A Different Side Of Paul McCartney (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

Why the Kennedy Center Honors gave us a new appreciation for Paul McCartney

 Paul McCartney Honored

I watched the Kennedy Center Honors on KKTV (CBS) last night. Well, I recorded it and watched it after I finished doing the news. Did you see it last night? The whole show was great. We all learned a lot about some amazing artists about whom we may not have known much.
We all know a lot abut Paul McCartney though. Most of us have watched him perform for as long as we’ve watched anyone perform! I’ve seen him live twice and they’re both shows I’ll never forget. Here’s a picture from the most recent time in Denver in July.
But did you see him last night? Here’s what was different. We’ve all watched him perform his amazing music for decades.
Last night we got to watch him watch others perform his amazing music.
It was a revelation. He created it, but he can become as transfixed by it and as overwhelmed by it as the rest of us can! 
It was so incredible to see! Artist after artist played McCartney songs for McCartney! No Doubt did some up-tempo Beatles stuff, “Hello, Goodbye” and “Penny Lane.” Dave Grohl and Nora Jones did “Maybe I’m Amazed” and amazed us. 
Then it was Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler on stage to do “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window”, “Carry That Weight” and even “The End” Imagine the pressure on these artists, all superstars themselves, to perform these songs in front of their Rock-n-Roll hero! Did you see it?  Did you see everyone in the crowd sing along. Did you see Paul McCartney sing along too?
Then it got even better. James Taylor started McCartney’s poem of calm and peace and solace, “Let It Be”. Gospel legend Mavis Staples took it over and brought it home….brought the crowd to tears…..brought Paul McCartney to tears. 
Then they transitioned it straight into the “na na na na “ crowd participation chorus from the end of “Hey Jude” complete with a full choir! The crowd all but jumped to its feet. The President and First Lady sang along. Oprah and all the other honorees sang along, Colin Powell sang along…Diana Ross was singing and moving and grooving in the middle of the audience. Everyone stood up sang along. Paul McCartney stood up and sang along. That’s what was so remarkable to see.
Paul McCartney’s music has the same effect on him that it has on the rest of us! It moved him, then it made him move. It brought him to tears and it brought him to his feet! He sang along because he had to, they all had to.
As fans we often wonder if any concert is just another gig to a guy like Paul McCartney. We wonder if the songs he created are also the songs he loves to hear just like the rest of us. Now we have an answer because, for a few minutes, we got to see Paul McCartney the fan of music and not just the performer of music.
He looked as though he felt just like the rest of us feel when we see him perform…we wonder if it ever has to end.
Did you see it last night? If you didn’t, try to find it so you can see it too.
Here are links to a couple of other McCartney/Beatles-related blog entries.
this one is about that most recent concert.
This about a very cool backstage experience.
This is about John Lennon, from 2009.
We'll talk again soon.
Don Ward
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