Archive | July, 2010

Lay Your Weary Head to Rest

31 Jul

There truly is no rest for the weary. When I got back from Spartanburg yesterday, I drove straight to work and had to go to an outreach at the library. We didn’t even get back to Melody’s house until 4 am, where we went straight to bed. I had to get up early to get back to work, but not before an early breakfast with Melody and her friend Sally, who I finally got to meet after months of cracking each other up on Facebook via Melody. It’s been a great, but exhausting, couple of days. Even now, I’m not fully caught up on my sleep.

I’m spending a lovely (a term used lightly) weekend at the Early Childhood Conference as an exhibitor, giving information about the Museum and offering free outreach programs. I also have the gecko out here today, showing her off to everyone. Adults usually aren’t as into her, though, or as observant that she’s real. Kids are much more aware of a living animal, so they almost always notice her.

The day hasn’t been too bad – very long, though. The one complaint I have is that it’s very, very cold in the hallway where I’m set up. Thank goodness I suspected this, and prepared with a sweater. Poor Raja got so cold that she crawled up into my sleeve to sleep at one point during the day. That gecko deserves some sort of medal for her tolerance; she’s got to be about the most patient lizard in the world.

Lucky, too, that I brought my computer out here, and can upload pictures and videos of the concert to pass the time. There are long periods in the day when all the conference-goers are in sessions, so there’s not much traffic in the hallways where all the vendors and exhibitors are set up. It’s these times when I can get some work done. I’m very much looking forward to a day off tomorrow, though. And too bad I don’t get paid overtime…


This is What My Heart Looks Like:

30 Jul

This man is the love of my life.

Paul is LIVE!

29 Jul

I’m not sure I even have the words to describe my feelings about last night, but I’m going to try. Without a doubt, it was the greatest moment of my life. It seemed to go by in a blur – in fact I have to keep reminding myself that it really did happen. And yet I know it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. All I can say is, if you’re a Beatles fan, and you have the chance to see Paul McCartney, do it. No matter what, see him live. In fact, even if you’re just simply a music fan – and who isn’t? – you should still see him. I probably will never see a live show to rival what I experienced last night.

After going to work for a few hours in the morning, driving to Spartanburg to get Melody, driving to Rock Hill to get Grace and meet her crazy roommates, and finally drive into Charlotte, we were all so excited. Three uber Beatles fans going to see one of their idols – there’s not much else I’d rather be doing.

The doors were supposed to open at 6, with no real showtime after that. I mean, when you’re an ex-Beatle, you can pretty much start your show whenever you want. The doors opened around 6:30, so we had plenty of time standing in line to see lots of Beatles t-shirts and random outfits. It was quite fun to play fashion critic while waiting on the doors. We finally got inside and found our seats, which took some effort, what with so many people walking around doing the same thing. Our seats were on the right side of the stage – Paul’s left – almost in the back of the arena. They could have been better, for sure, but considering how late we bought the tickets, and how expensive some of them were, we really got lucky just to be in the same room as him.

The arena filled up slowly – I guess people were getting food and drinks, or just arrived later – but finally every seat in the place was filled. It finally got started around 8, and didn’t stop for a full three hours. Seriously, I don’t know where he gets all his energy from, because, as Melody says, he is “no spring chicken.” The only times he wasn’t playing were when he was switching instruments, or the brief moments offstage in between encords. It was just straight up, in-your-face music. There wasn’t any opening band, and really, we didn’t need one. We were all there to see Paul, who’s such a legend that he doesn’t need any supporting acts to open for him. Anyone who thought Paul really is dead surely had their minds changed last night. He still sounds almost exactly the same as he did in the 60s, even after years of smoking, drugs, partying, and the like. He’s obviously aged, but his energy is infectious that you really feel like he’s a young kid, touring the world with his best mates. All his mannerisms when he performs are still the same, too. You can’t fake all that. Believe me, I ‘ve seen enough Beatles video to know what’s real and what’s fake, and what I saw certainly wasn’t a fake Paul McCartney. He’s got to be the most adorable person on the face of the earth. I don’t care that he’s 68, I’d still sleep with him in a heartbeat.

If only I had been born about 40 years before I really was, so that I could have seen all the Beatles together – I can’t even imagine in. Granted, I wouldn’t have been able to hear much, with all the crazy screaming going on around me at a live performance. I’m so thankful that sound quality is much better nowadays, and despite the noise of the crowds, we’re still able to hear what’s going on onstage. I mean, they practically had to invent it after the Beatles, because it just didn’t exist for live performances and huge arenas like that.

