Hamilton loves Paul — yeah, yeah, yeah!
Visit by Beatle stirs up nostalgia about the band that changed the face of music
The Hammer was smitten by McCartneymania.
Amid the noisy buildup of scalpers, T-shirt salespeople, buskers, beeping horns, and gesticulating parking directors Thursday night, a long lineup of buzzing fans slung around the front of the FirstOntario Centre, all the way to the corner of King William Street and James Street North.
The old and new fans — but mostly older — were tickled with excitement to have the first chance to see Paul McCartney in Hamilton.
“I wanted to see him before I die,” said 58-year-old Bob Vandenberg, whose 18-year-old son David Vandenberg had gifted him his chance to see McCartney for the first time on Father’s Day, despite his modest college budget.
The Beatles have been Bob’s Number 1 band since the ’60s, a time when he says the world “was ready for something new.”
Bob’s love of the Beatles has been passed onto his son, spending time listening to McCartney’s 2002 “Back in the U.S.” DVD every Sunday, said David.
They showed up hours early to get a close glimpse of the star, as he hopped off one of the three big black tour buses parked outside of FirstOntario Centre.
“I tried to give him a high five, I was like two feet away, but I was afraid of security,” said David.
By 7:30 p.m. parking lots surrounding FirstOntario were already full, with cars circling like hawks for a spot closer to the ever increasing lineup. Lots normally charging $10 were charging $40, and having no problem filling up.
While there were no throngs of teenaged girls screaming like in the ’60s, there were a few in the crowd that remember Beatlemania.
“I was one of those teeny boppers that wanted to marry Paul McCartney,” said 65-year-old Joanne Grysak. She saw the Beatles live at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1964 and 1965.
“When my girlfriend I went into Maple Leaf Gardens, before they came out, everyone started screaming at the top of their lungs. This hysteria, you were just drawn in. It was almost like you couldn’t control yourself.”
She remembers the Beatles being everywhere — in the newspapers, magazines, on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” and everyone being glued to “their little transistor radios.”
“Unlike Elvis they were just more open and free with their music,” said Grysak.
Hamilton native and professional musician, Christopher Clause, says he owes his love of music to the Beatles, and has even performed Beatle tributes for local charity Gracenotes. Though he’s been to every McCartney performance in Ontario since 1989, he couldn’t pass up the chance to let his 17-year-old daughter and 12year-old son see the man who inspired him to become a musician.
Clause said he expected 74-yearold McCartney would perform as well as he did when he was younger.
“He doesn’t even take a sip of water. He just has that energy.”
I was one of those teeny boppers that wanted to marry Paul McCartney. JOANNE GRYSAK