Age differences? What age differences?
Baby boomers happily mixed with Millennials -- and generations in between -- in the mud-spattered fields of Firefly 2015 Friday night, all tied together into a multitude of music lovers, more than 90,000-strong.
But for those who came of age in the 1960s, it was the appearance of Sir Paul McCartney on the Firefly main stage that generated the most anticipation.
“I really liked Panama Wedding yesterday and Walk the Moon and Cage the Elephant earlier today,” said Kathy Paparodis of Washington D.C. “But we’re here to see Paul McCartney.”
Younger festival goers, such as Colleen Comaty of Massapequa, N.Y., also couldn’t hide their enthusiasm.
“I’m waiting for Paul,” she said as McCartney’s 10 p.m. show approached. “It’s gonna be sick.”
The first-ever appearance of the former Beatle and Wings frontman in Dover had generated fan buzz ever since rumors surfaced of a Firefly gig back in January. Representatives of festival promoter Red Frog Events played coy about the possibility before confirming the reports a month later.
“Paul’s been on my bucket list for years,” said Tom Ryan of Orlando, Fla., whose son bought him the tickets. “I grew up with The Beatles and I never had the chance to see them in concert.
“I remember when they were first on the [Ed] Sullivan show on TV. The next day everyone was talking about them,” he said.
If the crowd’s reaction is any indication, McCartney did not disappoint.
The rock legend appeared on stage almost precisely at 10 p.m., accompanied by a roar of greeting that could have rivaled that coming from the nearby NASCAR racetrack each May and September.
“I’ve got a feeling we’re going to have a party tonight!” he said.
McCartney began with “Birthday,” an apparent nod to the fact he’d turned 73 only a day earlier, and continued with a string of tunes from his years with The Beatles, his successor band, Wings and a number of solo efforts.
“This is so cool,” McCartney said during a pause between songs.
“I’ve got to check it out for myself,” he said, peering out into the crowd.
Although sometimes difficult to spot on the huge Firefly stage, McCartney’s image was projected for all to see on video monitors to either side.
Later doffing his black blazer in the warm and humid night air, Sir Paul dedicated a moving rendition of the 1970 number one tune, “The Long and Winding Road” to the city and people of Charleston, S.C., following a church shooting Wednesday that resulted in the deaths of nine.
McCartney also slowed down the pace with “My Valentine,” a tune he wrote for current wife Nancy when they married in 2009, and fulfilled the wish of Cherie Sutton, of Westfield, Mass., who earlier had said she wanted to hear “Maybe I’m Amazed,” which McCartney penned for his late wife Linda, who died in 1998.
“If he doesn’t sing ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ I’m going to storm the stage,” Sutton had said before the concert. “But I know he’ll sing it. He’s just amazing.”
McCartney himself apparently enjoyed his reception in the First State.
“Thank you, Firefly Music Festival for an amazing welcome!” he wrote on his Facebook page. “We’ll see you again!”