My Journey in Space with Paul McCartney

It was a boring weekend sometime last year. I was lazily browsing music videos and concert footages of The Beatles on YouTube when I came across this amazing video – Please, Please Me performed by Sir Paul McCartney and his band during his The Space within US concert tour last 2005.

I hate doing comparisons when it comes to music but I thought to myself that Paul’s performance of Please, Please Me in this concert is better than the original recording on the 1960 album of the same title. Don’t get me wrong. I am a big fan of the four Beatles – Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, Starr – and their music but I think, this performance brought the song to a new level. Maybe because of technology (musical instruments, gears, effects, production) or maybe because of the diverse crowd that the song became livelier. I may be wrong but I think Paul and his band made this 1960 song apt for his 2005 audience and listeners.

After repeatedly raping the replay button of the abovementioned video, I searched and watched the other videos from the same concert that were uploaded by the same user. I got goosebumps when I heard the head-banging guitar riff of Helter Skelter (which, they said, is the best live version of the song); I felt that I was with the crowd when I watched the opening song Magical Mystery TourI felt like floating in the air with the love anthems I Will and Till There Was Youand I immediately went in front of my piano and play the song a la McCartney after I heard Penny Lane.

After seeing the videos, I told myself that I should wath the whole set of that concert. Unfortunately, the YouTube channel didn’t upload the other songs from the concert. So I find a way to obtain a copy. It took me more than two (2) weeks before finally getting myself a clear copy (you know, connection and seeders issue, if you know what I mean) but it was worth the wait. After repeatedly watching the whole concert, I never looked at Sir Paul McCartney the same way again.

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The Space within US is a concert DVD by Sir Paul McCartney released in november 2006. It is composed of the footage from his ‘US’ tour in 2005 in the United states in concurrence with the release of his chaos and Creation in the Backyard album. Joining him in the tour are his band members Rusty Anderson, Brian Ray, Paul “Wix” Wickens, and Abe Laboriel Jr.

The DVD gives us a close and personal view on what Paul McCartney’s 2005 tour looked like. It showcases his music, behind the scenes (backstage, the soundcheck, trips inside a private jet and a touring bus, and his surprise visit to a family whose three generations are fans of his), and interviews with some prominent persons such as Jay-Z, Paul Stanley of Kiss, former US President Bill Clinton, Tony Bennett, Cameron Crowe, and Steve Jobs.

The song opened with the Beatles classic Magical Mystery Tour and Paul played his his other hits – from The Beatles, Wings, up to his solo career – throughout the whole set of 28 songs and ending it with a bang with the abovementioned video Please Please Me.

Paul McCartney is a great and talented musician – there is no question in that. But what struck me most is how his influence spanned almost three (or four) generations of fans and musicians. Watching the concert video, I see families watching his show. There are also teenagers and young kids who were born long after Paul’s heydays in his stint with The Beatles and Wings. One writer remarked that the same audience who went screaming at The Beatles’ performance at the Ed Sullivan Show in the 1960’s (during their first visit in the US) were also the same audience watchin Paul’s 2005 tour – together with their children and grandchildren. A musical career spanning for almost fifty years? That is just, wow.

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My other favorite part of the concert video was when they did a live broadcast at the International Space Station. Yes, a live broadcast miles above the earth when Paul serenaded two astronauts, William McArthur and Valeri Ivanovich Tokarev, with the song English Tea as their ‘wake-up call’. One of them even described Paul as an ‘explorer’ just as they are because all of them are ensuring a bright future for all the kids of the earth.

I may have not watched the concert with the crowd at Anaheim, California but watching the video felt like being one with them, traveling in the vast space with Paul’s great music. Watching and listening to his concert felt like being carefree and floating peacefully in outer space.

This concert changed the way I view Paul McCartney. Yes, he may not be my favorite Beatle (it will always be John), but his music and legacy puts him on a certain, special place for my musical heroes.

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And today, on his 70th birthday, I salute the ‘greatest composer of the millennium’, the ageless Beatle, the Knight, and the other half of the Lennon-McCartney musical tandem. Thank you for the music. Thank you for the great anthems. I salute your legacy, good Sir.

I will always be a fan.

Ecce cor meum.

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Let me share you a personal experience on why we should teach today’s generation the difference between great music and crap. During one of my classes with my third grade students, I showed them a picture of The Beatles and asked them if they know who the Beatles are. After a few seconds of silence, one of them raised his hand and asked me,“Sir, are they trying to copy the hairstyle of Justin Bieber?”

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