Paul McCartney helps save the 100 Club

By David Dunn

London, 17 December 2010

I was one of the lucky people to get a ticket for Paul McCartney’s one-off show at the tiny 100 Club in McCartney-TicketLondon. Billed as a show to help publicise the possible closure of the legendary club due to increasing rents the show took place ahead of two rare theatre shows in London and Liverpool and undoubtedly served as a warm up ahead of these much smaller gigs after the world stadium tour. As an adjective, “intimate” does not do the performance justice. Only 300 people were fortunate enough to attend this event and for everyone there it is pretty certain that most would probably consider this to be one of those genuinely once-in-a-lifetime gigs.

From the pre-Christmas snowing falling on us as we waited outside on Oxford Street for the doors to open, to seeing the living legend take the tiny stage with his superb band (Brian Ray, Rusty Anderson, Abe Laboriel Jr and Paul Wickens) to hearing him tear into a generous set of covers, Beatles, Wings and solo material – everything about the show was pitch perfect. Opening with ‘Matchbox’ before kicking into the classic Beatles’ song ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ McCartney defied the years to put on a McCartney-Tickettwo hour performance that would have put many artists fifty years his junior to shame. The fact that this show took place at one o’clock in the afternoon was a staggering testament to the man’s endurance and talent.

Beatles songs such as Drive My Car, All My Loving, Eleanor Rigby, Hey Jude, Let It Be, Get Back, Yesterday and The Long And Winding Road were all present and correct whereas the Wings years were represented mainly by Band On The Run tracks such as Let Me Roll It, Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five and Jet. The covers were judiciously chosen including Matchbox, Hitch Hike and most memorably, a rip-roaring version of Honey Hush. McCartney seemed to thrive in the party atmosphere and the closeness of the audience and he was chatty and amusing throughout, telling stories about The Beatles’ Hamburg days, of writing his first songs with John Lennon and how his jokey Russian folk pastiche ‘Petruschka’ was described by ill-informed journalists as a classic Russian tune.

After thirty-five years of gig going this was one of the most thrilling performances I can remember. It was everything that it promised to be, and if the gig had not been perfect enough it finished with a handshake from the living legend himself as he left the stage to raucous cheers and, it has to be said, some disbelief at what we had just been fortunate enough to witness.

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