Live Music + Gig Reviews

Paul McCartney @ Earl’s Court, London

19 April 2002

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney

The word legendary is often overused, but can be the only word to truly sum up one of the two surviving ex-Beatles. Reaching London on this, his first UK tour for 10 years, Paul McCartney showed just why he has such an aura.

The show started in very bizarre fashion, as characters in costumes waltzed down the packed arena’s aisles. And once on the stage, a very theatrical 15 minute prelude ensued, including dancing and samurai sword fighting, taking in different cultures from around the world. This elongated start managed to crank up the expectation further, and the roar which greeted the arrival of McCartney to the stage could have taken the roof off.

He got the show off to a rousing start with Hello Goodbye, which, in front of a very colourful backdrop of screens, was a taste of things to come.

Swiftly followed by All My Loving, this was Beatles heaven. A feeling heightened as images of the fab four emblazoned the mass of screens to the rear of the stage. After a couple of new songs, easily the weakest of the set, McCartney spoke for the first time, welcoming us to “the court of the earl”.

He was backed up all night by a very capable band, the most noticeable of which was a menacing looking shaven headed drummer. Soon the band departed the stage however, giving Macca the stage to himself. Armed with just an acoustic guitar, he reigned supreme with a great rendition of the White Album classic, Blackbird.

Milking the crowd’s applause after each song, McCartney continued with tales of massages on tour and a quirky version of Something on the ukulele, dedicated to the late George Harrison.

Wings classics Band On The Run and Live and Let Die, with pyrotechnics to the fore, had everyone in raptures. But the highlight had to be a joyous rendition of Hey Jude with the whole crowd swaying and singing along.

After three hours of back to back hits everyone would surely have gone home thinking the same thing – this had been a special night.

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