Archive for the ‘Paul McCartney’ Category

Live 8 Hyde Park London 2nd July 2005

Live 8 Hyde Park London 2nd July 2005
live8tixI was so excited about this event for three reasons: firstly because I’d been in Wembley Stadium for Live Aid, secondly to see The Who, and thirdly and most of all to see Pink Floyd again. We (me, Marie, David and Laura) all went, staying the weekend in London. I’d managed to get tickets for the Gold Circle which took us right down the front, next to the stage, so we had an excellent view of the entire day’s proceedings.
Bob Geldof opened the proceedings, followed by Paul McCartney with U2 performing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (It was 20 years ago today! Wonderful). Then U2 performed “Beautiful Day” (with a verse of the Beatles’ “Blackbird”), “Vertigo”, “One” (including a segment from “Unchained Melody”). Coldplay were next up and played “In My Place” with a section from “Rockin’ All Over the World” (cheeky; Quo should have been on stage performing this, but weren’t invited although they of course opened Live Aid), “Bitter Sweet Symphony” (joined by Richard Ashcroft), and “Fix You”. David Walliams and Matt Lucas then came on stage in the role of their Little Britain characters Lou and Andy and introduced Elton John who played “The Bitch Is Back”, “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting”, and “Children of the Revolution” (with guest Pete Doherty). Bill Gates was then next up on stage to introduce Dido who sang “White Flag” and “Thank You” and “7 Seconds”with Youssou N’Dour.
Stereophonics were followed by REM who were introduced by Ricky Gervais. R.E.M. performed “Imitation of Life”, “Everybody Hurts”, and “Man on the Moon”. Then Kofi Annan introduced Ms. Dynamite who was followed by Keane and Travis. Bob Geldof joined Travis to sing “I Don’t Like Mondays”. Brad Pitt was next on stage to introduce Annie Lennox, then came UB40, Snoop Dogg and Razorlight.
Bob Geldof then introduced 24-year-old Birhan Woldu, the starving Ethiopian child whose image was so powerful in the video shown at Live Aid. Madonna took to the stage, embraced Birhan and held hands with her as she sang “Like a Prayer”.
Live8progMadonna was followed by Snow Patrol, The Killers, Joss Stone, Scissor Sisters, and Velvet Revolver (good but a bit out of place at this event). Then Lenny Henry presented Sting who sang the same songs as he performed at Live Aid: “Message in a Bottle”, “Driven To Tears”, and “Every Breath You Take”. Next Dawn French introduced Mariah Carey who was amazing, and David Beckham presented “his friend” Robbie Williams who got the crowd really going with “We Will Rock You”, “Let Me Entertain You”, “Feel”, and “Angels”. Peter Kay sauntered onto the stage and couldn’t resist singing “Is This the Way to Amarillo”.
Now we were moving to the legends; the bands that I had really come to see. The Who played “Who Are You”, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. They were followed by an event which I never thought I would see, the reunion of Pink Floyd and a breath-taking performance of “Speak to Me”/”Breathe”, “Money”, “Wish You Were Here” (real lump in the thrat moment and closed with “Comfortably Numb”. It was left to Paul McCartney to close the show with “Get Back”, “Drive My Car” (with George Michael), “Helter Skelter”, and “The Long and Winding Road”. He finished with “Hey Jude’ to which everyone sang along, and which seemed to go on for ever. We left Hyde Park as the crowd continued to sing “Na Na Na NaNa Na Na….”). The show was originally scheduled to close at 9.30pm, but seriously overran and went on until just after midnight.
liveaidlanyardThe Floyd reunion was, of course, the real highlight for me. Gilmour announced the reunion less than a month before the gig, on 12 June 2005: “ Like most people I want to do everything I can to persuade the G8 leaders to make huge commitments to the relief of poverty and increased aid to the third world. It’s crazy that America gives such a paltry percentage of its GNP to the starving nations. Any squabbles Roger and the band have had in the past are so petty in this context, and if re-forming for this concert will help focus attention then it’s got to be worthwhile.” Waters said on stage: “It’s actually quite emotional standing up here with these three guys after all these years. Standing to be counted with the rest of you. Anyway, we’re doing this for everyone who’s not here, but particularly, of course, for Syd.” The screens showed video from their past shows, and a film of the pig from the Animals flying over Battersea Power Station. This was simply mind-blowing stuff; for me it was a very emotional experience. I found Wish You Were Here particularly powerful; you felt they were singing the song for Syd; which of course they were. Syd sadly passed away the following year. With Wright’s subsequent passing in 2008, this was to be the final concert to feature all four playing together.
A great, momentous day.

