Brush With Greatness pt 5
This picture requires some imagination. There's also a funny story behind it.
On June 4 1993 (I think), we gathered outside of the Pontiac Silverdome, home of the Detroit Lions, to see if we could meet Paul McCartney before his show. It was during the "New World Tour" for his Off the Ground album.
We weren't sure if he'd be coming through the front tunnel or behind the stage. But his head of security, a man with a definite Scots accent, informed us that McCartney always likes a big exuberant crowd when he shows up, so he assured us that McCartney would be coming in the back way.
We staked out a spot, even after Silverdome security started putting up barricades. My friend Mike Loftis had brought a copy of the "White Album" on CD to get signed, and tried to squeeze past the barricades as McCartney's limo finally pulled up. To Mike's surprise, the limo appeared to be approaching faster than expected. He took his chance and broke free of the barricade, but unfortunately the limo sped by. Paul rolled his window down and waved to the crowd as he zoomed past...but that was it.
While Mike and I and our friend discussed our fleeting brush with a Beatle, we were interrupted by the stern appearance of John Klekamp, a reporter for WXYZ-TV, the ABC affiliate in Detroit. He walked up, glaring at us, and intoned to Mike "You bumped our camera, and now we don't have a shot of him coming in."
"Oh well," I replied, flippantly.
Heck, I've only worked in local origination cable TV, but it was hard to feel sorry for the guy. Anybody knows you don't plant yourself in the middle of a crowd and expect to get smooth and steady shots.
Hadn't this guy heard of Beatlemania?
I guess he even knew it was a lost cause to try and make us feel guilty. He walked forlornly off, back to the Channel 7 news van.
We tried to call some people to tape the news, just to see what the coverage looked like. This was back when portable phones were nigh short of a miracle. Unfortunately we couldn't reach anyone. Mike, though, a few days later, discovered some service which sells tapes of news stories. He was able to get coverage of the McCartney concert from both channel 7 and channel 2 (WJBK-TV, back then the CBS affiliate; but now a Fox station). It was pretty funny to look at the footage now. John Klekamp was forced to use slo-mo for his report, eking as much steadiness as he could. I was able to run the footage frame by frame, at work, and we got a good laugh as we watched the camera framing up as the limo approaches and then getting knocked about just as McCartney's face comes into view. In fact, Klekamp's cameraman got exactly one in-focus frame of McCartney before Mike jostled him!
Channel 2 on the other hand was surprisingly even worse. As the limo approached, the camera man actually zoomed into the silhouetted figure in the driver's seat -- as if Paul would be steering his own limo to the show.
McCartney's limo sped by so quickly I was only able to get one photograph. Some time later I used a Kodak kiosk, at the local Meijer's Thrifty Acres, to blow the photo up. Even this grainy, it's funny how recognizable Beatle Paul still is. I include both versions below.
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