I don’t think any words I have can do justice to the entire experience, so I’ll stick in some pictures and video here, just so you can have a taste of what it was like. There were plenty of old Beatles favorites to go around. I so wish I had brought an extra memory card for my camera – I ended up running out of space, what with all the pictures and video I took of the concert. I was able to get all the best moments on video, though. And no matter how many videos I have, it can’t make up for the memories of actually seeing it live. I guess the best way to recap everything is using the setlist, and putting my two cents in here and there on some songs.

The Set List:

1. Venus and Mars / Rockshow: Starting out on that famous violin-shaped bass guitar.

2. Jet

3. All My Loving: You can tell that, even after all these years, this is still one of his favorite songs to perform. There was just such a great energy he put into it. Granted, it was the beginning of the concert, but his whole demeanor during this song was that he was really enjoying himself and loves this song.

4. Letting Go

5. Drive My Car

6. Highway

7. Let Me Roll It / Foxey Lady: McCartney covering Hendrix, who only took a weekend to memorize the entire Sgt. Pepper album? Yup, I’ll take it.

8. The Long And Winding Road: So beautiful, because he did it on his huge grand piano set up on one side of the stage. That man, I swear, can play any instrument. I don’t even remember how many guitars, basses, mandolins, ukeleles, and pianos he played last night. And he’s a master of each one.

9. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five

10. Let ‘Em In

11. My Love: He dedicated this one to Linda.  

12. I’ve Just Seen A Face: This is the one Grace really wanted him to play. It’s one of my favorites, too.

13. And I Love Her: Still just as beautiful as the first time I heard it.

14. Blackbird: Paul, a guitar, and a spotlight. That was it.

15. Here Today

16. Dance Tonight: We really were all dancing around last night! I do very much like Paul on the mandolin.

17. Mrs Vandebilt

18. Eleanor Rigby: During this song, I kept thinking about his band, and how they must feel performing with him every night. If it was me, I know I’d think, Holy shit. I’m performing Eleanor Rigby on stage with Paul McCartney. How is this my life?

19. Something: A gorgeous tribute to George Harrison. I might tear up just thinking about it again. He started out playing an upbeat version of it on the ukelele that George gave him – who was famous for playing it himself. So there was this cute little tinkling version he did with the ukelele, and then the lights came up and his full band launched into the soulful, gorgeous version we all know so well. It’s truly beyond words. I got it all on video.

20. Sing The Changes

21. Band On The Run

22. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

23. Back In The USSR: This was so, so fun to sing and dance to. The humming during the chorus was really great.  

24. I’ve Got A Feeling: The only thing better would be actually seeing it on the rooftop concert.

25. Paperback Writer: He gave this one more of a hard rock edge than it usually has. Such a great guitar riff. I think he sped it up a bit, too, so it was really rocking!

26. A Day In The Life / Give Peace A Chance: I stood there the whole time thinking how lucky I was to hear A Day in the Life in a concert. It was just as eerie as the recording, and still so wonderful. It’s one those that I love just because it’s so mysterious and weird. And doing Give Peace a Chance at the end was amazing – the entire place was singing along, and they stopped playing and we did it all a capella. Such a wonderful moment.

27. Let It Be: Back to the piano. And of course he had a chorus of thousands to back him up.

28. Live And Let Die: By far, without a doubt, THE BEST song of the evening. You know that opening part, where he’s singing (you know you did, you know you did, you know you did) almost like a power ballad? And then all of a sudden – BOOM – in your face? Well, it literally was that. A huge crash of fireworks and actual fire bursting out from either side of the stage on that huge cymbal crash. We all screamed and jumped – totally unexpected, but the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever seen. Melody has an amazing video of it – she’s giving me her copy, so hopefully I’ll get it on here soon. I unfortunately had put my camera away for this one, trying to save room, and thinking it wouldn’t be that great. Boy, was I ever wrong. It was the best fucking thing I have ever witnessed. There are no other words.

29. Hey Jude: As I’ve always said, only The Beatles could get away with four-minute coda singing the same syllable over and over. You’ve never heard Hey Jude without a huge crowd singing along with you. I mean, we didn’t even need music. We just sang, and sang, and sang. He was playing this big upright piano that was painted like it came straight out of Yellow Submarine.

30. Day Tripper: This one was so fun. It was the first encore, so of course he came out and really laid into it. So fast and energetic. It was a great dancing song.

31. Lady Madonna: Back to the piano. My mom doesn’t particularly like this one, but there’s just something about its beat that I love. Maybe it’s the piano part, I don’t know. In any case, I love it.

32. Get Back: I mean really, how could this not be great?

Second Encore
33. Yesterday: He did a beautiful acoustic version of this, without his band. And no frills, either – just him and a guitar and a white spotlight.

