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Macca opened and finished the London Hyde Park Live 8 show, on Saturday, July 2nd, 2005.
Amidst undue pomp and ceremony, at just gone 2pm, the current Fab Four - U2, kicked Live 8 off with one of the original Fab Four, Paul McCartney, and a rocking start, with 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' - a number McCartney had never performed live. Bono had said in a TV interview, just before the start, that he felt sick with nerves, and McCartney was also quite nervous. Cool rock stars, eh?
'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' seemed apt, if just for the line, "It was twenty years ago today". A Beatle lookalike French horn section even came on in Sgt. Pepper uniforms, and a backdrop of mostly modern icons was a nice nod at Peter Blake's unique 'Pepper' album cover.
Bob Geldof introduced Paul McCartney, as we were nearly into the next day, to finish the show off, and this time his mike worked okay for his solo spot.
Macca said to the crowd: "You've come for the right reason. We want to rock." Then Macca and backing band launched into a tasty version of 'Get Back', which was followed by 'Drive My Car', and a special guest, with George Michael bounding onto the stage, and noticeably not trying to overpower Paul's vocals. A quick hug, and it looks likely that the two will be working together again soon.
An unlikely choice for the next song, for a man of 63, was that candidate for the first heavy metal song EVER, 'Helter Skelter'. It was a blistering version (sorry, John!), and Macca was in great voice, too.
Before his last song, Paul said to the crowd: "They can't avoid this." Then, as he sat at his Yamaha piano, it seemed, for one awful moment, lightning would strike twice, and it'd be a repeat of the technical problems that blighted his Live Aid performance.
But, those fears weren't realised, as he went into the symbolic 'The Long And Winding Road', in reference to the 'The Long Walk For Justice'. A lovely version, with some sparkling guitar, and moving images on the big screen, then it burst into The Beatles greatest singalong track, 'Hey Jude', with a crowd of the day's performers coming onstage, including Pete Townshend on electric guitar. A pity around 50,000 had left early to try and get home, due to the show overrunning by miles, and finishing around midnight. Macca and Townshend embraced, and even for these legendary rockers this had been a BIG, BIG event.
- Paul Rance for booksmusicfilmstv.com/Peace & Freedom Press.
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