I have been fortunate to witness amazing events. I have been blessed to be at the right place at the right time, sort of. I also have unbelievable bad timing sometimes! When I heard Paul McCartney was going to perform at Amoeba, I was excited until I heard which day he was going to play. The evening Sir Paul was to play Amoeba, I had an opening night for Nativo!, a new club that I spin at. This wasn’t the first time a legend was performing and I had to miss it. Once I had a show the same night I had free tickets to see Tom Waits perform acoustic in front of a small crowd. I went to the show anyway but I had to bail to get to my own gig after a few songs. Another time I made the mistake of making a date during a SXSW conference, not knowing the time I made the date was the same time Johnny Cash was performing at Emo’s in front of 300 people, me being one of them. Once again I had to leave early after a few songs to meet my date and then I couldn’t get back in. On top of that, nothing happened between the girl and myself, ever.
I showed up to Amoeba early, hoping to catch at very least Paul McCartney’s sound check. The Amoeba bosses told us that we could watch sound check just as long as we weren’t gawking at Paul during the check. Having done many sound checks myself, I've always hated having people gawking at me while I was checking and know the feeling well. I’m usually trying to get the gallos out of my throat or awkwardly playing a part just to get a sound and it never sounds pleasant. I decided for Paul I would make it a point, from one musician to another, to respect his wishes and not be a fan. I would continue to get the store ready for the instore and not stop and stare.
The band was jamming on stage. Paul McCartney was nowhere to be found. I continued to take down box sets that might inhibit people from viewing the performance. The band blasted into “Ride My Car.” I had my head turned while they were playing the song. I figured one of Paul’s band mates was taking the lead vocal since Paul wasn’t around. I turned around and there he was, singing and playing that familiar Vox bass. I resisted the urge to go closer to the stage and continued to work. But soon the fan in me and in the rest of the staff won out. Slowly, like cats creeping towards some foreign object in curiosity, we all edged closer to the stage. Soon, none of us were working, only watching the “show” that was supposed to be sound check.
I have to imagine that Paul McCartney knew how much witnessing his sound check was a big deal to us. Rather than telling the staff to clear the floor, which was in his right to do, he continued playing, performing nine songs total, including a few he didn’t play during the instore. He played a version Of "Midnight Special" that was pretty cool. When he left the stage we all gave him a big hand! He joked that he thought more people would be at the instore than the staff that was watching him.
At six they started letting people in. I stuck around to see how many songs I could catch before I absolutely had to leave. Set time was for 7:30 but due to the amount of people trying to get in, Paul McCartney didn’t go on until 8:15. In order to get to my set I had to leave no later than 8:30 so, you guessed it, I only got to catch a few songs before I had to leave. Though I had to leave early, I have many great memories of the show, hanging out with my co-workers, which I really don’t get to do all that much, and witnessing the sound check, Jun’s great warm-up DJ set of Paul McCartney tunes that Beatle fanatics just absolutely hate ("Ebony & Ivory," "Nod Your Head" w/"Lady Saw" & "Open The Door," you know... someone’s knocking at your door, somebody's ringing the bell!) and trying to incite two high strung female T.V. reporters to fight it out when neither of them could get the shot they wanted. That would have been fun to witness!
Despite my somewhat rotten luck I have been so fortunate to see such performers as Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Stevie Wonder, Tom Waits and now Paul McCartney in intimate settings and for free. Even if it was for just a few songs, it’s more than most people get to see in their lifetime, and for that, I feel blessed to have lived the life I have.