34. Helter Skelter: I literally screamed my head off when he started to play this. Before the concert, we all took votes on which song we each wanted him to play. Grace said “Ive Just Seen a Face.” Melody said “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road.” I said “Helter Skelter.” I have never, ever in my life been happier to have a wish granted. Helter Skelter is, in my opinion, the hottest Beatles song ever, and there is absolutely nothing to compare with seeing it live.

35. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / The End: How appropriate to end the concert with Sgt. Pepper Reprise/The End. It just makes sense. I could weep with the dual simplicity and complexity of it – leaving everyone with some rocking songs and ending on a high note. That and, it’s a great way to tell the audience you’re done.

And now for the promised pictures.

Grace, Melody, and me anxiously waiting to see Paul

The stage – you can tell we were pretty far up.

The love of my life!

Still charming after all these years.

That cute little mandolin!

I wish this picture was clearer, because I love it so much. I just feel lucky I was able to get it this good!

There are plenty more pictures where those came from, but I just don’t have the space to put more on here now. If you’ve made it this far down the post, you deserve some kind of reward. Check back soon for some videos I took of the concert. They’re special enough to need their own post.

I probably won’t ever get the chance to see him live again, but I truly hope that I do. You never know – I was lucky enough to see him this time around, you never know what will happen in the future. All I can say is, should Paul McCartney ever have a concert close by me again, you better believe I will do whatever it takes to get myself there. He is my favorite Beatle, my favorite musician, my favorite person. I truly love him and his music, and I sincerely hope I get to see him live again. It will be worth the wait, and worth every penny.

Once in a Lifetime

28 Jul

Tonight’s the night! Paul McCartney, in concert. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I’m fully taking advantage of. I’m so excited I can’t even stand it. I’ve charged my camera and cleared the memory card in preparation. I’ll be leaving in a few hours to pick up Melody and Grace, and then heading to Charlotte to see the love of my life. I might just pee my pants…

Ten Things Tuesday – July 27

27 Jul

I can’t get The Beatles off my mind, and I bet you can tell why. I’m going to see Paul McCartney tomorrow night, and I couldn’t be more excited about it! Today’s Ten Things Tuesday is simple. Ten pictures of Paul. He’s got to be the most adorable person on the planet.

Hit the Road, Jack

26 Jul

Last night was supposed to be the day my mom and my grandmother returned from their week-long excursion in Louisiana. That didn’t happen, however, due to a broken air-conditioner in the car and sweltering heat. Would you want to drive across Mississippi and Alabama without running air? My dad suggested the 4/80 plan, which is where you roll down all four of your windows and drive 80 miles an hour. They tried this for most of the trip, but of course it was loud on a busy highway, but better than no moving air, I’m sure. They had suffered all week without it, but driving for 13 hours during the heat of the day was the final straw. Honestly I wouldn’t have wanted to do that, either.

They drove as far as they could stand yesterday, which was to Gadsden, Alabama. My dad left early this morning to go meet them; each of them started driving this morning unil they crossed paths, and then they switched cars. My mom and grandmother got into the big, cold truck while my dad drove their stifling hot car. They’re on their way back now, so everyone will be back under one roof tonight. It’s been very quiet at home, but that’s made it kind of nice. I’ve gotten used to it by now, so having them back now will be a little different, too. Hopefully there won’t be any more issues with the rest of their trip.

I’m going back to Abingdon today, but luckily not to the Highlands Festival. I still need some more time to recuperate from this weekend! I’m doing the final week of the Parks and Rec camp up there, doing the Sound and Air Pressure programs. I fully expect to be sweating from head to toe by the end of the day, and also covered in potato and apple parts from the air pressure gun. It’s not a clean program to do, ever. I always come back covered in potato starch and sticky from all the juices. At least I can say my job is productive and not boring.

A Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day

25 Jul

OK, so the title of this post might be a little dramatic, but yesterday I had a very stressful, very long day. If it gives you any indication about how my day went, my dad went to the grocery store on a beer run, just for the two of us. For dinner I had several Honeymoons and some Mexican lasagna for dinner. By the way, the lasagna was really just an afterthought.

This morning I got up super early and went to the Virginia Highlands Festival to do the Sound program out there. They have been incredibly hard to get in touch with for the last several weeks, so I never really got to confirm the programs I was doing, or the times they would be presented. They just kind of made up what they wanted me to do, semi-based on our conversations a few months ago to initially book the programs. So, I was already a little irritated about that. Not to mention the fact that I had to check out their website for a map on how everything was going to be set up, and had to call to confirm where I was going to be. Don’t they send out letters to their vendors about this stuff? I mean, it’s kind of a big deal, you’d think they’d be a little more organized.

