, I could easily complain about the Houston traffic getting into downtown, the traffic once we were there, the fact that the show was scheduled to start at 8 and we didn't even find a place to park til 7:50 despite leaving Rosenberg at 6, paying $20 to park 1/2 a mile from the venue rushing to the stadium by way of bicycle-tip-guy, walking halfway around the stadium to find a line that wasn't absurdly long to wait in just to get inside, having to pee this entire time, finding the elevator broken so I had to walk up the ramp outside to the 400 level in the cold, all at 32+ weeks pregnant. So our seats weren't great. You can see the large tower obstructing our view of Paul. You can tell we're really far away... see, this was our first glimpse of Mr. McCartney. Towards the end of the show a leftover hippie decided to blow the smoke from his giant blunt all over us. I could easily complain about all of this. And yet this is a time to be thankful, and I cannot even BEGIN to describe how thankful I felt for Brandon at the moment we got this first sight of Paul McCartney. We had JUST bought this house and spent every bit of our savings to do so. We didn't (don't) have a disposable income for big ticket items like well, tickets, especially to huge concerts like this one. But Brandon knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and on my bucket list, so he agreed to shell out the extra cash and let this be my Christmas present. Best Christmas present ever. Best show ever. Best HUSBAND ever.

Loved the suit!

 He opened the night with "Magical Mystery Tour", followed by a Wings song I had never heard (but now love) called "Junior's Farm". Really fun, but it wasn't until the third song started that I felt transported to the 1960's and felt like I was at a real Beatles concert. The feeling is indescribable. But it left me giddy for the rest of the night. Here's part of "All My Loving".

 This is a great example of what Paul did a lot of during the concert: pay tribute to other great artists. This story is about Jimi Hendrix, and he told it right after he jammed out to Hendrix's "Foxy Lady". He asked the crowd to acknowledge the greatness of not only Jimi Hendrix last night, but also took a large chunk of time to allow us to applaud the work of John Lennon and George Harrison, both of whom are now deceased. I loved how genuine it all felt. Especially when he told the story of how we should tell people we love them while they are with us because we never know when they'll be gone. He followed that up with his 1982 song written for John called "Here Today".  No video of that one. I was too choked up and fascinated.

 "Paperback Writer". One of my all-time favorite Beatles songs. The harmonies, the jamming guitar solo... so close to a perfect song.

Paul (after his one wardrobe change :)) performing "Paperback Writer"

Paul at the piano: what I had been waiting to see since we first bought our tickets! This was during "The Long and Winding Road", but "Maybe I'm Amazed" was probably the greatest song to watch and hear him play on piano all night.
Paul at the piano

 This is one of his newer songs, called "My Valentine". Not only do I love this song, but I obviously LOVE that there are a man and a woman signing on the video screen behind him. Funny thing is that I told Brandon for some reason I was completely enthralled by the man and was only focused on watching him. Right after I mentioned that, Paul comes out and says that the woman was Natalie Portman and the man was Johnny Depp. No wonder I couldn't take my eyes off him. 

 Besides "In My Life", which I walked down the aisle to, "Blackbird" is my favorite Beatles song. I almost didn't even get video of it because I started crying when he started singing it. I then laughed at myself for always laughing at the girls in the audience who were sobbing during "The Ed Sullivan Show" when the Beatles performed. Yeah girls, I get it now.

SUPER fun song called "Dance Tonight"

Rocking out

Did everyone know that First Colony Children's Minister Jim Howard has been moonlighting as Paul McCartney's keyboardist for the past 10 years? :)

 This was Paul's tribute to George. He spoke of how "Something" is the most beautiful song George ever wrote, and how Frank Sinatra once came up to him and said this was his favorite Lennon/McCartney song. He laughed and told him he sadly couldn't take credit for it. George was apparently a great ukelele player, so Paul chose to begin this version of "Something" with the uke.

 "Obladi Oblada" is one of Brooklyn's favorites so I had to get a video for her :) Please ignore me and Brandon singing in the background. By this time we were having WAY too good a time.

 "Let it Be". Again, sorry for the extraneous singing... but we both decided it was MUCH more fun to sing with the real Paul than a record, so we joined in on just about every song.

"Live and Let Die"- best part of the evening. Bear with me- I turned the camera around after a few seconds. And notice the foolishly giddy laughter towards the end of the video. We didn't know what to do with ourselves we were having so much fun.

Hey Jude

Hey Jude

First Encore- Sir Paul comes out sporting a Texas flag. Very entertaining.

First encore- "Lady Madonna", "Day Tripper" and "Get Back". By this time the whole crowd was on their feet cheering him back on, so there was a lot of loud singing and dancing- total party. I also knew he was coming back for a second encore because he still hadn't done "Yesterday"!

The second encore began with "Yesterday", ended with the famous Abbey Road medley of "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End", and COMPLETELY rocked out with "Helter Skelter" in the middle.

So today, November 15th, I decided that I couldn't just place my day's thankfulness on Facebook. It needed it's own blog entry, entirely too long for most patient people to read, but I don't care. Today I'm thankful for Paul McCartney. I'm thankful for the Beatles. I'm thankful for the 1960's. I'm thankful for guitars, ukeleles, mandolins, keyboards, pianos, drums and tambourines. I'm thankful for talented, hardworking people who have the ability to make music that can touch us. I am so thankful for music!

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