One of the gear things about the McCartney concert at the White House was that Paul chose the musicians and song selections that were part of the tribute to him. Paul picked Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and Nirvana to play Band On The Run. Brilliant choice since the Foo Fighters have covered the song, and Dave joined in on this song at a couple of Paul’s concerts. This was certainly the most rockin’ song of the evening. Even Stevie Wonder, sitting in the audience, was totally into bouncing and singing along. Dave also gave a heartfelt tribute to Paul and the president.
The emotions were high in the concert, but for me went very deep when I had a chance to chat with Dave at the following reception. We had never met, but I had a story I wanted to share, and Dave and his wife were very gracious in agreeing to hear what I had to say. The story was, one of my all time favorite students over the years at Columbia College was a young man named Sean Silver. I knew Sean from Tower Records on Clark Street, and always felt a great deal of affection for him. A wonderful man. Sean enrolled in My Rock and Soul On The Radio course. He was a dream student. Smart, engaged, good writer, always there, physically and mentally. I often told him he could teach the course. He knew his music. The second semester was difficult for Sean, dealing with the cancer that would eventually take his life. He missed several classes due to the treatments. Understandable, but there are rules, and he wanted to graduate, so I got permission to pass him if he completed an extra credit project. I didn’t want to burden him with busy work, so I asked him to write a four page paper on how music was helping him with the ordeal. Sean turned in an amazing paper. I wish I had made a copy, but graded and returned the paper. He put his heart into the project. I told Dave he went the extra mile and submitted a cd of the songs that he wrote about. The cd began with the acoustic version of the Foo Fighters’ Times Like These and ended with the electric version of the song. Judging by the look in Dave’s eyes, he was moved by this story. Then I told him at Sean’s wake, I was with his brother, looking at photos of Sean, and I noticed one of Sean with Dave Grohl. Sean’s brother informed me that Dave was Sean’s one and only man crush. In a second Dave went from looking very emotional to breaking out it good, healthy laughter. He went on to tell me what was going on in his life that inspired him to write Times Like These. He also reflected how McCartney had written so many songs that influenced his life, and how it moved him that he was now in that position. In other words…he got it. Bless him for that.
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Now, enjoy some music….