Many people have told me that they believe that The Beatles is a grossly overrated band. Perhaps. But I would argue that The Beatles was special in that they struck a chord in so many people across generations and ultimately became part of the contemporary culture. I’m sure that many people, as I do, have special memories associated with a Fab Four piece—dancing to Twist and Shout at a party, I want to hold your hand and the first crush, learning to play guitar by practicing Blackbird…. Whether you think The Beatles has been overrated or not, you cannot deny the fact that The Beatles has become an essential part of our culture, if not culture itself.
The omnipresence of The Beatles in our lives made it timeless and legendary—a cultural icon that we cannot recall the twentieth century without. The death of John Lennon and George Harrison closed the possibility of ever seeing the Fab Four together on a stage forever—enshrining them in history.
But an opportunity to live part of this history came to town in November of this year. On September 7th, it was announced that Paul McCartney would perform on November 28th as part of his On the Run tour. Edmonton was chosen as one of the three cities in Canada to have Paul (others being Vancouver and Montreal), making it the first (likely to be the last) historic visit of a Fab Four in town. Tickets went on sale on September 14th, selling out within minutes, prompting the agency to schedule one more show for November 29th—a brief revival of Beatlemania in the twenty-first century.
Paul McCartney lived up to the hype that the town lived through for almost three months. Paul’s performance was simply legendary. He performed with the energy from the days of the Ed Sullivan Show that belied his age, but also added the maturity and grace coming from his fifty years of experience as a musician. He captivated the 17,000 people in the Rexall Place with his hits from the Fab Four days, as well as those from his Wings and solo careers. He paid a tribute to George by playing Something on ukulele and also to John by playing Here Today. Hey Jude was the anthem of the night, everyone singing along with Paul until we lost our voices.
Paul’s visit to Edmonton was definitely one of the highlights of 2012, if not of its entire history. It became a city that lived the history of the Fab Four, which is a priceless record. Furthermore, the fact that Edmonton was one of the three Canadian cities to host the legendary Paul McCartney confirms its status as a premier venue for top, world-class artists.
Dongwoo Kim is a fourth year student of political science and history at the University of Alberta. He is guilty of McCartney-ing during the last few months.
CC photograph courtesy of Flickr, found here.