Many people will ask me, "Saf, did you get to see your Liverpool hero, Paul McCartney, on the "Out There" tour in Pittsburgh last night?" In what might be the strangest, smuggest, honestly bizarre answer in the history of rock concert-going attendance...
Yes, Yes and a resounding NO.
I'll start from the beginning (as I always do).
G got off work at 4pm and we ate a light vegan inspired dinner of pesto and salad. Why do we eat pesto? In the immortal words of George Costanza, "I don't know. Because it makes us feel important."
In a meager attempt to invoke that sixties "peace and love" spirit I spelled out the word Paul McCartney in Cheez-It Scrabble form on her kitchen counter.
Obviously, I couldn't find a "P"or an extra "C', so we were left with the Hispanic version. This made sense to me as my picks for the World Cup final are Brazil vs. Argentina. It would represent an eerie, ominous, foreboding lesson of what would eventually transpire on the cusp of Consolidated Beatlemania Energy Center. Alas, I would get stopped at the border by the immigration SWAT team.
So we booked on down to Consol on the early side. We snagged our usual parking spot at the Church of the Moops. Armed with plastic-infused water bottles of Naked Grape and Stone Cellar, we headed into the fray. It was a Cabernet cold-blooded kinda night. And it was going to to be a tough ticket. This show was totally sold-out. We needed to summon our A game.
Sir Macca had just returned from a viral illness that side-lined him for about a month and a half. Hey, that Beatle ain't no spring chicken. To be honest, neither am I. My ticket panhandling skills have been Burhgedly-diminished over the years.
Our sole weaponry: two ghetto signs and an arsenal of spirit.
Front and Back:
And this Maury Povich inspired one I scribbled while watching a paternity test gone wrong. As you may have guessed, Shameka's claims of fatherhood had gone awry. Turns out that T-Mount was not the baby McDaddy.
2 Yinzer CHiPPeR motorcycles zipped by us. The sirens and lights were blaring on Centre Avenue. Paul McCartney, accompanied by a police escort, stuck his arm out the window of a lone SUV. As it blew past us, he smiled and waved. A thin-haired woman resembling Alf's overly-curious neighbor hooted and hollered. G tried to take a phone pic but was a little too late as the drive by transpired in a matter of 3 seconds. This marked our first encounter with Sir Paul. Very kewl. I've always liked police escorts... except when I'm the one being escorted.
We made our way down to the staging area of Fifth Ave. and Washington. Like I said, it was going to be a difficult snag. The scalpers were out in full force but seemed to be having minimal success. Neither were we. There wasn't much in the way of extras floating around. Needless to say, it's inherently more difficult if you're trying to score a freebie. $100-$200 seemed to be the going rate.
A mighty crowd had gathered. For some reason, they were reluctant to open the doors at 7 pm. By 7:30pm the throng had thickened into a morass of Thanksgiving gravy.
But our spirits were high. Concert-goers embraced our signage. Many asked for pictures and pseudo-selfies. Even though I thought we were getting too much credit (the signs were lame), we were more than happy to oblige.
We briefly encountered our hometown accomplices --- Kelly Pizza and Funky Cold Adena. They seemed eager to fork over some cash and headed in the direction of the "scalper-shakedown-street" across the way. The regular scalpers seemed to know what was what. Perhaps we should have known better and stayed across the street as well. Oh well.
Crunch time (7:30pm) was rapidly approaching. Two of Pittsburgh's finest approached G and told her to get rid of the sign. They both resembled "distant cousins" of the Morton Salt Girl. Both were draped in militarized Kevlar, bullet proof vests. The female seemed eager for urban combat. She was physically dense and threw her weight around accordingly. Resembling a portly, crew-cutted, off-season penguin, he was also prepared to tame the Sewickley-Upper St. Clair rebellion.
Having been admonished, G courteously complied and threw it in the trash. Shortly thereafter, some guy handed her a print-out ticket. BINGO BANGO. One free ticket secured! In the words of Alice Cooper --- HELLO, HURRAY... let the show begin. G handed me the ticket and gandered into the upstairs lobby area, searching for that second McMiracle.
Suddenly, I was accosted by the female cop. At this point I wasn't even asking for a ticket. I was merely making conversation about human stampedes with a guy handing out vegetarian pamphlets. I thought that some of the content was a tad extreme. The literature invoked a pig having his scrotum and testicles forcibly ripped apart. The picture was brutal. You could really feel the anguished oink of pigman.
Although I wasn't panhandling at that particular moment, the salty feminine sodium cop told me to "get out of here." So I complied and headed to the upper entrance.
I figured I'd meet up with G in the lobby. I wandered up top and was quickly encountered by Morton-Man. He instantly grabbed me by the shoulder. Beads of sweat dripped off his forehead. Good sweat. Nice beads (Elaine Benes).
"YOU WERE WARNED!!!" I tried to explain that I had a legit ticket and was just going to connect with my woman but he didn't give a damn. He strong-armed me out the door. Very threatening. I ALREADY TOLD YOU ONCE!!! I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF YOU" I tried to explain, "I just want to go in. I have a ticket." He didn't care and physically manhandled me out the entrance.
So I relented. Seriously, what was I going to do. This cop was pissed off - probably taking out all his aggression on me for that one moment in time--- when his date stood him up at the Zelienople junior prom.
I spotted G in the distance. She gave me the "just lay low" wave. So I hung out by the Cambria Suites and made small talk with the parking garage attendants.
