It turns out Winnipeg was quite interested in listening to what the man had to say.

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This article was published 12/8/2013 (2990 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press 
A thrifty fan gets to listen for free to the Paul McCartney concert outside Investors Group Field Monday evening.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press A thrifty fan gets to listen for free to the Paul McCartney concert outside Investors Group Field Monday evening.

It turns out Winnipeg was quite interested in listening to what the man had to say.

Tens of thousands of people squeezed into Investors Group Field to hear Sir Paul McCartney -- the man, in this case -- bang off hit after hit during his Out There tour stop in the Manitoba capital Monday night. As fans started to gather around the stadium during the sound check prior to the scheduled 8 p.m. start for the scheduled three-hour show, it was easy to see why this Beatle has remained, even at 71, one of the hottest musical acts in the world.

There is no generation gap with McCartney, no expiration date to his music.

And maybe you shouldn't be amazed.

"The year before I was born was the last time Paul McCartney was here, and my parents went to that show at (Winnipeg Stadium)," said Anthony Ferens, 18, joined by his parents, Sandy and Robert, who both remember going to the Capitol and Metropolitan theatres in Winnipeg to see films of Beatles performances.

Cathy Anderson and Lisa Bowman are excited to be seeing Paul McCartney in concert at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Cathy Anderson and Lisa Bowman are excited to be seeing Paul McCartney in concert at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg.

"They are huge fans. One day, I was listening to some old records and I fell in love with the Let It Be album. I think I was 10 years old... I played Hey Jude at my first piano recital that year.

"Since then, I just haven't stopped listening."

Beth Lucier received McCartney tickets for her 15th birthday earlier this year. The gift had a catch though: She had to find a way to get to Winnipeg. In from Salmon Arm, B.C., Lucier said her musical tastes -- she was wearing a Beatles T-shirt and professes to be a "huge" McCartney fan -- are often the subject of ridicule at school.

"Yeah, my friends bug me about it but I don't care," she said perched next to her aunt, as the two watched the seemingly endless wave of people stream out of school buses in front of IGF. "His songs have meaning, the words tell a story. Not like some of the music today."

This is a 15-year-old saying this, in case you didn't catch her age.

The young-old demographic combination was quite apparent Monday evening. Who would have guessed a big stadium concert, with its $275 top-end ticket price, would be a family affair?

"She actually dragged me here, but I like the Beatles so it's no big deal," 18-year-old Autumn Bilous laughed, sitting beside her grandmother Suzanne Sharp, 63. Bilous was being coy about her indifference, though, later confessing she was looking forward to seeing what some called a historic night of music in Winnipeg.

"The music reaches different levels," Sharp added. "His songs have stood the test of time. There's no other way to put it. It always comes back to that," said Richard Baughman, making his second McCartney set (he saw him perform in Seattle in 1990). His stuff is timeless."

There seemed to be something to that, at least according to those who were soaking up Magical Mystery Tour, Birthday, and Lady Madonna (among many others) during sound check.

When informed about Lucier and her Beatles fandom, Baughman, 62, didn't blink. That different generations were in attendance didn't surprise those waiting for McCartney to start. What did shock many, was how someone could even ask the question of why those souls at IGF, some more than 50 years his junior, would want to see McCartney perform.

Living legends remain legendary, apparently.

"This is the last connection, the last fabric, between live music and the Beatles, so that's why people should care," offered a gentleman named Garry, who didn't want to give his last name. Two hours before the show, Garry was still looking for a ticket, hoping to add another show and another memory to his tour catalogue.

He saw McCartney at Winnipeg Stadium in '93. He saw Wings perform in Toronto in 1976.

"This will probably be the last time McCartney plays here," he added. "It's a special night. Even If I can't find a ticket, I'll just sit out here for the show, close my eyes and listen to the history."

adam.wazny@freepress.mb.ca