It's officially Carnival season now, and yet, not really—not like
it usually is. Here's one look back at a memorable—and more festive—Mardi Gras of
many years ago, complete with a visit from Paul McCartney.
With all the recent success and hype that we've heard about the great new McCartney III LP release, I couldn't help but reminisce lately about Paul's past visit to the Big Easy when I was in high school.
And since we'll be missing Carnival this year in the "City That Care Forgot," I will never forget my own "close encounter with Paul of the third kind."
The year 1975 was the year that, incognito, Paul McCartney and his Wings Band flew into the Crescent City, after their successful 1973 Band on the Run LP. They were to complete recording the cool Venus and Mars LP at Sea-Saint Studios, operated then by the late, great music legend Allen Toussaint. This was after Paul had recorded some of the tunes in late 1974 at Abbey Road in London.
My buddies David, John, Marshal, Neal, and Scott and I almost had a Lennon-McCartney reunion in da Big Easy dat year, as John Lennon reportedly had hoped to join his former famous partner at Sea-Saint, but this got crashed with Lennon's own re-connection then to Yoko Ono after a brief hiatus.
How can I forget the rumors that Scott and others had gotten back then about Paul and his beloved, the late Linda Eastman McCartney, a renowned photographer, being in town—long before social media's help with keeping up-to-date on celebrity happenings?
We did hear about Paul and the gang reportedly being at some French Quarter inn, but, as high schoolers, we couldn't sneak away to Bourbon Street to make some "Billy Shears" sightings. Later, we found out that Paul and da gang had a sublet of an apartment and mingled in "undercover" with all da local yats—until they dressed up as clowns for Mardi Gras Day!
My buddy Scott Vincent was able to make a brief phone call back then to Paul's dwelling with one of those ancient landline phones. How cool that was for Scott to talk with Paul about "Yesterday" and "Here, There anf Everywhere"!
So, as you and I may soon be dreaming of being on St. Charles Avenue safely wearing a mask for both Mardi Gras and COVID-19 and longing for the sights, sounds, and happenings of some great parades such as Bacchus, Endymion, and Zulu, please keep your eyes peeled. You just never know if, one day, you may spot Paul again, going down those "long and un-winding roads," helping us all enjoy our "Missing Carnival."
Here are some lyrics to Paul's own "My Carnival" song:
"It's my Carnival; it's a lovely day
Well, it's my Carnival; it's a lovely day
Well, all you people, getting ready to play
I want to hear you say, come on down
This is my Carnival; it's a lovely day …."