Making history sometimes costs a bundle of money and time. We left Stockton for the McCartney, August 14, 2014, closing concert at SF’s Candlestick Park last night at 4pm, thinking that would be plenty of time to grab a bite to eat, and drive the short, 85 mile trip to the event scheduled to start at 8pm. All was well until we hit Hwy 101 North, off the San Mateo Bridge, about 6:30, still plenty of time, we thought, to the short drive past SF International, for the venue.
But it was bumper-to-bumper, (it was the middle of commuter traffic to boot). stop and go for the final 7.5 miles to the stadium. 2 1/2 hours later we were still one mile from the stadium! It was already about getting on to 9pm. We were only temporarily relieved when one of the Bay Area stations talked of the massive traffic jams around the stadium that were resulting in a late start for the concert, since McCartney himself was out there somewhere, stuck in traffic, too!
Luckily, one of the local stations was playing the ENTIRE Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album, which thoroughly primed us for the concert.
When we arrived at the Stadium, it was nearing 9:30 and we could hear McCartney’s voice booming from the loud speakers inside. Every parking lot was full and car lights before and behind us loomed for miles! As we reached the end of all the parking lots, we began to fear that we might never make it inside! That we might have to drive all the way back to Stockton only to tell friends that we never got in or that by the time we had, McCartney was doing his final encore! “Go, go”, our son said, “don’t worry about me, go.” My wife and I bailed out of the car while Miguel, drove the another mile to a dirt parking lot that shamelessly charged $40 for parking, a mile and a half from the stadium!
A small army of Rickshaws, seating up to three (skinny) people was ferrying people from these outer lots to the stadium entrance for $10. bucks a head, so my wife and I hopped one and made it to our seats by about 10 pm. Miguel also took a rickshaw and joined us about 20 minutes later.
As I gazed around the stadium at the 50,000+ devotees in attendance, I got chills. Sir Paul was bigger than life. The waft of Marijuana permeated the concourses and the stadium. I took a deep breath. The crowd, young and old alike, were pumped up for the show. I couldn’t see Paul, as some kind of lighting or camera booth was directly in front of him but the HD giant screens were sharp and clear. The sound was powerful and the lighting dazzling, as he belted out many of the crowd favorites, “Hey Jude”, “Back in the USSR”, and “Live and Let Die” (complete with fireworks.) The hundreds of cell phone lamps swaying back and forth to the chorus of Hey Jude’s, “La, la, la, la-la-la-la,” was well…. spiritual. Luckily, Sir Paul did several encores so the pain of missing half the concert didn’t hurt quite as much. I worried about the 100s of cars still trying to park and get into the venue before it ended.
As we made our way back to the parking lot, we stopped to rest, and I took a final nostalgic look at the now fully lit “Stick.” We walked half ways, to the lot and decided to take another rickshaw back to the car. And that was that. We had been part of history, at a cost.
The drive back was quick and uneventful and we each shared what we thought was a memorable moment from what we had just witnessed. But Obladi, Oblada, life goes on.