Sunday, October 23, 2005

I'm down, I'm really down

Sir Paul McCartney seems like a really nice guy. We were even in the same studio for a while at Capitol Studios, and while we didn't speak to each other, everyone else assured me that he was a really nice guy.

As further proof, we have the following socially active links from his own web page:

Make Poverty

Adopt-A-Minefield UK

The Nelson Mandala Foundation

Heather Mills' anti-Dog & Cat fur petition

Lovely. I'm sure all that social consciousness was helpful to Susan LoTempio when she tried to see Macca in concert:

I WAS 15 when I first saw the Beatles in concert. That was 1965, long before the Americans with Disabilities Act, so wheelchair seating was rather unpredictable. Lucky for me, the ushers at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens pointed me to the front of the arena and told me to stay there.

"There" was right under Paul McCartney's amplifier. A perfect place to be.

"There" last Friday night at Madison Square Garden, 40 years later, was third row on the floor, a few feet away not just from his amplifier, but from Sir Paul himself. An opening night dream seat, you might assume.

Actually, it was a seat from hell.

The ticket was a Mother's Day gift from my 20-year-old daughter. She and my niece scraped together $278, contacted the Garden's disabled services office, and gave me the best gift I've ever received.

Like the thousands of others there that night, I expected a great show, and a great memory.

At the Garden, though, as I was being shown to my seat (a spot at the end of the aisle where a chair had been removed), I wondered if I would be able to see the stage if the fans in front stood up during the show.

Don't worry, the security guards assured me, they know how to handle the situation. I also asked a representative from the Garden's disabled services office. He said the same thing.

When Sir Paul came out and launched into his first number, everyone stood up, and all I could see was a wall of gyrating backsides.

Too close to the stage to even see the huge monitors overhead, I moved into the aisle to try to get a view. The security guard told me to move back. I asked him where I could go to see around the masses of bodies, and he ordered me to stay where I was.

I tried to remain polite, but that painful sensation I get when I'm being dismissed or patronized swept through me and I yelled back, "These tickets cost $300, and I can't see anything."

"Stay there," the security guard shouted, his face just inches from mine. "If you don't like it, you can leave."

There's more. Go read it all.

In all fairness, I'm sure that Paulie would be outraged if he knew about Ms. LoTempio's cavalier treatment by the Garden's crack staff.

But also in fairness, I googled every combination of primary elements in this story, and while I make no claim to be the experienced journalist that, say, Judy Miller is, I could find no mention that this episode had been followed up upon by either the Garden or Sir Paul.

"All you need is love." Maybe you can show some love to this issue too, Paul.

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