Paul McCartney | 100 Club | London | 17 Dec 2010

A Once In A Lifetime Experience...

I was one of the lucky people to get a ticket for Paul McCartney’s one-off show at the 100 Club in London. 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 two hour performance that would have put many artists fifty years his junior to shame. The fact that this show took place at 1pm 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 was chatty and amusing throughout whether fending off well natured heckling or telling stories about The Beatles’ Hamburg days and writing his first! songs with John.

After thirty-five years of gig going this was one of the best 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.

Set list: Matchbox/Magical Mystery Tour/Jet/Drive My Car/All My Loving/One After 909/Honey Hush/Let Me Roll It/The Long and Winding Road/Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five/Maybe I'm Amazed/Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying/Blackbird/Calico Skies/I'm Looking Through You/And I Love Her/Petrushka/Dance Tonight/Eleanor Rigby/Hitch Hike/Band on the Run/Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da/Let It Be/Hey Jude/Yesterday/Get Back/Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band/The End

(No, I did not have a photo pass for this show! I snuck my old D70 in tucked under my coat and sneaked some shots when I could).

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