I went to see the Fab Four at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre tonight, a venue which holds around 100 people. At 8:00 the lights dimmed and the soundtrack rolled … it was a Sunday evening in February, 1964 and the Ed Sullivan Show was on TV.
“And now, ladies and gentlemen, here they are – The Beatles!” Well said, Ed.
And here they came … John, Paul, George and Ringo … guitars and drums in hand, launching into the first song. I was in the second row and from behind me I could hear girlish screams, just like that night 50 years ago when I sat with my parents watching the music world change. Can’t remember what mom and dad thought but I bet they didn’t like the long hair.
Soon two women in front of me were twisting and shouting. One of them pretended to faint and flopped into the lap of the other one. Big smile from John. All night long my new friends moved and grooved, much to the pleasure of the band. Actually, I moved and grooved as well, with a little less throwing of arms into the air. What great fun.
From “She Loves You” to “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band”, we heard it all. And we sang. My teenage life came flooding back to me and I remembered how the Beatles’ music helped keep my self-esteem afloat, even if ravaged by acne and lack of sports prowess. I loved the tender songs, especially “Let It Be” and the big finale – “Hey Jude”. I loved John and his granny glasses. I so much wanted him to sing “Imagine” but I guess he never did it onstage with the other guys.
Jody was right there beside me, rocking to the hits. Thank you for coming with me, my wife.
Before the concert and during it some, I had fun conversations with the woman sitting to my right. We enjoyed each other’s company. After the final bows, though, I looked around and saw her and her husband heading to the exit. No goodbye. That made me sad.
So it was an evening of joyous remembrance, of letting the vocal cords hang out, but tinged with a note of melancholy. Sort of like life. I’ll take it.