James Liverani still can’t talk about it without getting emotional. On Sunday, at the Paul McCartney concert at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, he was invited up onstage to play a song with the former Beatle during the pre-show soundcheck. A fan of the Beatles legend all his life who attended his first McCartney show at age 3, Liverani says he still can’t believe it. “There’s no words to describe that,” he said.
And the love of McCartney and his music runs in the family. “My dad, Tom, has been at every American tour since ’76 and me since ’90,” he said.
Before going to this show, James Liverani — who teaches music to children at Friends Academy on Long Island — told his dad he would love to play a song with his idol. Since McCartney usually invites select fans up onstage at his shows, Liverani thought of a way to get McCartney’s attention. “My dad wrote a sign that said, ‘My son would be the coolest music teacher if he could play with his idol.’ Mine just said ‘Music Teacher’ with a piece of sheet music on it.”
The two went to the soundcheck and held up the signs. “So he finished up with ‘Lady Madonna,'” Liverani said, “and [McCartney] said, ‘We’re pretty much done with soundcheck, but I’m reading this sign here,'” looking at the signs they were holding. “I remember looking over at my dad. Our jaws dropped,” he said.
He said McCartney called out, “Well what do you play?” Liverani answered, “Bass.” McCartney then quipped, “Well I play bass.’” He invited them to the stage and asked if he could play guitar, then found out he played right-handed. McCartney guitarist Brian Ray’s technician brought him a guitar and McCartney said, “Do you know ‘Get Back’?” “And I said, ‘Yeah.’ And he said, ‘In A.'” His father joined in at the end of the song to sing the chorus, and they all hugged. McCartney told him, “You did good, James. You did good.”
“I don’t know how I got through it, and it felt incredible living that dream,” Liverani says. “I just remember holding my face a lot in amazement looking at [McCartney] and looking back at my dad who’s been by my side at every show. [It] was incredible.”
He said singing “Get Back” with McCartney also had a special meaning for him. “When I was 3 years old, I had the chicken pox and my parents still took me to my first Paul show at Giants Stadium.” The site of Giants Stadium, which is now demolished, was right next to where the current MetLife Stadium stands.
“I got chills just saying that,” Liverani said.
“It was really amazing, like full-circle,” Tom Liverani added. The whole experience left a big impression on Dad too. “Doesn’t get any better than this,” Tom said. “This is amazing. So proud. So proud of him. He’s a great musician, my son. He really is.”