How we got front-row seats to Paul McCartney’s Vancouver show
BIV reporter Tyler Orton chronicles how he went from the nosebleeds to the front row at Paul McCartney's April 19 concert in Vancouver
By Tyler Orton
April 20, 2016
Paul McCartney played Rogers Arena on April 19 | Photo: Tyler Orton
The upper bowl of Rogers Arena wasn’t exactly what I was aiming for last month when I bought tickets to Paul McCartney’s Tuesday (April 19) show in Vancouver.
But it was the best I could muster after clicking refresh on my desktop computer until my pointer finger was nearly blistered.
Besides, I was seeing a Beatle perform live. I didn’t mind that, from my vantage point on the opposite end of the arena, he would look to be the size of a clipped pinky-toe nail.
So when my girlfriend and I began the pilgrimage from the arena’s doors to our nosebleed seats at Macca’s show, I admit to being a little cagey when a woman approached us.
“Are you sitting around here?” she asked.
“Are you superfans?”
I stupidly peppered her with questions about why she wanted to know. Probably because I’m used to people asking if I want to sign up for a credit card when I go to arenas.
Her answer seemed to make sense: “I work for Paul.”
OK, now she had my full attention even if she could just be playing a very cruel joke on us. Or maybe she really, really wanted to sign us up for a credit card.
After explaining we’d been blasting Beatles albums on vinyl before leaving the apartment that evening, she handed us a white envelope and told us to enjoy the evening.
I spent a good part of the next three hours waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under us after realizing “Aliya” had just handed us a pair of tickets for front-row seats. We’d be metres from Paul.
The three of us exchanged hugs at my behest and we were on our way to the floor.
And to my surprise, security didn’t stop us at any point to tell us the tickets were fakes.
This was really happening.
Earlier this week, Business In Vancouver ran a story discussing how downtown businesses are dealing with the Canucks missing the playoffs this year.
The story dissected all the other events hitting Vancouver this spring and I quipped on this week’s BIV podcast that I was part of the solution — I was attending Paul McCartney’s show.
But getting front row seats to a show like this was never something I contemplated.
It only really began to sink in when Paul came out with his signature bass guitar to open the show with “A Hard Day's Night.”
He was as far away from us as the fridge and the vending machine are in BIV’s office kitchen. I could make out the scratches on his instruments, the details on his jacket and shirt. I could even see what colour picks he was using.
Being so close does have its disadvantages, though.
When he stepped even closer to us, we didn’t realize he was going onto an elevated stage. As he towered above us, we couldn’t see anything but his right hand holding the neck of his guitar while playing “Blackbird.”
Small price to pay.
Still, my hand kept reaching for my iPhone every time he stepped behind the piano.
“Would this be ‘Live and Let Die’?” I asked again and again.
There was no question what song it was when he finally belted it out, pyrotechnics blasting all around us.
“Do I still have my eyebrows?” my girlfriend asked.
At least I think those were her exact words — tough to tell during the most explosive five minutes of the night.
I know there aren’t really any obscure Beatles tunes but the one I didn’t think had much of a chance getting played was the “Golden Slumbers”/“Carry That Weight”/”The End” medley from Abbey Road.
The show started just after 8 p.m. and by 11-ish, I figured it just wasn’t going to happen.
Paul already got the audience to holler out the refrain to “Hey Jude” (apologies to my seat neighbours). How could he really top that?
But maybe, just maybe, Paul saw that hopeful look in my eyes that just called out for the Abbey Road medley.
And the band played the medley, managing to perfectly emulate the George-John-Paul guitar solo contest that capped “The End.”
So if in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make, I suppose have a lot to make up for after taking those front-row tickets.
“Band on the Run”
“Back in the U.S.S.R.”
Tyler Orton is a reporter at Business In Vancouver as well as a giant Beatles fan. Just last week, he told a friend Abbey Road would make his list of top five desert island albums. After Tuesday’s Paul McCartney show, Tyler would be OK with Abbey Road being his one and only desert island record.
The view is amazing from 5th row Rogers Arena! @PaulMcCartney @brianrayguitar #OneOnOneTour
Paul played "Coming Up" at Soundcheck today in Vancouver!
Thanks #PaulMcCartney! #CNIB #ICanSeeYou
YOU CAN SEE THE SHOW LIVE IN PERISCOPE
THE SHOW :