Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be moving to a foreign country to live, let alone a country in the Middle East. Over the 2009 Christmas and New Year’s holidays, my husband Roger and I discussed what we wanted the next part of our life to be like. He thought that before retiring, he would like to do one more airport project but only if he could find something very interesting. I half-jokingly agreed that would be fine but could he try for an exotic location? As usual, Roger came through and soon we were headed to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. This blog is a recap of our "leap-of- faith" wanderings around the Middle East and beyond. We joyfully share these expat experiences.

Friday, November 18, 2011

PAUL MCCARTNEY. . .ROCK STAR – A Knight On the Run Rocks the Boomers

Sometimes you get lucky! 

Roger’s love of fast cars has us headed to the Third Annual Etihad Airways Formula 1 Race in Abu Dhabi.

Yas Marina Formula1 circuit under the Abu Dhabi moon.
While I will do anything for my darling, three days of ear-splitting revving and screaming of F1 engines speeding endlessly around the track is the ultimate sacrifice of self.

That is, unless you get lucky.

And boy did I!

Roger and Russell at Yas Marina F1 Races
First, we have joining us our oldest son Russell visiting from Denver, Colorado, USA, and second, the 3-day package comes with tickets to  Paul McCartney’s On The Run Tour.  Abu Dhabi is the first international stop of the world tour.

Can you hear me screaming in the background at the prospect of a wild night of rock n' roll?

In my youth I never saw the Beatles perform live but danced the night away for years to their incredible music. 

Ed Sullivan and the Fab Four
The first time I saw them was their premier USA performance on TV February 9, 1964 on the iconic Ed Sullivan Show.

It was a “really big shew” as Ed always said. 

For those of you too young to remember this was THE Sunday night show from 1948 – 1971 that families all over the USA would gather together to watch. It is the longest running TV variety show and is ranked by TV Guide as #15 of the 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.

What distinguished Sullivan from other variety hosts was the ability to capitalize on teenage obsession. His introduction of rock 'n' roll not only brought the adolescent subculture into the variety fold but also legitimized the music for the adult sensibility.” surmised the Museum of Broadcast Communications.

That adolescent subculture is also lovingly known as the “Baby Boomers.”

I can still see my father just shaking his head in wonderment, “When do they get a haircut and why are those girls screaming and crying?” he asked, never realizing he was watching the beginning of “mop top” hair and “Bealtlemania” that became all the rage of the 1960s.

The following week the Ed Sullivan show, featuring the “Fab Four,” John, Paul, George and Ringo, was broadcast from Miami Beach just up the way from Fort Lauderdale where we were living. Sadly my father flat-out refused my pleas to attend.

Sir Paul McCartney  was . . .  well . . . just pure McCartney.

Playing multiple stringed instruments, including his iconic “red” guitar,” pounding out R&B on the piano, clowning around on stage, expending boundless energy, and encouraging the audience to join him, the entertainment just didn’t stop for three hours.  

The entire concert had an almost lighthearted and frisky feeling so like the Beatles comical antics. But in the end, it was just pure R&B rockin' music.

The National newspaper in Dubai described the performance as turning the Yas Arena crowd into a giant karaoke machine. Hey Jude, All my Loving , Let It Be, I Want to Hold Your Hand, She Love’s You, Back in the USSR and I Saw Her Standing There . . . unbelievably I still remember all the words. I wonder why Roger isn't singing?

For a man of 69, McCartney has been performing for more than 50 years, he still can rock all night long.  And so can we!  

Brian Ray 
photo courtesy of
his web site
Loved the performance of some of the great Beatle’s songs: Day Tripper, Paperback Writer and Eleanor Rigby, the Wings classic Band on the Run. To honor his late bandmates McCartney dedicated one "to my friend John," and sang Something as he played a ukulele tribute to George Harrison. And no Beatles inspired concert could be complete without  a rendition of the Lennon-Yoko Ono track Give Peace A Chance.

McCartney was backed by his four-piece American grown band. Dour looking lead guitarist  Rusty Anderson on the guitar was smokin’hot on the rifs; raggedly cute blonde Brian Ray on guitar and bass guitar is my favorite since he was  Etta James’ musical director and guitarist for 14 years (see postscript); Paul Wickens on keyboard, percussions, guitar and harmonica has been a member of McCartney’s touring band since 1989 and bigger than life, cuddly Abe Laboriel, Jr. amused the crowd with his antics as he whipped, beat and thrashed around on drums and percussion.

“ . . . playing with Paul – for whom there is no headliner, no other, and whose audiences are the best listeners, the most eager, most wonderful kind warm audiences, because of the beauty Paul has engendered from his audience over the years – it’s a whole different experience,” said Ray in an interview with Michael Wright for Gibson Guitar web site. 

It was one jammin’ night of rock and roll . . . cool music that brings back so many memories but still lives and breathes for us boomers!

It was a perfect ending to what is described as the “hottest track in the Formula 1 circuit. 

But, those fast cars pale in comparison when it comes to a rocking Drive My Car with a Band on the Run concert complete with an eye popping, ear shattering, fireworks enhanced Live and Let Die.

Postscripts  . . .

McCartney predicts the F1 winner . . .  on a surprise visit, McCartney dropped in to Pit Row and cheered British drivers from the McLaren garage. 

Taunting “F1 Supremo”  Bernie Eccelstone, he suggested, "How about letting the British drivers win this time?"  Which they did with Lewis Hamilton’s win!

Etta James . . . Legendary blues singer is one of my favorite performers. Her song, At Last, was chosen for our wedding song. Given that it took me and Roger nearly 42 years to find each other, it seemed so appropriate. 


  1. Wow.Camel riding, formula 1 and Paul McCartney, Holey Hannah you are living your life. Kudos for grabbing it with gusto.

  2. I have one word for you...AWESOME!!!

  3. Loved the video clips -- I ALMOST felt like I was there!! :):):)