Even at age 68, Sir Paul McCartney is still rock royalty

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found I still like to listen to the kind of
music I grew up listening to.
That’s why when I found out Paul McCartney was going to appear in concert at the Pepsi Center in Denver, I knew I had to go.
When I mentioned my plans to see one of the two living members of the most famous rock ’n’ roll band ever, I was surprised how many people seemed unimpressed. I thought, how many times do you get the chance to see one of the former Beatles live in concert?
This was actually my second time to see Paul McCartney in concert. I saw him for the first time 20 years ago when I was living in Ames, Iowa, where I was working as the sports editor at the paper there.
He put on a great show that time. I’ll always remember when he sang the song “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” I was sitting on the top row of the Iowa State University football stadium, where the concert was held, and you could literally feel the structure moving, because of the crowd swaying and dancing to the music.
That show remains one of my all-time concert memories.
Last Thursday night’s concert — my second time to see Paul McCartney — has to rank up there as one of my favorite concerts, too.
The former Beatle and his band put on a fantastic show. Even if you weren’t a Beatles fan, you would have had to be impressed. McCartney and his band mates played their hearts out, going for three solid hours and two encore performances. The concert’s set list included popular Beatles songs like “Paperback Writer,” “Get Back,” “The Long and Winding Road,” “Back in the USSR,” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” as well as the anthem-like songs “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude.” In addition, McCartney performed songs from his post-Beatle era, songs like “Band On The Run,” “My Love” and “Live and Let Die,” which were tunes from the Wings days — the name of his band he formed after the Beatles broke up.
Throughout the concert, I was texting my two oldest children, who are 21 and 19, about this song and that song. They are both big Beatles fans, something they must have inherited from their old man. As I was watching the show, I kept wishing Carrie and Clay could be there. Turns out, they were able to get tickets to the next stop on McCartney’s concert tour, which happens to be this Saturday in Kansas City, Mo. That’s close to where they live in Lawrence, Kan., my hometown.
Fan or not, you have to tip your hat to the guy. McCartney, at 68, still performs with a youthful exuberance. The guy is a natural entertainer. He knows how to play to the crowd.
McCartney always was “the cute Beatle.” But there were times during the concert when there was a look of sadness in his face, like when he performed songs dedicated to his late wife and two of the former members of the Beatles. McCartney’s first wife, Linda, died of breast cancer in 1998.
Two of the Beatles, of course, are sadly gone — John Lennon, who was gunned down by a madman in 1980 in New York City and George Harrison, who died of cancer in 2001. That leaves only McCartney and the drummer Ringo Starr as the two surviving members of the band. A week before McCartney’s concert in Denver, I saw on his website where he had shown up at a Ringo concert in New York City and surprised his old friend, who turned 70, by playing the Beatles “Birthday” song. You know the one, “They say it’s your birthday …”
For people who aren’t Beatles fans, I suppose it’s hard to understand what these songs mean to those of us who discovered the magic of rock ’n’ roll through the songs of the Beatles. I remember listening to other bands like Three Dog Night and Creedence Clearwater Revival and Chicago when I was a kid. But no band influenced me and my rock ’n’ roll education more than the Beatles.
I don’t remember at what age I became aware of the Beatles, but I think I was in the fourth or fifth grade. I remember a friend and I formed our own Beatles fan club. We used black magic markers and wrote “Beatles Fan Club” on white T-shirts. And we eagerly anticipated the arrival of the next Beatles album at our local record store. I still remember when I bought the Beatles “St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album. I listened to that thing all the time.
I’ve always loved reading history, so I’ve read quite a few of the many books that have been written about the Beatles. My fascination with the group has continued as both I and the band’s famous members grew older.
So, here I am, more than 40 years after I first remember hearing about the Beatles, and I’m still a fan. That’s why when I found out Paul McCartney was coming to Denver, I immediately knew it was a must-see concert.
It will probably be the last time the two of us will ever see each other.
• • • • •
Turns out, Spring Cave at South Fork is not closed. At least, not yet anyway.
Last week, it was reported the U.S. Forest Service was closing all of its caves in the region, which would have included the popular Spring Cave. But, not so fast.
