Local Current Blog

How a 21st-century kid learned to love Paul McCartney and the Beatles

courtesy Paul McCartney

For the Beatles’ original fans, their first experience with the band’s music was probably hearing a chart-busting hit on the radio or lowering a needle onto a freshly-released album—or, for those few lucky fans, hearing them live at the Cavern. I didn’t hear my first Beatles song, though, until nearly 44 years after it was released. In fact, I wasn’t even born until nearly three decades after the band had broken up—but despite the age gap, the Beatles have always been a big part of my life.

The first time I listened to the Beatles, I was sitting on the hardwood floor of my bedroom, reclining against the side of my bed. Balancing on my legs was my purple portable CD player, beside me a stack of discs. At the very top of the pile sat my first Beatles CD, a Christmas present from my uncle: a copy of the band’s debut album Please Please Me. As I placed the shining disc in my player and pushed play, an infectiously energetic count-off came blasting through my headphones. “One, two, three, four!” My skin was suddenly covered in goose bumps. All it took were those four simple words, in an incredibly alluring British accent, and I was instantly hooked.

Flash-forward 12 years, and I’m now a 19-year-old who’s just seen one of her four idols for the first time. I viewed it as almost a spiritual pilgrimage to make my way to the Fargodome on July 12. I felt that a part of my life had just come full circle. Here I was, after years of dreaming and wishing, finally seeing Paul McCartney.

The Fargo concert was a four-hour extravaganza of energy, passion, and—most importantly—rock and roll. Sir Paul played a wide range of tunes, spanning his entire career. There were some emotional tributes to lost friends and bandmates, the most memorable for me being McCartney’s rendition of “Something” on ukulele. The night ended with a double encore, the crowd unwilling to let the music legend leave.  

Maybe 19 is a bit soon to start a bucket list, but I have one and the top item is crossed off: see both of the remaining Beatles. It was only four years ago that I saw Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band at Mystic Lake Casino. At that time, I wasn’t able to fully process just how incredible it was that I was witnessing a former Beatle performing. However, this time as I watched Paul run across the stage, waving the American flag as he said his final goodbye, I knew that I had just witnessed history.

As exciting as the Fargo concert was, I’m finding myself just as thrilled and thankful that I have a chance to see Paul McCartney perform again this summer.  On August 2, Sir Paul will be playing in Minneapolis at Target Field, the biggest act yet to play at the new stadium. I am especially excited for this show because not only will he be playing in my home state, but it will also be an outdoor concert. I expect to witness the same zest McCartney displayed in Fargo, and hope the audience will be just as energized. I’m also holding out for at least a double encore.

Lillian Speakman is a student at Hamline University.