Live Aid Wembley Stadium 13th July 1985

Live Aid Wembley Stadium 13th July 1985
liveaidtixI went with a couple of mates. We missed out on tickets when they went on sale and the only way we could get there was to buy tickets for a coach trip from Middlesbrough. So we were up at 4am, drove to Middlesbrough and joined a coach which left at 5am for London. We arrived well before noon, had a couple of drinks and entered the stadium, which was of course completely packed so we found a spot in the stands right at the back. A few minutes later Status Quo took to the stage with “Rockin’ All Over The World” and the day started. This was Quo reunited one year after the split, with Alan flying over from Oz to join Francis and Rick. Their short set also featured Caroline” and “Don’t Waste My Time”. A fitting start to the day. I have so many great memories of that day.
Queen’s performance is, of course, often rated as the greatest live performance by any band. Freddie certainly commanded the crowd the day and it propelled them to super stardom. Their well planned set was a medley with short sections of their anthems: “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Radio Ga Ga”, “Hammer To Fall”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions”. They had apparently been rehearsing their short set for days, to ensure perfection, and it showed, and worked. U2 weren’t far behind them, though, in terms of performance, with Bono showing how great a front man he was. U2 played two songs: “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and a lengthy version of “Bad” during which Bono dragged a girl from the rush down front to dance with him on stage, and which also included snippets from Lou Reed’s “Satellite of love” and “Walk On The Wild Side”, and The Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” and “Sympathy for the Devil”. Electric.
liveadiprogFor me, however. the highlights were The Who and David Bowie, as I was, and remain, a big fan of both acts. Bowie started with “TVC15” (a strange and poor choice I felt, and remember being disappointed on the day), “Rebel Rebel” (great, good choice), “Modern Love” (well, ok) and then “Heroes” (we all sag along and it was pure magic). I still feel that with a better choice of songs Bowie could have eclipsed Queen and U2.
The Who performed “My Generation”, “Pinball Wizard”, “Love Reign O’er Me” (another strange song choice given the magnitude of the event) and a blistering “Won’t Get Fooled Again” with much mike swinging by Daltrey and lots of arm twirling by Townshend.
Other memories: Elton and Kiki sang “Don’t go Breaking my Heart” (great!). Paul McCartney suffered from sound problems and we couldn’t hear him at all for much of “Let It Be” although I gather it was fine on TV. Geldof drew massive cheers every time he set foot on stage, and he deserved every one of them. The scheduling worked amazingly, with very few hitches. Seeing the cameras pick out Charles and Diana over in their enclosure. The amazingly camp Bowie and Jagger video. The awful, sad and moving video of starving children played to the Cars’ “Drive”. Phil Collins playing Wembley and JFK courtesy of Concorde (show off).
But the truly unforgettable moment came at the end, and will stay in my mind for ever. That was the finale, with the entire stadium singing along to “Do They Know It’s Christmas ?” with Bob Geldof leading us, and everyone else on stage. I’ve never seen, felt, or heard anything like it before or since. We walked out of that stadium to the coach park, all of us still singing…..”Feed The World”…..
Then it was a long coach ride back to Middlesbrough. We arrived back around 5 or 6am, then drove home. 24 hours with hardly any sleep, just an hour or so caught on the bus, but a day I will remember forever.
Line-up: Status Quo; The Style Council; The Boomtown Rats; Adam Ant; Ultravox; Spandau Ballet; Elvis Costello; Nik Kershaw; Sade; Sting; Phil Collins; Howard Jones; Bryan Ferry (with David Gilmour on guitar); Paul Young/Alison Moyet; U2; Dire Straits/Sting; Queen; Video “Dancing in the Streets” by David Bowie/Mick Jagger; David Bowie; The Who; Elton John (Kiki Dee and George Michael join Elton); Mercury and May; Paul McCartney; Finale