“None of our caves are closed at this point,” said Janelle Smith, a spokeswoman with the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region. “What’s on the table is an option where we’re looking at closing all service caves throughout the region … to try to slow the spread (of White-Nose Syndrome) based on human activity.”
Asked about last week’s report of cave closings, Smith said, “That’s just erroneous. We haven’t made the final decision yet. I’m not going to put a timetable on it. It’s kind of a moving target. I would say soon, but we don’t know what the final decision will be.”
Tom Tucker of Buford Lodge was glad to learn Spring Cave had not been closed.
“We have quite a few people who include that in their trip,” Tucker said. “I’ve never even seen a bat up there, and I’ve been going (to Spring Cave) for 50 years.’
If the Forest Service closes caves in Colorado and other states in the region, it would be as a precautionary measure to deal with the spread of White-Nose Syndrome.
“It has spread so rapidly,” Forest Service spokeswoman Smith said of the disease. “It was first detected in 2006 in New York and has a devastating effect on bat populations.”
• • • • •
The Herald Times Facebook asked readers about their favorite part of the 125th anniversary Range Call celebration. Here are some of the comments …
“The fireworks were the best in years! I sure wish the parade had more floats like it used to.”
“The fireworks and the vendors — food, crafts and services. Who doesn’t enjoy the fireworks? For such a small town we have a GREAT show! And every year, the vendors give us such a variety of things to look at and buy. Great job to all who put it together.”
“My favorite part of the celebrations was the flag bearer on her beautiful horse at the pageant that didn’t get killed, stomped or thrown as they set the fireworks off during the singing of the national anthem. Brave girl, awesome horse, dumb idea, though. My horse would still be running if we’d set such huge fireworks off around her.”
“The concert was GREAT! Loved the rodeos, and the barn dances were fun. It was a great turnout for the concert. Missed the pageant and now regret it, but fun fun!”
• • • • •
A story in the Herald Times about Meeker saddle maker Bob Klenda, who was recently honored with an international award for leather work, also generated some comments from Facebook readers …
“The man is a true artist.”
“Saddle making is such a lost art and I am happy there are people in the community who still do it!”
“And (he) takes time to work with our 4-H youth!”
• • • • •
At a meeting tonight, the Rangely School Board is expected to take action on the hiring of a new principal at Rangely Junior/Senior High to replace Rob Winn, whose contract was not renewed.
“At this point, we have not made an official decision on a principal,” said Superintendent Barry Williams. “We have a board meeting on Thursday and will hopefully have a recommendation and approval of a new principal at that time.”
The school district is also expected to announce the hirings of a new boys’ basketball coach and wrestling coach.
• • • • •
Congratulations to Ryan Huitt of Rangely, who received four second-place awards at the annual National Taxidermists Association convention last weekend in Springfield, Ill.
• • • • •
Clifford Duncan, an elder with the Ute Tribe, was in town last week to give a “Campfire Stories” performance at the Paintbrush Park pavilion.
Duncan has been a part of Meeker’s Smoking River Powwow the past two years, but organizers are still looking for a sponsor to take over funding and coordination of the event. So there won’t be a powwow this year.
“There’s nothing new (to report),” said Liz Turner, one of the powwow’s original organizers. “If we can just figure out a way to get financing.”
Turner said a powwow-related event may be scheduled for National Public Lands Day on Sept. 25.
“Maybe something on the courthouse lawn,” she said. “I’m thinking some of the folks would come over (from Fort Duchesne, Utah, tribal headquarters for the Utes).”
• • • • •
I walked into a business last week and was greeted with a question you don’t hear every day, “Hey, how’s your butt?”
After writing recently about my sciatic nerve troubles, which sent sharp pains down my, yes, butt and left leg, I received some interesting e-mails. Like,”How is your tush?” and “You’re not a pain in the a..”
So, thank you to all who expressed concern. It’s nice to know people care.
And, by the way, my butt is doing better.

Jeff Burkhead is editor of the Herald Times. You may e-mail him at jeff@theheraldtimes.com.


  1. I work in Jerome, Idaho and one of my co workers got tickets for Paul M. concert in Salt Lke City as a birthday gift to himself. He said it was fantastic. He sang over 40 plus songs! Now that’s a concert!

  2. When I saw The Rolling Stones in Denver about 11 years ago, they played non-stop for 2.5+ hours; Mick left the stage for about 10 minutes to change shirt and probably get some oxygen! Do not see that many concerts where the band doesn’t take a mid-concert break and these guys were in their late 50’s then (not so old I guess)

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