Music, it’s said, is the universal language. It’s been said that it has the power to unite people of every background from every corner of the world. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, that adage never proved truer than with the Concert for New York. And in Paul McCartney’s recently released dvd, The Love We Make, audiences get a glimpse into everything that led up to the concert. Needless to say, The Love We Make is not a concert dvd. It’s a documentary. And anyone who is left dry-eyed by the end of this work is either not human, or simply has no emotion.
One of the most intriguing aspects of The Love We Make is how it portrays McCartney. Generally in music documentaries, audiences just see the artists as artists. But with this documentary, audiences see another side of McCartney. They see Paul McCartney the person equally balanced with Paul McCartney the artist. It shows how much performing for the people of New York meant for him, in the wake of that tragic day. He tells the story during the documentary that his decision to headline the concert was influenced by his father. He explains that his father was a firefighter in WWII, and seeing what happened on September 11th reminded him of how important it was to honor those men and women who give of themselves every day.
McCartney’s story about his father has a lasting impact throughout the documentary. Audiences get to see his human side as he signs autographs for people, and talks to them about what had happened. What it serves to do is show that while yes, he’s a celebrity, he’s still a normal average person. He’s someone who wanted to help, even if it means having to appear on Howard Stern. Speaking of Stern, his reaction to Stern’s showing at the concert only added to his humanity. Along with seeing his humanity, viewers see someone who is a true musician. Again, yes he’s a celebraity. But the documentary shows him as someone who is more about the music and the people than about the celebrity status. It makes the 94-minute run time seem to pass by without effort from either the director or audience.
It’s been just over ten years since what is now considered this generation’s Pearl Harbor. Since that time, some people have forgotten the sense of togetherness and community that was felt across the country at that concert. People from every walk of life came together for a singular reason, and a single night to honor those men and women who lost their lives on one of this nation’s darkest days. But thanks to The Love We Make, hopefully those who might have forgotten that feeling will remember it anew after watching this outstanding film.