Paul McCartney Sheffield and Birmingham April and May 2003

Paul McCartney Sheffield and Birmingham April and May 2003
paulsheffieldtixPaul McCartney didn’t tour for quite some years after his 1990 outing, so when he announced a concert tour in 2003, I wanted to catch a show. I bought tickets for Marie, Laura, David and me to see Paul’s concert at Sheffield Arena. He was scheduled to play two nights in Sheffield, and the concert were due to take place in April 2003. We were booked to attend the second of the two nights. We booked a couple of rooms in the Travelodge next to the venue, and we were all really looking forward to the gig. On the afternoon of the show we drove down, checked into our rooms, and set off to walk just around the corner to the concert. Imagine our disappointment when we were greeted by fans coming in the opposite direction, everyone telling us that the concert was cancelled as Paul had ‘flu. We checked with the stewards, but sure enough it was true, the gig was cancelled with only an hour to go to show time. We decided not to stay the night, and drove home, very down about the whole thing. We had also been told that the show would be rescheduled but, not wanting to leave anything to chance, I got straight on the phone to Ticketmaster and booked tickets to see McCartney at Birmingham NIA the following week. I quickly booked hotel rooms and trains, and my disappointment started to lift…
Paulprog2003So a week after our disappointment at Sheffield we traveled by train to Birmingham to see Paul McCartney in concert. Sometimes booking late for a show can be a good thing, as promoters often release excellent tickets close to the date of the concert. This was certainly the case for us this time, as our seats were in the third row, although a little to the side of the stage. The concert was just great. Paul played a marathon set, although the time seemed to fly over. Its easy to forget just how many classic songs the Beatles had, and on this tour Paul delved right back into that rich catalogue, playing excellent versions of songs that brought back so many memories for everyone there that night. Indeed, many of the songs had never been played live before this tour. For me the classic Beatles songs were highlights: All My Loving; We Can Work It Out; The Fool on the Hill; Eleanor Rigby; Here, There, and Everywhere; Things We Said Today; I’ve Just Seen a Face; Two of Us. All just great. Massive explosive flares burnt high into the roof of the hall during Live and Let Die. We were so close we could feel the heat, although the fire was so strong I suspect you could feel it at the back of the venue. At one point in the show I looked around the hall and saw so many people singing every word, and so many visibly weeping at the emotion of it all. Spine tingling, classic stuff.
The Sheffield concert was rescheduled for the end of May, and we couldn’t resist going to see Paul again. So a few weeks after seeing the show in Birmingham we drove to Sheffield and experienced the whole thing again. And it was just as good….:)
paulbrumtixThe band (who were, by the way, first class): Rusty Anderson: backing vocals, guitar; Brian Ray: backing vocals, guitar, bass guitar; Paul “Wix” Wickens: backing vocals, keyboards, accordion, acoustic guitar, percussion; and Abe Laboriel Jr: backing vocals, drums, percussion. Rusty and Abe were particularly outstanding.
Setlist from Birmingham: Hello, Goodbye; Jet; All My Loving; Getting Better; Let Me Roll It; Lonely Road; Your Loving Flame; Blackbird; Every Night; We Can Work It Out; You Never Give Me Your Money/Carry That Weight; The Fool on the Hill; Here Today; Something; Eleanor Rigby; Here, There, and Everywhere; Things We Said Today; I’ve Just Seen a Face; Calico Skies; Two of Us; Michelle; Band on the Run; Back in the U.S.S.R.; Let ‘Em In; My Love; She’s Leaving Home; Can’t Buy Me Love; Birthday; Live and Let Die; Let It Be; Hey Jude; The Long and Winding Road; Lady Madonna; I Saw Her Standing There; Yesterday; Sergeant Peppers/The End
Paul has continued to tour since 2003. We have seen him at Live 8 (2005), Liverpool Sound (2008) and at Glasgow Hampden Park (2010). I blogged on the Liverpool and Glasgow concerts at the time, and will write about Live 8 in a separate post one day soon.

Paul McCartney Knebworth 1990

Paul McCartney Knebworth 1990
genesisknebwoeth1990 The next time I saw Paul McCartney was in 1985, at Live Aid in Wembley Stadium. On that occasion he sang “Let It Be”. There was no sound for the first verse of the song, and the crowd started booing. Paul must have wondered what was happening. I next saw McCartney as part of a multi-act bill at a massive show at Knebworth in 1990. This was the Silver Clef Award Winners Concert and had an amazing line-up including Pink Floyd, Cliff Richard & The Shadows, Tears for Fears, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Elton John, Genesis, Ray Cooper, Robert Plant (with guest Jimmy Page), and Status Quo. Pretty strong bill! I won a pair of free tickets in a competition; I think is was with KitKat, and Marie and I went down for the weekend. This was a great concert, which deserves a blog post of its own. I’ll save that for another day, and limit my reflections today to McCartney’s part of the day. Paul McCartney World Tour set out on a worldwide concert tour during 1989 and 1990, and the Knebworth show came towards the end of the tour. It was McCartney’s first major tour outing in ten years, and his first tour under his own name (rather than Wings). During this tour Paul finally embraced his Beatles legacy and for the first time, he played a substantial number of Beatles songs, including some written by John Lennon, as a tribute to his friend. paulprog1990 The band featured Paul and Linda McCartney, Hamish Stuart from the Average White band (backing vocals, guitars), Robbie McIntosh (guitar), Paul “Wix” Wickens (keyboards), and Chris Whitten (drums). The set at Knebworth was a shortened version to that featured on the rest of the tour, but still featured some great Beatles songs. Marie and I were towards the back of the field; I remember looking across the crowd as everyone sung along to Hey Jude and Strawberry Fields. A great moment, which was then followed by a set from Pink Floyd who closed the show. The programme for the tour is a lavish booklet, which was given out free of charge at the concerts. I didn’t see any at Knebworth, but managed to pick up a copy at a car boot sale a few years ago. It contains the tour itinerary, lengthy profiles of each band member, descriptions of the stage and logistics, and many pages of McCartney’s reflections upon his life and career, illustrated with many photographs. Setlist at the Knebworth concert: Coming Up; Back in the U.S.S.R.; I Saw Her Standing There; We Got Married;Birthday; Let It Be; Live and Let Die; If I Were Not Upon the Stage; Hey Jude; John Lennon Tribute Medley: Strawberry Fields Forever; Help!; Give Peace a Chance; Yesterday; Can’t Buy Me Love.

