As my mother recalls, I asked to go see the Beatles when they played in Milwaukee in September of 1964. I had already seen them on TV many times, had "She Loves You" on 45, and listened to my red transistor radio constantly, the airwaves of which they ruled at the time. Since I was not even out of diapers yet, the idea of me attending a concert was never entertained whatsoever. I don't remember asking to go, but I sure do remember listening to WOKY-AM, their DJs breathless with Beatle updates, and thinking, "The Beatles are in Milwaukee!", knowing that Milwaukee was not too far from where I lived, and just longing to be where the Beatles were.

There is no possible way that it could have been imagined then, by me or anyone at all ever, that almost 49 years later, I would finally be where a Beatle was, listening to Beatles songs performed live, accompanied by my ten-year-old daughter, also a Beatle fan. In this context, thinking back about listening to that little radio and feeling such a strong connection with the music and then zooming fast-forward more than half a lifetime, it is a very personal, emotional thing. I thought about this a lot as I sat in my white folding chair on Safeco Field in Seattle last night as Paul McCartney performed, and as I scanned some of the nearly-50,000 other fan faces there. Every single one of them has some kind of story like mine, whether they are 80 or 8 -- I'm not all that unique. It is a testament to the powerful and lasting good that McCartney and his bandmates brought to the world via their songs and spirits that millions have woven them into their lives so very much. Seeing Paul McCartney isn't a nostalgia trip. It is more an affirmation, an acknowledgement of the joy we can find in life, and no less.

You will notice those photos are from my iPhone. I'll be honest. I didn't put in for a photo pass for this historic show, the first rock concert ever hosted at Safeco Field. As much as I would have loved to shoot the performance and would have worked hard to do a great job, I: 1. didn't have much hope that my modest little site would be approved by McCartney's PR peeps, and...well; 2. go ahead and Google something like "Paul McCartney lost his voice." Yes, on the first page of results returned you will find an article by yours truly, lamenting that McCartney's days as a stellar singer were dead and gone. I don't regret what I wrote then, for it is true that in many of the performances I've heard of McCartney's over the last few years, his voice had noticeably weakened. I wondered if it was fair or right that McCartney keep touring if he could not offer his best self to the paying public anymore. I felt sad that younger fans would hear an age-altered voice and wonder what all the fuss was ever about. I concluded that it didn't really matter that much in the end, that if folks still wanted to see him and were entertained, and that McCartney enjoyed playing, that was more than enough value. With this in mind, I was very excited to go to the show at Safeco, but thought I should keep my vocal expectations on the low side as to not let an over-critical nature lessen the amazing experience of my just being there in the first place, in the 16th row, center, with Miss Ten by my side.

Guess what?

Paul McCartney HANDED ME MY ASS ON A PLATE last night, and I could not be happier about it! He sounded GREAT. Were there any vocal glitches? Yes, but really not any more than you would hear from any singer at any show. I'd say a good 90% of the time, dude was SPOT ON. I can't even tell you the level of delight I felt as the show went on and he just kept SLAM-DUNKING song after song. You want more context to what a big deal this is? McCartney is 71 years old, played for nearly THREE HOURS with 39 SONGS, danced and jumped, switched from bass to guitar to grand piano, and handled vocal duties ranging from delicate...

Paul McCartney, "Blackbird," Safeco Field, Seattle, WA. 7/19/13 poppy...

Paul McCartney, "Lovely Rita," Safeco Field, Seattle, WA. 7/19/13 (just sit down right now, trust me on this) SCREAMIN' WITH NIRVANA! WOW!

Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear, "Cut Me Some Slack," Safeco Field, Seattle WA. 7/19/13

With every song, I clapped louder and longer, yelled more, and smiled wider. Go, buddy, go!

Particularly sweet for me was glancing over to see Miss Ten's face as McCartney began to play "Eleanor Rigby," a favorite of hers. Particularly fun was watching her laugh at the weird animated video backdrop to "All Together Now." Particularly funny was her asking me "What's that smell?? It's like onions and smoke." Don't breathe in too much, dear!

As one would expect, McCartney's band was flawless throughout the night, and seemed to be having as much fun as he was, as everyone in the place was. But the most emotional moment of the night for me was also a surprise. It came during "Yesterday," arguably McCartney's most-successful and best-loved song. Of course I love the song, too, but never counted it as one of my MOST all-time Beatle faves. But as Paul began to perform the song under a solo spotlight and I watched, close enough to see his so-familiar face without looking at the giant screens to either side of the stage, my mind unexpectedly yanked me back in time. A year after my toddler-style attempt to see the Beatles play, like every Sunday night, my family and I were watching "The Ed Sullivan Show," as the Beatles were set to appear once again. Whenever the Beatles were on TV, says Mom, I would go crazy, boxing out the TV screen so no one would block my view, screaming along with the televised teen fans, jumping up and down like a demented bunny. But in this Sullivan performance, my attention was specially focused on Paul McCartney. As he sang the Beatles' new single, "Yesterday," all by himself, I was mesmerized. Decades passed before I ever saw the performance again -- remember, videotape and DVD and YouTube are relatively-recent things. When you saw the Beatles on TV then, you saw it once, and it was gone forever.

As I watched Paul perform the song just feet away from me last night, I remembered that I had spent countless hours during those decades growing up willing myself to remember that 1965 performance of "Yesterday," that I couldn't bear to forget it. I would think so hard about the fragments that remained in my mind, trying to piece it together into something I could see and hear again, replaying it inside my head as best I could. It was important that I not forget it. The first time I saw those Sullivan performances again as an adult, I cried my eyes out, in some mix of happiness, relief, and an acute awareness of the passage of time.

To hear the song played by McCartney again, just as lovely, to be there to see it myself, I realized, was a damn miracle. To travel that road along with him all these years, as so many of us have in our ways, and to meet up under a summer night's sky to sing along with him, is a gift I will never forget, no matter how long I live nor how hard I must work to see his face in my mind as I grow older, too.

On behalf of myself and the group, I hope we passed the audition, Paul. Thank you for coming to Seattle to play and sing for us.

Paul McCartney, Safeco Field, Seattle, WA.7/19/13 setlist:

Eight Days a Week
Junior’s Farm
All My Loving
Listen To What the Man Said
Let Me Roll It
Paperback Writer
My Valentine
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
The Long and Winding Road
Maybe I’m Amazed
I’ve Just Seen a Face
We Can Work It Out
Another Day
And I Love Her
Here Today
Your Mother Should Know
Lady Madonna
All Together Now
Lovely Rita
Mrs. Vanderbilt
Eleanor Rigby
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Band on the Run
Back in the USSR
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
Hey Jude

Encores (featuring Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear of Nirvana):
Day Tripper
Cut Me Some Slack
Get Back 
Long Tall Sally
Helter Skelter
Golden Slumbers
Carry That Weight
The End