About 10 minutes had passed. I could here the slight rumbling of the concert from inside Consol. Bummer. I was beginning to lose hope. But we still had a single. I told G to head in and I would wait it out, maybe just hang at the hotel bar. Suddenly, out of nowhere, this dude appeared with 4 (YES... FOUR) extra tickets. He dished her off a freebie and headed inside. I guess he ate the other 3. Ticketmaster tix have a distinct polyurethane tinge... so it's not like fine dining at Meat and Potatoes. Still, it's hard to argue with a freebie.
G cried out like the kid in Charlie and Chocolate Factory. "That guy just gave me a free ticket!!!" She exclaimed to anyone in earshot. So once again... hello, hooray... let the show begin.
She snatched me up and we made our way to the parking garage entrance (it connects to the arena). For some strange reason, a Consol usher beckoned, "You can't get in that way!" Well... I should have known. I was already a bit hesitant, but this set off a red flag in my head. A. He was incorrect and B. Why would he care? So we went to the main entrance and they scanned our tickets. "Enjoy the concert," were the last words of pleasantry I would hear. Even though I couldn't see them, I could sense the salt cops. I could smell the swine sweat.
I knew something was askew so I grabbed G's hand and we darted toward the escalator, making a sharp left. Just as we reached the top, Morton Salt man-cop emerged out of nowhere. He was enraged. "WE TOLD YOU THREE TIMES, YOU STUPID SON OF A BITCH. NOW YER GOING TO JAIL! PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR BACK!"
He heavy-handedly cuffed me and yelled, "YOU THINK YER GONNA MAKE A FOOL OUTTA ME?" I tried to explain that my ticket was legit and I just wanted to see Paul McCartney. He didn't give a shit. He was profusely dripping as he iron-fistedly pushed me into the elevator. I was completely deferential and utterly apologetic, but I quickly realized that he wasn't going to let it go. At this point, I quickly surmised my odds of going to jail were maybe about 20/80. Even though my only crime was asking for a freebie ticket. Technically, I hadn't even been successful. G scored both tix.
The ushers were mesmerized. I heard them murmur, "What did he do?" "Why is he under arrest?" WHERE'S YOUR WALLET? GIMME YOUR ID! Female militant salted cod pig emerged on the scene. They both hollered at me to stop resisting. Truthfully, I wasn't doing anything. I was being completely and utterly passive. Trust me, I know when to kiss ass and throw any smidgeon of self-dignity out the window. Oddly enough, the song "Let Me Roll It" was playing in the background. It's one of the few I don't care for.
So G shows up in tears. "Why are you doing this? We didn't do anything? We both have tickets to the concert." Female sodium chloride threatens to arrest her as well. To make a long a story short, they kick us both out the door and demand we hand over our tickets (smart move on their part... confiscate any evidence whatsoever). They give us a stark ultimatum. "If we see you on the property at anytime tonight, you will go to jail!" Sensing defeat (along the lines of the Palestinians), but in way, sensing a little relief (like Edward Snowden in a Moscow airport), he proceeded to uncuff me. But then for some bizarre reason, he started screaming at me to "PUT YOUR HANDS ON YOUR HEAD!" The plump-chunk-clump of mammary cop chimed in as well. "YEAH, GET YOUR HAND ON YOUR HEAD!" Believe me, I wasn't doing anything whatsoever. I think it was some kind of a menacing intimidation, a parting shot if you will... maybe so we wouldn't file a complaint. I mean technically speaking, these two cops robbed us. Seriously, what they did was pretty much a strong armed robbery. It just wasn't a typical "gimme all your money" stick-up job.
Transvaginal mesh cop glared at us both. She was silently fuming and for some reason, she stomped her boots on the pavement. I have absolutely no idea what that was about. Kind of like a Costanza "Koko the Monkey" routine minus the flailing arms.
On our way back to the car, we lamented and consoled each other. Like I was saying --- a little distraught, but a little relieved. G was more upset than me. My wrist was pretty sore. The cop had cuffed my wrist sideways. And it wasn't the only cuff a hurtin'. My shoulder/rotator cuff has been really bad the past week from a lawn mowing mishap. I slipped and fell on the hillside by my deck, but valiantly clung to Old Ironsides (Jenn and Justin's lawn mower).
So all in all, I guess we saw Paul McCartney twice in the same evening. First, he waved out his car window. Second, we heard him in the lobby. But there would be no third. Oh well, it's not like we didn't try. And at least we didn't pay. Of course, we DID pay. But in a different sense.
So if by any chance, you happen to read this blog and would like to pay it forward and give us the opportunity to see Paul McCartney's latest tour, we would be more than happy to oblige. In the interim, I will continue my efforts to improve humanity. I will continue to preach awareness regarding the most generically overlooked, hypothetical, asymmetric national disaster of our generation. The artificially generated stampede. Unlike the Zone 2 Hill (Street Blues) District Pittsburgh porkers, I'm actually trying to improve the world. However, the jury's still out.
All I ask is just a teeny, tiny bit of gratitude. All I wanted to hear was "Listen to What the Man Said." Is that really asking to much? In retrospect, I certainly had to "listen to the what the man
I also had to "listen to what the iodized cunt said," but that's neither here nor there. Live and let die, I suppose.
Paul McCartney, 1989, Riverfront Coliseum, Cincinnati, OH (one of my all-time favorite concerts) *
Paul McCartney, 2002, Gund Arena, Cleveland, OH
Paul McCartney, 2010, Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA *
Paul McCartney, 2014, 4 minutes in the lobby of Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA *
I doubt he'll be back.
He closes every show with "The End." Sounds a bit prophetic, ehh?
* Oddly enough, every show was a freebie except for the one at the Gunt. If memory serves me correct, me and G Mo (the artist formerly known as Shirtless Mo) each forked over $20 for some singles.