Paul McCartney and Wings Newcastle City Hall 14 December 1979

Paul McCartney and Wings Newcastle City Hall 14 December 1979
wings79Come 1979 Wings were just mega popular. The single “Mull of Kintyre” had been a massive hit in the UK, giving Paul and Co the 1977 Christmas number one, and it was the first single to sell over two million copies in the UK. In 1979, Wings began a 19-date concert tour of the UK to promote their newest album, “Back to the Egg”. The tour called at Newcastle City Hall on 14 December 1979. Demand for the concerts was huge, with fans camping outside venues across the country to secure a ticket. My mate Dave and I were seeing Abba the night before tickets went on sale, and drove straight back from that gig to the City Hall where Dave joined the queue in the middle of the night to score tickets. The UK tour was originally planned to have been the first leg of a world tour, with stops in Japan, Europe, and America. Paul+McCartney+and+Wings+-+UK+Tour+1979+-+TOUR+PROGRAMME-320038 However, it was actually Wings’ concert tour after McCartney was arrested for possessing marijuana in Tokyo. Wings’ lineup for the tour was Paul and Linda McCartney, Denny Laine, and new comers Laurence Juber, and Steve Holley. The set list once again comprised a mix of Wings, McCartney and Beatles classics, although there were not quite as many Beatles songs this time. Stand-outs for me were opener “Got to Get You into My Life” and the just beautiful “Fool on the Hill”. It was close to Christmas and they of course played “Wonderful Christmastime” and “Mull of Kintyre”. Happy days. Setlist: Got to Get You into My Life; Getting Closer; Every Night; Again and Again and Again; I’ve Had Enough; No Words; Cook of the House; Old Siam, Sir; Maybe I’m Amazed; The Fool on the Hill; Hot as Sun / Glasses; Spin It On; Twenty Flight Rock; Go Now; Arrow Through Me; Coming Up; Goodnight Tonight; Wonderful Christmastime; Yesterday; Mull of Kintyre; Band on the Run.

Paul McCartney and Wings Newcastle City Hall 16 September 1975

Paul McCartney and Wings Newcastle City Hall 16 September 1975
wings75Two years after their last visit to the City Hall, and Paul McCartney and Wings were back to promote their new album “Venus and Mars”. Wings’ lineup for the tour was Paul and Linda McCartney, Joe English (drums), Denny Laine (vocals and guitar), and Jimmy McCulloch (vocals and guitar). They were joined for the tour by a brass and woodwind section. This time the set was much longer, and for the first time included five Beatles songs: “Lady Madonna”, “The Long and Winding Road”, “I’ve Just Seen a Face”, “Blackbird”, and “Yesterday”.  Great! Denny Laine sang the Moody’s “Go Now” and Jimmy McCulloch sang “Medicine Jar”; a song that he contributed to “Venus and Mars”. I’d seen Jimmy previously with John Mayall, Stone the Crows and fronting his own band, but he still looked so unbelievably young. And so lucky to land a job with Paul McCartney. I was totally knocked out by “I’ve Just Seen a Face” which was performed acoustically. It remains one of my favourite songs from “Help” and it was sooo good to see Paul perform it that night. Paul+McCartney+and+Wings+-+Paul+McCartney+And+Wings+In+Concert+-+TOUR+PROGRAMME-345708The set was a perfect mix of Beatles classics and new Wings songs. Probably one of the best times I’ve seen Paul McCartney, and it was particularly so because it was the first time that I’d seen him perform classic Beatle tunes (and complete with his violin bass). The tour was a massive success, taking Paul, Linda and the guys to Europe, the USA and Australia (and hence dubbed the “Wings around the World” tour).  It returned to the UK and closed in London in 1976 (Wings over Wembley).
Just saw my mate Norm and he reminded me that Linda McCartney was giving out flowers (he thinks they were carnations) to fans down at the front of the stage. Norm was lucky and close enough to be given a few by Linda. He pressed them and kept them for some years, but they sadly disintegrated some years ago.
Setlist: Venus and Mars; Rock Show; Jet; Let Me Roll It; Spirits of Ancient Egypt; Little Woman Love; C Moon; Maybe I’m Amazed; Lady Madonna; The Long and Winding Road; Live and Let Die; Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me); Richard Cory; Bluebird; I’ve Just Seen a Face; Blackbird; Yesterday; You Gave Me the Answer; Magneto and Titanium Man; Go Now; Call Me Back Again; My Love; Listen to What the Man Said; Letting Go; Junior’s Farm; Medicine Jar; Band on the Run; Hi, Hi, Hi; Soily

