Monday, August 19, 2019

An oldie from the Beatles Examiner days ... "How we got engaged" ... a proposal at a McCartney concert that Paul acknowledged

Paul McCartney's Up & Coming Tour -- Thursday, August 19, 2010
"There have many wonderful stories during the Up and Coming Tour, what with all the people who lived their dream to meet Paul McCartney. But how about this? Proposing to your girlfriend during a show and having it acknowledged by Paul McCartney.
It happened in Pittsburgh on Aug. 19th. Here is Luke and Michaela's story as they sent it to us."  
"Our 15 minutes of fame came with a little luck, a little planning but really, it was all due to the generosity of one Sir Paul McCartney. I had planned to surprise Michaela by taking her to the show. I asked her to go to Pittsburgh on the 19th without telling her why. The subterfuge would not last. She soon went to the web, typed in Pittsburgh, August 19th... and bingo! Staring back from her monitor were countless entries about the concert.
In the days that followed, she never let on that she knew, though I always suspected she did. I let her think that I didn't know that she knew. I wanted to surprise her. She wanted me to have fun surprising her. Ah, the games lovers play!
While the concert didn't come as a shock to her, the front row tickets did. I warned that our seats might not be as good as the ones we'd had in Vegas for Macca's show at The Joint last year. They could have an "obstructed view". (You never know just where they're going to put the speakers, right?)
We entered the floor area from the back of the arena. Each step drew us closer to the stage. Upon reaching the halfway point, she turned to me and said "Exactly what row are we?"
"One", I replied. Her smile was priceless.
Upon reaching our seats, Michaela began phoning her parents and friends, excitedly telling them that we were in the front row. While she was doing that, I scanned the vicinity for anyone who looked like they might be able to get a note to Paul. Hope began to dim when I realized that most of the people in the area were locally hired security. I thought to myself, "Oh well, it was a longshot at best".
In any case, I was determined to pop to question during MY LOVE. I mean, how cool is that? Asking the woman you adore to marry you while Paul McCartney is just a few feet away, singing the greatest love song ever written...should make a woman feel special.
Eventually, a lovely lady by the name of Shelley appeared in the restricted area. She began talking with the guards. "Oh, everyone is so emotional backstage. We were all crying back there because tonight is the last show of the tour." she said.
It's now or never.
I approached Shelley with a previously typed note. The heading was simple enough... MARRIAGE PROPOSAL IN THE FRONT ROW TONIGHT. The letter went on to explain that I was going to ask Michaela to marry me during the guitar solo of MY LOVE and that it would mean the world to us if Paul could congratulate us from the stage.
I handed the paper to Shelley, asking if she could take the note backstage.
"Who do you want me to give it to?" she asked.
"Paul, if possible". I revealed the contents and that the element of surprise was key.
She smiled and said, " I'll give it to his head of security." I thanked her and quietly returned to my chair.
A few minutes had passed when I noticed several people in the secure area were looking and pointing at me. Finally, an older, tough looking gent motioned for me to go over there.
"Is this your letter?" His accent sounded like he'd seen his share of fisticuffs in the pubs of England.
"I'm Paul's head of security. I had to come out and eyeball you to make sure you're not a looney."
"I understand completely."
"When do you want to do this?"
"During 'My Love'."
"Right. We'll see what we can do." He disappeared behind the black curtains and velvet ropes.
By this time, Michaela had become curious about my dealings with people I'd never met before now.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Oh, I just sent back a fan letter."
"You're lying."
My beloved knows that I'm not the fawning admirer type. Because of my line of work, I've met famous people from time to time and have never written to a celebrity...until now.
"Well, I was hoping to get an autograph." That response seemed to placate her.
The show started. Everyone knows how wonderful that moment was. Paul strolled onstage. "Venus and Mars" rolled into "Rockshow." We were off and running.
Knowing the setlist in advance was like being on a Saturn 5 rocket waiting for liftoff. I knew that "My Love" would be the 11th song. With each passing tune, a most important milestone approached.
"Jet." "All My Loving." "Letting Go."
Sweaty palms...(Good Lord! I'm in junior high again)
"Drive My Car." "Highway." "Let Me Roll It."
Hey...I haven't seen the ring since leaving Indianapolis! Is it still in the box?!?!
"Long and Winding Road."
Ring check good. Michaela was facing the stage the entire time so she never saw me sneak a peek.
"Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five."
Tunnel vision.
"Let 'Em In."
A heart is pounding in my chest. Hopefully, I'll get to propose before the coronary strikes.
Then...a long single note from Wix as Paul introduces "My Love."
The first chord hits. I look at Shelley. She had reappeared along with a number of staff/relatives in the aisle. They were all anxiously waiting for the big moment.
She smiled. "Yes, this is it...go for it!"
Paul was singing. Our little portion of the world grew suddenly brighter. A spotlight was shining down on us. So much for waiting on the guitar solo. I worried that the tech director
would think I was chickening out if I didn't do it right then and there.
So I jumped my cue. I took Michaela by the shoulders, turning her to me. The ring box opened.
"I love you Michaela. Will you marry me?"
With a sudden look of shock, hands to face, tears welling in her eyes my one, my only, my all... said "Yes".
We held each other. The crowd reaction was incredible.
I slipped the ring on her finger...another embrace.
Once again, 19,000 people cheered with us.
As we looked to the stage, Paul smiled at us and gave us the thumbs up. When the song was done, he rose from the piano, looked at us, made the heart symbol
and another thumbs up.
He then approached the center mic and said to me, "I heard you were going to do that!" "Wait a minute, did she say yes?" After I got a confirming nod from Michaela, Sir Paul replied, "Ok, just checking." He then said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, that's Luke and Michaela. They're officially engaged."
We smiled back, trying to yell thank you to him as Michaela waved her new ring and nodded.
Later in the concert, someone held up a sign requesting "Ram On." Paul obliged. As he sang "Give your heart to somebody soon right away..right away"
he looked at us again, gave us a sign of togetherness and hope by raising crossed fingers and thumbs up once more.
Upon leaving the arena, we were greeted by so many well-wishers. Everyone of them was so very kind. We were truly touched. It was an incredible evening for us, the happiest. Imagine, proposing to the woman you love, her acceptance and then the first person to congratulate you and announce your engagement is none other than
Sir Paul McCartney.
Such an incredibly generous act from a man who has already given so much of himself to the world. We can't thank him enough.
As for the marriage plans, no date has been set. After all, this was a surprise. The only people with advance knowledge were my mother and the staff at the
jewelry store in Indianapolis. It's been more than a week since it all took place. Our sleep cycle has yet to return to normal. We're still basking in the glow of it all. The concert, the great seats, the kindness of a living legend and a promise to each other to live out our lives together all combine for the memory of a lifetime.
Every time I think about it I'm stunned. I'm shocked.
No. Maybe I'm amazed."
Luke & Michaela
August 2010

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