It takes an hour to drive from here to Abingdon, so I left with plenty of time to drive, find my way to where I was going, park, and get all my stuff set up. Or so I thought. My first program was scheduled to start at 10, but I didn’t even get up to the tent where I was supposed to be until at least 20 minutes after that. I got up to Abingdon around 9:15, and then drove around for an hour trying to find somewhere to park. No one had ever told me where to go, exactly, so I was kind of in the dark about everything. It was a little chaotic, being the first day of the festival. It also didn’t help that it was Saturday and the Farmer’s Market was right across the street from the tent where I was supposed to be. They took up pretty much all the parking spots. I finally found some women who were going back to their car and leaving, so I backed up a little bit and waited for them. They took their sweet time, but I was just glad to find somewhere close to park. So they finally pulled out (they were in one of those diagonal parking spaces), and I was all set to pull in right behind them. That is, until the douchebag in the Mini Cooper – who by the way had pulled way up in front of them, waiting on another car, who had already PASSED UP this parking spot – whipped into reverse and turned himself around backwards into the spot. All within plain sight of the ladies pulling out, me in the car with the turn signal on, blatantly waiting for that spot, and the car behind me. I was in complete shock – I have NEVER, in my entire life, witnessed something so rude while driving. I was absolutely livid after this – and who wouldn’t be? I just sat and glared at that guy while he and his son pulled out his little bike and walked on happily, as though nothing had happened. I so badly wanted to say something rude to him, but knew I couldn’t because I was wearing my Hands On shirt. And I knew that as soon as I said something rude to him, that he would definitely come to my program, and remember me, and know how rude the Hands On girl was to him. I think that made me even more mad – the fact that I couldn’t say anything to him about how astonishingly disrespectful he was. I so wish I hadn’t been up there for something work-related, and that I could have had the satisfaction of telling him off. I was highly tempted to run into his car, although that wouldn’t have solved anything.

Anyway, I was livid after that, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it. So I drove around for a bit more, without any luck finding anything. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal parking kind of far, except for the fact that I had to carry a lot of stuff to that tent. So the hunt was on for another spot. After I don’t know how long, I went back to that same parking lot that was the sight of my fuming anger, and found an empty spot. Well, not quite empty. There was some random teenage kid standing in it with a traffic cone, wearing a shirt that read Staff. The Staff of what, I have no idea. So, being even more peeved, I rolled down my window to ask what the deal was. He said the parking spot was reserved. So I said something along the lines of, “Where am I supposed to park/There’s nowhere to park/I don’t know where that is (when he told me about the random square a few blocks down)/Do you expect me to carry all this stuff back up here/I’m doing a program at that tent on the other side of the fence, etc.” He never did say why that spot was reserved, but there were other people allowed to park there, so I don’t know what the deal was. And he never really told me where else I could go. I had a few rude words with him, even though it wasn’t his fault. It did make me feel slightly better to take out some anger on him, but I did feel a little bad about that later.

After more driving around, I finally had to park at the post office several blocks down. This made me extremely paranoid the entire day that my car would be towed, or I would get a ticket. That didn’t happen, thank God! There were plenty of other people parking there for the festival, even though the signs in the lot all said post office customers only. Luckily, though, that turned out to be a non-issue, but didn’t help my anxiety level throughout the day. I did, however, have to carry a ton of stuff back to that tent, where it would have been so convenient to be in that lot where I was twice denied entry. So, approximately one hour after getting to Abingdon, and about 20 minutes late, I finally made it to the tent where I was supposed to be and got all set up. I didn’t once, the entire day, see anyone who was in charge or worked for the festival. The only person who seemed to know anything that was going on was the face-painting guy who was set up beside me, who by the way does face-painting for a living, and is in no way affiliated with the festival. I recognized him from Blue Plum, which is how I know he wasn’t in charge.

I can’t really say if it was worth my while to go up there – there was a grand total of about 30 people who came to my programs over the course of the day. I have to go back up there in about a week, which I’m not looking forward to at all. I’m not doing the same programs, though, which will be both good and bad. One day I’m taking the gecko and the roaches, which won’t be an issue to cart around and do a half-hour program with. The next day, though, BioFuels is scheduled, which is a major issue for several reasons. 1. It’s a lot of heavy, expensive equipment. 2. It requires several electical outlets, which are of course unavailable in a tent outside in the grass. 3. This program is an hour and a half long, to condense into a 30-minute time slot. How this is all going to work out, I have no idea. There’s definitely going to be some major reworking of this on my part. In absolutely no way, shape or form do I want to go back. All I can do is hope that next time will be better.

That, and leave my house about three hours early.