EagleHerald/Penny Mullins
Paul McCartney plays acoustic guitar on the stage at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, where he performed at a non-stop, three-hour concert for fans Saturday evening.
EagleHerald/Penny Mullins

Paul McCartney plays acoustic guitar on the stage at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, where he performed at a non-stop, three-hour concert for fans Saturday evening.

The anticipation is palpable. Almost 50,000 people waiting for one man to appear. Recorded music plays over the huge speakers, songs from our youth, our teen years, our dating days. The momentum builds until he is suddenly there.

He is trim and wearing casual black jeans, a white shirt and a black jacket. Gray hair and visible wrinkles, but definitely a cool dude. The crowd goes wild as he starts singing.

It’s Paul McCartney. Sir Paul. A Beatle. Wings. Superstar.

To tell about my experience attending the Paul McCartney concert Saturday at Lambeau with my husband Jeff, I have to tell you about the first time I met Paul.

I was 13, and he was 26. He was already famous, and I was nobody. Just this young girl on the brink of becoming a teenager and learning about friendships, relationships and a world outside of my little hometown of Menominee.

Then Paul, John, George and Ringo entered my life and nothing was ever the same.

Of course, I didn’t meet Paul in person, but he looked back at me from the jacket of the Revolver album. All four of the Beatles were in my house, in my view, in my mind and forever in my heart. I listened to every song over and over and reveled in the lyrics and the music. I was no longer in Menominee, Michigan — I was in a place where music became almost as important as breathing.

I was not alone.

I looked around the crowd of 50,000 people in Lambeau Saturday and saw layers of generations. Children, teenagers, millennials, Baby Boomers. Mostly, Baby Boomers, of course, who shed their years the minute the songs began. Songs interwoven in the structure of our lives. The Beatles changed the world for so many us, along with other incredibly talented musicians in the 1960s and 1970s.

As Paul McCartney sang on the most incredibly beautiful evening that God has graced us with in months, the audience sang along. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked that, since I really wanted to hear just Paul sometimes. But I soon realized they couldn’t help themselves. People felt compelled to share that moment, whether it was with every word of every song, or just the chorus.

It was their moment, too.

I thought about all those people, the majority of whom have reached a point in their lives where the worry of work and raising a family has been replaced with retirement and grandchildren. Each one of them has their own story about the Beatles, the music — the days when we were young.

All those dancing, singing Baby Boomers were transported into their parents’ den, their best friend’s basement, riding shotgun in their buddy’s car — listening to vinyl LPs, 45s or AM/FM radio. They were singing at the top of their lungs at the concert, just like they did when they rode around “The Loop” (or whatever the main drag was in their hometown).

Voice quality and accurate lyrics were not required — everyone was equal.

This was Lambeau June 8. And this is what awaits every venue that Paul McCartney and his band plays during his “Freshen Up” tour. He said it best himself, when he remarked that all the old tunes brought out the cell phones for either video or as flashlights waving in the crowd like stars in the night, while the new songs were like a “Black Hole.” We listened and enjoyed the newer songs, but we came to life with those songs from the past.

The songs created by Paul McCartney, as a Beatle and afterward, will be remembered for decades to come, as our children, our grandchildren and those generations ahead hear what we heard. I sang Beatles’ songs to my children at night, and I sang those same songs to my grandchildren. Those songs that shaped my life and lived in my mind are etched into theirs, as well.

So I say thank you to Paul McCartney for bringing his amazing show to Lambeau. This 76-year-old music legend owned the stage for three hours, never took a break, and provided the crowd with clever conversations, talented musicians, pyrotechnics and more than 38 songs that rocked our world.

I will be forever grateful.