lunes, 1 de agosto de 2011



A man for the ages

Paul McCartney's Wrigley fans come from here, there and everywhere

August 1, 2011
You'd think the crowd at Sunday's Paul McCartney concert, the first of two sold-out shows at Wrigley Field, would have been mobbed with baby boomers.
There were many, to be sure, such as Jeff Thompson, 59, a suburbanite who was introduced to the music of the Beatles shortly after the group's 1965 appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Like so many of his generation, Thompson remained a fan for life. Sunday, he wore a faded, decades-old "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" T-shirt and clutched a single ticket assigned to a primo spot on the field.
"I'm ecstatic," he said as he waited to enter the stadium. "I want to sing 'Hey Jude' with Paul."
But on that field, where the face value of tickets averaged $250, the mood was anything but retro. Prior to the show, a laptop DJ wearing an off-kilter Cubs visor remixed a reggaeton version of "Come Together" with Wings covers while scantily clad 20-something girls tried sweet-talking the ushers into letting them approach the stage.
One look at the crowd and it was apparent that there were as many who had learned of the Beatles in the mid-1960s as those who hadn't even been born until the mid-1990s.
A half-hour prior to showtime, sitting in the front row, center stage, with an unobstructed view of the full rock set-up and Yamaha piano were two boys, one of whom could have passed for 10 years old. His name was Kyle Craven, and he'd been given the concert ticket for his 14th birthday.
"This is all I got," he said, "but it's so worth it."
Craven explained that he was introduced to the Beatles two years ago, around the time he "got mad at all that pop stuff" he was hearing on the radio whose lyrics he felt were unsubstantial.
"So my parents asked me if I knew about rock music," he said, and introduced Craven to Led Zeppelin, and the Beatles, via "Let It Be."
And thus a 21st-century Beatles fan was born.
Sunday's crowd ran the gamut, from families like the Cravens to hard-core fans in their 30s and 40s. Among them was Manuela Dillon, 32, visiting from Toronto. When asked how many times she had seen McCartney perform, the answer was seven — this year. And total?
"Countless," Dillon said, sporting a custom-made white dress covered with neat, black silk-screened images of McCartney, Beatles and Wings logos.
You'd think it would get old, seeing the same performer so many times.
"Never," Dillon said. "He does a really nice variety (of songs)."
Shortly before McCartney kicked off his set with "Hello, Goodbye" to a roaring crowd, 55-year-old Cathy O'Leary swirled a plastic cup of white wine, gazing toward the stage.
"I've admired him since he was 5 inches away from me on the television screen," said O'Leary, who grew up on the Northwest Side. "I was 10 years old, and I've been a fan ever since."
Wrigley marked her first time seeing McCartney in any iteration.
"I didn't give it a second thought," O'Leary said of her decision to buy tickets. "He's just … he's a legend. He's a living legend."

Twitter @LaurenViera
Copyright © 2011, Chicago Tribune 
A youngster naps on Waveland Avenue before Sunday night's Paul McCartney show at Wrigley Field. (Scott Strazzante/Tribune / July 31, 2011)

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