With Paul McCartney's help, Wayne County man proposes on stage

ALBANY - John Dann dropped to one knee. Claudia, his new fiancée, said "yes" without hesitation.

But another man deserves some credit for making it happen: Sir Paul McCartney.

The Beatles legend pulled the Wayne County couple on stage Saturday at the Times Union Center in Albany, where Dann, 64, proposed in front of more than 13,000 people who came to see one of the most celebrated musicians of all time launch a new leg of his tour.

And it gets better.

Seconds before popping the question, Dann -- a village of Newark resident, about 35 miles east of Rochester -- took to the microphone to sing a verse of The Beatles' classic "When I'm Sixty-Four." A few lines in, McCartney and his backing band joined in with some impromptu accompaniment as the crowd clapped and sang along.

"And they booked us for the wedding," McCartney joked.

The couple's memorable engagement came during the second encore of McCartney's show Saturday, his first since a virus contracted in Japan forced him to cancel and postpone a number of shows since May.

From their seats on the arena floor -- stage right, about 20 yards back -- the pair unfurled a pair of neon green signs early in the show.

The signs, held high above their heads for much of McCartney's 38-song set, amounted to a dare.

"He won't marry me 'til he meets you," Claudia's sign read.

Dann's sign doubled down: "I've got the ring and 'I'm 64.'"

Earlier in the set, McCartney said he tries not to read the dozens of signs his fans hold each night at his concerts. There are chords and lyrics to remember, he explained, and reading signs in the middle of a song can throw off his memory mid-song.

But something about the two signs caught his eye.

As he played the closing chords to The Beatles' 1964 hit "Yesterday," he turned to the side of the stage, where the couple had been waiting in the wings. McCartney told the crowd he had spotted the signs and asked the pair to introduce themselves.

"We're Claudia and John from Rochester, New York," she said to cheers from the crowd.

McCartney turned to Dann. "Well, we're all eyes and ears," McCartney said. "Let's see it."

Dann stepped up to the microphone and started to sing the song he referenced on his sign. "Will you still need me?" he sang, as McCartney and his band backed him up and the crowd clapped along gleefully. "Will you still feed me / when I'm 64?"

After the first verse, Dann dropped to his right knee.

"Sweetheart," he said. "Will you marry me?"

She said yes. The crowd went wild.

The pair returned to their seats along the edge of the arena floor. Dozens of fans extended their hands for a line of high-fives as the couple made their way through the crowd, just as McCartney and his band launched into "Helter Skelter" -- the intentionally chaotic Beatles tune from 1968.

The couple remained near their seats for at least 15 minutes after the show ended around 11:15 p.m., where a steady stream of McCartney fans extended their congratulations as they exited the arena.


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