We talk at work of having the courage to "fail big."
Last night I did that, but minus the courage part.
What we mean is, be willing to take smart risks, give it your all, and go for the big win instead of (in a very insurance-like way) play it safe and minimize peril.
I played it safe by consciously choosing not to attend Paul McCartney's concert at Safeco Field July 19.
Sounds like I blew it.
The Seattle Times review of Sir Paul's concert called it magnificent. "He made the most famous songs in rock feel youthful, fresh, alive, important, vital," it said.
Rewind to November 2005. My wife, daughter (then 19) and I saw McCartney at KeyArena. It was an amazing show. He played and sang masterfully and energetically, hitting the high notes, his voice strong and rich. The band was tight.
He played Beatles songs!
Paul was 63 at the time, and I figured he couldn't perform forever with such skill.
Sure enough, in 2012 I bought his latest release, "Kisses On the Bottom," and heard on several tracks what I'd feared: a thin, wavering voice. Paul was a senior citizen, and like all vocal greats, time was eroding his gifts.
I sensed an inevitable decline. For me, hearing those "Kisses" tracks carved an aching void. And truthfully, they reminded me of my own unrelenting march through time.
I read about the upcoming Safeco Field show, contrasted my current Paul perceptions with that stellar 2005 concert, and opted not to taint my memory of the latter. I chose to "go out on top," having heard Paul at the apex of his craft. My colleague at work, also a fellow Paul and Beatles devotee, wavered a bit with second thoughts like me, but in the end I stayed home and I suspect he did too.
Hindsight says I should have risked failing big. Reviews of previous shows this summer said Paul opened with "Eight Days a Week," a gem from my favorite Beatles era that produced "Beatles '65," "Help!" "Rubber Soul" (their pinnacle album for me), and "Revolver."
He played "Maybe I'm Amazed" and "The End," two more favorites for me.
I suppose I'm amazed that Paul's skills have not reached the end.
I failed big by playing it safe. Because it's not only a risk to take the leap. It's also a risk to do nothing.