A Hard Rocker’s Journey to The Beatles

By on May 29, 2013

(photo by Frank Colucci / RSEN)

Orlando, Fla. —  May 19th, 2013 (Second night)–Wow! I just saw the Beatles and it wasn’t on TV. My journey to this amazing concert began almost seven years ago. Ever since I was a teenager my taste in music primarily revolved around hard rock and heavy metal. I have worshiped bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Slayer, and Anthrax … My parents were born in the 1940’s, so as a small child, it was mostly 50’s Doo-Wop played in my house. I never cared for that type of music then, but looking back now, I can certainly appreciate it. My mom and dad were married in the 60’s, but they never got into that decade’s music. I discovered Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Jimi Hendrix on my own, which eventually led to the heavier stuff. My brother is eight years older than me and he had a copy of The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”  I used to play it all the time on my portable record player in the early to mid 80’s. As far as The Beatles go, that was it for me. Growing up, of course, The Beatles were played on the radio, at parties, weddings and let’s not forget that scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off….


So now let’s fast forward to 2006 when I met my wife, Nicole. Nicole is six-and-a-half years younger than I am. Her parents were both born in the 50’s. The very first time I was invited to her mom and dad’s for Sunday dinner, The Beatles were on their stereo all day. Of course I was familiar with their hits, “Twist and Shout,”  “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” “Hey Jude”… There are many more than I am actually giving myself credit of knowing. However, Nicole and her family knew the words to every Beatles’ song and her dad had a story about each one of them. As Nicole and I continued to date, there were many more Sunday dinners and as I got to know her family better, I learned that her father was extremely knowledgeable about 60’s music and seemed to know just about everything about The Beatles.

Paul McCartney (photo by Frank Colucci / RSEN)


Nicole and I were now married just shy of a year in Christmas of 2010, and my father-in-law was losing his battle with cancer. None of us were in the Christmas spirit, so I decided to buy The Beatles Trivial Pursuit board game to help take our minds off of my father-in-law’s declining health. We ended up quitting after only thirty minutes, because my father-in-law knew all the answers to the questions. So we decided to just ask random questions off of the cards while dinner was being prepared. If we read fifty questions, dad knew answers to forty-nine of them. It’s been two and a half years since my father-in-law passed away. Nicole plays The Beatles in the house almost every day. I think it’s her way of keeping his spirit alive.


Just over five weeks ago my mother-in-law called and said she just heard a commercial on the radio advertising the Paul McCartney concert in Orlando and that we should try to get tickets. The tickets were going on sale Saturday of that same week.  When I first went on-line to check out the prices, the only show listed was for Saturday May 18th. Ticket prices ranged from $60.00 to $280.00, not including the VIP packages that were around $2,000.00 for front row seats. Since we needed to purchase four tickets, Nicole and I decided to aim for seats in the middle of the Amway Center, and hoped to spend around a hundred bucks a tickets.


It’s now almost 10 a.m. and the tickets are about to go on sale. I’m refreshing the web every ten seconds waiting to get in and make our purchase. I enter: 4 seats, $105.00 each.  I get back, “We’re sorry, but no seats match your request.”  I kept trying.  Over and over: 4 tickets, 3 tickets, 2 tickets. I also tried every price category just to see if there was anything available. Still nothing! I started to panic. I had to get Paul McCartney tickets for Nicole and her mother. This concert will be the best show of their lives. I then decided to call Ticketmaster directly. My entire transaction was completed without ever talking to a live person. I answered a few automated questions to determine the event I was calling about. To my surprise, the automated teller advised me that there were two shows matching my request. Saturday May 18th and Sunday May 19th. Two shows???? I hit refresh on the computer and still only Saturday’s performance was listed. I quickly say “Sunday” and the next think you know, I have four seats in section 210, row 1 for Sunday May 19th!   After I hung up I refreshed again and now it said, “Just added, a second show”. YES! My timing was perfect on that phone call. Now we only have to wait five weeks for the show. We gave the two extra tickets to my son who is twelve (his love of The Beatles also comes from short amount of time he spent with his grandpa) and my mother-in-law for Mother’s Day.


The brightly colored piano just sums up the Beatles history… colorfully legendary (photo by Frank Colucci / RSEN)

The four of us arrived at The Amway Center in Downtown Orlando around 7 p.m. and made it to our seats by 7:30. The concert was scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. There was a DJ on stage playing remixes of The Beatles and other Paul McCartney tunes as the arena filled up with over twenty thousand fans ready to rock out with this music legend. 8 p.m sharp and the DJ exited the stage and pictures of Paul began scrolling down two long movie screens located on each side of the stage. The music got louder and at 830 p.m. on the dot, Sir Paul McCartney and his band walk out and jumped right into The Beatles’ classic, “Eight Days a Week.”  “Hello Orlando” said Paul. “Welcome to the second night of our American tour. We are gonna have some fun tonight.”  Then they opened the show with the Wings song “Juniors Farm,”  which was followed by a Beatles’ song, then another Wings’ song, and then a song from Paul’s solo career, so on and so forth …  The thirty-eight song set covered over fifty years of great rock n roll music. The majority of the songs played were from The Beatles, but the set also included songs from Paul’s solo albums, as well as his music with Wings. (See full set list below)