Paul McCartney and Wings Newcastle City Hall 10th July 1973

Paul McCartney and Wings Newcastle City Hall 10th July 1973
wings73 My one big concert-going regret is never seeing the Beatles. I was just too young to have seen them in concert, being only 9 when they last toured the UK. So when Paul McCartney started to tour again, with his band Wings, I was determined to see him. However; I also missed the first time Wings played in the north east, which was a “secret” last minute gig at Newcastle University, McCartney and co simply turning up in a van and asking to play. A remember a girl at school coming in and telling me that her brother had seen Paul McCartney the night before (he was a student at Newcastle University), and at first not believing her. Anyway my first real opportunity to see McCartney in concert was on Wings 1973 concert tour which called at Newcastle City Hall on 10th July 1973. The tour was to promote the band’s new album “Red Rose Speedway” and the single “Live and Let Die” from the James Bond film of the same name. Wings’ lineup at the time was Paul and Linda McCartney, Denny Laine (ex Moody Blues; guitar and vocal), Henry McCullough (ex Grease Band; guitar), and Denny Seiwell (drums). The support group for the tour was the excellent Brinsley Schwarz who Paul and Linda asked to accompany them after seeing the Brinsleys perform at the London Hard Rock Cafe a few weeks previously. I hadn’t managed to get tickets for the show which had of course sold out immediately, but wasn’t going to let that stop me. So I went along to the City Hall on the night to try and score a ticket outside. After wandering around outside the venue for some time without having any luck and still being ticketless, a shifty looking guy came up to me and asked me if I needed a ticket for the show. I explained that I did, and he offered to get me into the venue if I paid him a few pounds. I don’t remember exactly how much he charged me but it wasn’t too expensive, not much more than face value. wingsflyerI gave him the money and he walked to the door of the City Hall with me, placing his hand on my shoulder. The doormen obviously had “an arrangement” with this guy and let me pass through. I’d been told that once inside I was on my own, ticketless, but that if I stood at the back of the hall I would be ok; which, indeed, I was. So I was in 🙂 !. Hence I do not have a ticket stub for this gig, but I do have the programme and a flyer promoting “Red Rose Speedway”, both of which reassure me that my memory is not playing tricks with me on this occasion. Wings set that night was quite short in comparison to later gigs I saw, and just seemed to fly over. I stood at the back of the City Hall almost not believing that I was actually seeing Paul McCartney in concert. The set was a mixture of Wings and McCartney songs and a couple of Denny Laine tracks. Stand-outs for me were Maybe I’m Amazed, Live and Let Die and Hi Hi Hi. I was surprised that they played the Moody’s “Go Now”, which was just great to hear. They also played Denny’s song “Say You Don’t Mind” which had been a hit in 1972 for Colin Blunstone. The closest that we got to a Beatles song was the encore, which was Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally”, which Paul used to play with the fab four. A great concert, and I was buzzing and on a high for days afterwards. Setlist: Soily; Big Barn Bed; When the Night; Seaside Woman; Wild Life; Little Woman Love; C Moon; Maybe I’m Amazed; My Love; Live and Let Die; Go Now; Say You Don’t Mind; The Mess; Hi, Hi, Hi. Encore: Long Tall Sally. Paul quote from the programme” “Performing hasn’t changed any since I last went out. It’s just a different band and different material. It could never change. Performing is performing. It’s still just you singing a song….”