Hearing music icon Paul McCartney play Tuesday on Quebec City’s historic Plains of Abraham is a little more special for Caroline Tremblay than the average rock fan.
Her husband was a big admirer of the former Beatle.
Tremblay’s husband, Guy Bolduc, was among the dozens killed when fireballs from an exploding train devastated Lac-Megantic’s downtown and engulfed the bar where he was performing.
“He adored Mr. McCartney,” Tremblay wrote in a moving letter to promoter 3 E Event, Experience, Emotion, which offered free tickets to the musician’s show for Lac-Megantic survivors.
“You have allowed my children and me to discover the musical universe of this great artist and (a chance to) bathe in music at a party surrounded by our friends.”
The free ticket idea was floated to McCartney’s team by the promoter at the beginning of last week. The former Beatle’s entourage quickly agreed.
Luci Tremblay, director of communications for promoter 3 E, said organizers were touched by Tremblay’s message.
“I was almost crying when I read that message this morning,” she said. “It was very nice of her to write to us.”
Quebec provincial police believe 47 people were killed in the July 6 disaster. About 2,000 people were forced to flee the area, although most have been allowed to return home.
McCartney’s “Out There” tour will take him to the historic Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. He previously packed the site in 2008 as part of celebrations to mark the provincial capital’s 400th anniversary.
Luci Tremblay said 1,000 tickets had been set aside, and about 900 people took up the offer. About 10 buses were also donated in the Lac-Megantic area to bring them to the show.
“We gave them 1,000 tickets but in our mind, if 200 persons want to come, or 400 or 600, the important thing for us was they can do it, no problem,” said Tremblay.
She said Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche was pleased with the response because it represents about 10 per cent of the town’s population.
Tremblay was also impressed with the interest, given the dire circumstances.
“Some people are preparing funerals, some of them are moving so maybe they’re not in the mood to come but what we wanted was those who wanted to come, they can do it.”
Those attending will be in the general admission area behind the zone at the front of the stage.
They won’t meet with McCartney.
“What we heard is that he’s going to talk to them, he’s going to say something to them when he’s on the stage,” Tremblay said, noting that McCartney and his entourage were eager to support the free ticket idea.
In her email to the promoter, Bolduc’s wife said people in Lac-Megantic are grateful for the chance to see the singer.
“It’s a generous gesture that will give us a little break from the difficult moments,” said Caroline Tremblay.
The tickets given to the Lac-Megantic survivors would regularly sell for $99.
The show is McCartney’s fourth in the province of Quebec in the last five years, and tickets appear to have remained readily available.
One telecommunications company has even been offering a three-tickets-for-the-price-of-one promotion.
But Tremblay said sales were picking up as the event got closer.
The promoter also collected $65,000 in donations at a Bruno Mars concert on July 8, and set that to the town to help out.
Lac-Megantic residents aren’t the only special guests at the McCartney show.
About 20 seats have also been set aside for blind Quebecers.