After playing the Wings’ classic “Let Me Roll It” the band went into a snippet of “Foxy Lady” from the great Jimi Hendrix. Paul spoke to the crowd about the connection between Jimi and The Beatles in the 60’s. “I got to know Jimi in the late 60s when he came to London. I think one of the greatest tributes that I’ve ever had paid me was that after we released Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on a Friday and Jimi had learned it by Sunday. Two days later Jimi opened with it at his show and I was at his show and that was just such a tribute.”  “The reason I have this guitar on now is because it is the original one I used on the record,” said Paul.

photo by Frank Colucci / RSEN


Paul dedicated one of his newer songs, “My Valentine” to his wife, Nancy. He said they were on vacation somewhere and it was raining. So he wanted to stay inside and write this beautiful song for her. He dedicated “Maybe I’m Amazed” to his first wife, Linda, which was a bit of a tear-jerker for Nicole and her mom. Nicole danced with her dad at our wedding to that song. She knew when she was a little girl that on her wedding day, that would be her father/daughter song. “Here Today” was dedicated to Beatle John Lennon. “Let’s hear it for John” shouted Paul. He then told the crowd that sometimes you don’t get to tell your friends that you love them and this was his way of telling John. I had never heard it before. It was a beautifully written song for his friend who died way too early. Another dedication went out to the late George Harrison. Paul gave a great rendition of The Beatles’ “Something,” originally sung by George on Abbey Road. It was just Paul alone on the stage playing a ukulele. It’s such a great song and one of my favorites. “Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!” and  “ Lovely Rita” were preformed for the second time ever in the United States, Paul told the packed house before he sang each one. The first time was the night before.


Two encores totaled eight songs. All of which were from The Beatles. “Day Tripper,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Yesterday,” “Helter Skelter,” and finally, “Golden Slumbers,”” Carry That Weight,” and “The End.”  The last three songs were played together without a break between each song, as it is on the album. This was another tear-jerker for my family. The lyrics to “In The End” were printed on the prayer cards given out at my father in-laws funeral.  (And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.)


Throughout the show Paul must have changed guitars and his bass at least ten times and he also played two different pianos. He started the night playing his vintage Hofner Bass and then changed is up with other various acoustic and electric guitars. There was one black piano positioned toward the back of the stage to the right of the drummer and another psychedelic piano was wheeled out to the front of the stage several times throughout the night.


The concert ended at 11:15 p.m., two hours and forty-five minutes after it started. Just amazing considering Mr. McCartney will be seventy-one years old in June. This was an unbelievable show; emotional at times but more exciting and entertaining than you can imagine. Did I just see The Beatles live in 2013? Well of course not, but it was pretty damn close. I only wish my father-in-law was there with us. I guess in a way he was looking down from above. I just hope that the beers weren’t $10.00 where he was watching from.


  1.        Eight Days a Week (The Beatles)
  2.        Junior’s Farm (Wings)
  3.        All My Loving (The Beatles)
  4.        Listen to What the Man Said (Wings)
  5.        Let Me Roll It (Wings)
  6.        Paperback Writer (The Beatles)
  7.        My Valentine (Solo)
  8.        Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (Wings)
  9.        The Long and Winding Road (The Beatles)
  10.        Maybe I’m Amazed (Solo)
  11.        I’ve Just Seen a Face (The Beatles)
  12.        We Can Work It Out (The Beatles)
  13.        Another Day (Solo)
  14.        And I Love Her (The Beatles)
  15.        Blackbird (The Beatles)
  16.        Here Today (Solo)
  17.        Your Mother Should Know (The Beatles)
  18.        Lady Madonna (The Beatles)
  19.        All Together Now (The Beatles)
  20.        Mrs. Vandebilt (Wings)
  21.        Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles)
  22.        Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! (The Beatles)
  23.        Something (The Beatles)
  24.        Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles)
  25.        Hi, Hi, Hi (Wings)
  26.        Band on the Run (Wings)
  27.        Back in the U.S.S.R. (The Beatles)
  28.        Let It Be (The Beatles)
  29.        Live and Let Die (Wings)
  30.        Hey Jude (The Beatles)
  31.        Day Tripper (The Beatles)
  32.        Lovely Rita (The Beatles)
  33.        I Saw Her Standing There (The Beatles)
  34.        Yesterday (The Beatles)
  35.        Helter Skelter (The Beatles)
  36.        Golden Slumbers (The Beatles)
  37.        Carry That Weight (The Beatles)
  38.        The End (The Beatles)




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