MACCA-News: Paul McCartney’s Secret Gig in New York - reports/photos(46)/videos - Thursday, June 14, 2007 @MACCA-Central.com
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Paul McCartney’s Secret Gig in New York - reports/photos(46)/videos
Source: Mike Kovacich
Updated: Jun.17,2007 12:43
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Rare to see MACCA so up close and intimate
Playing to a few hundred people was like a sound check
By Mike Kovacich - macca-central.com
Not since the early seventies and the first incarnation of Wings with their UK University tour, have the public seen Paul McCartney performing a series of concerts to a small crowd. There were some one off gigs like the Cavern in '99. Last night was the second of a series of three “secret gigs” Paul McCartney put together to help celebrate and promote his new release “Memory Almost Full”. The album debuted on Billboard this week at number 3 with the first week sales more than double his 2005 studio release, “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard”. The first secret gig was held last week in London at slightly larger Electric Ballroom. Last nights was at the Highline Ballroom in New York and the last one will be in LA on June 16th at a venue to be determined.
"Following Paul's sensational show in New York the following facts have now emerged... - there was a VERY strong police presence because of the crowds which spanned a whole square city block!- plain closed police officers on horseback were drafted in!– barracades were needed throughout the crowded streets, approx 25 policemen were on the scene! Finally... - there was a rumour that the police were going to shut down the show because of the crowds, they were extremely concerned about rioting!" . . . paulmccatney.com
Standing room capacity at the Highline Ballroom is 650 people and my daughter Debbie and I were one of the lucky ones. Though I've seen Paul on every tour on this side of the pond starting with Wings Over America at Maple Leaf Gardens, Debbie was just 8 years old when I brought her to see Paul at the Skydome in Toronto. Those were nosebleed seats and we both were so excited to get so up and close in this rare setting. Paul has been wanting to do a small club/venue type of gig like this for a very long time and I would always wonder how it could be pulled off. Remember, this guy is one of the few acts out there that can still fill stadiums and arenas in every city on a tour. Why would Paul want to play to 650 when he could do another gig in front of 500,000 as he did in Rome a couple years back. To be as intimate to a few group of fans as possible, like the beginning of the Beatles. I'm sure he truly misses being able to do that. During the many discussions over the years here in the oBLOGdi-oBLOGda or a.k.a. MACCA-Forums, I always thought this would be near to impossible to pull off especially on this side of the pond. So many would be so disappointed, would he, could he, and how would "real fans" get to this intimate show without scalpers or corporate types scooping up everything. We heard so many complaints from the recent tours of rows and rows of seats up front to the stage filled with corporate ticket holders who wouldn't stand up, or sing or were more interested in getting the next round of drinks. Well, I can safely report that they did it. They pulled it off.
We met friends again that we only see at Paul events such as this like Bob and Mary, Chris from Ohio, Jennifer from Washington and so many more. We met fans of MACCA Central and MACCA Radio to numerous to name, thanks for saying hi guys. We met people who won tickets from radio station contests like Mike and his dad, Kevin and his brother-in-law Jerry from New York. We met people so disappointed they didn’t get a wristband, but if they stuck around long enough I heard more places opened up as there were believe it or not some "no shows". They all had something in common, they were real fans. No scalpers to be seen. Nobody I saw was trying to sell their wristband though some were trying to buy a wristband. My guess is that if their were a transaction like that the wristband locking would be damaged thus an easy indication that someone removed the wristband and risk being turned away at the door.
For those who got in line very early that day with their wristbands, they were rewarded. One of Paul’s staff came out and collected items from fans in the front of the line and they got signed by Paul and returned to them. One of these days I hope to get my pick guard for my Hofner bass signed.
Just after they started to let us in. As we entered the venue Mark Hamilton, Paul’s security handed out special T-shirts. We were not frisked for anything, cameras or other recording devices. My daughter Debbie did bring her camera got lots of pics and some video. In the background Twin Freaks played up until it went silent, the light go down, he’s back in town, OK. The tension mounts, your score an ounce, STOP. No just having a flashback of the Wings Over America tour and the smell of pot in the air, the tension, anticipation. Paul comes on-stage.
When Paul introduced "Here Today" for "our fallen heroes: John, George and Linda, the tears began to flow and by the end of the first verse, “And if I said, I really knew you well, what would your answer be, if you were Here Today”, people were trying wipe the tears away to watch Paul continue. Kara, a waitress on the job for that night claimed she was a big Paul fan and couldn’t believe her luck to be working this night. She came by just as “Here Today” began and said she loves this song. Except for Paul including it in set-list of some recent tour, it’s wasn’t a single and not a well known song to the occasional fan. Kara couldn’t take her eyes off Paul and “As for me, I still remember how it was before, and I am holding back the tears no more.”, the tears turned into outright sobbing for some. Yep, it was a group hug time after that one, as my daughter Debbie, Kara and myself. Just as they were still trying to wipe the tears away, Paul jumps into the rocker, Back in the USSR.
Here is the set-list below:
Drive My Car Only Mama Knows (from Memory Almost Full) Dance Tonight (from Memory Almost Full) C Moon The Long And Winding Road I'll Follow The Sun Calico Skies That Was Me (from Memory Almost Full) Blackbird Here Today Back In The USSR Nod Your Head (from Memory Almost Full) House Of Wax (from Memory Almost Full) I've Got A Feeling (new I've Got A Feeling JAM) Matchbox Get Back Baby Face (new full version) Hey Jude
ENCORES Let It Be Lady Madonna I Saw Her Standing There
20 songs, 90 mins.
Through out the night fans shouted out to Paul, like "we love you", and Paul answers, "we love you too". After a few songs a fan shouted, "Where's Wix?" Paul explained that Wix was working on a gig for the Queen and he choose her over him, jokingly of course and then he introduced Wix's temporary replacement, Dave.
He played 5 songs from the new "Memory Almost Full" CD and they all worked very well. Certainly there is no reason not to include these on the next tour. Only Mama Knows and Nod Your Head rocked the house, speaking of which, "House of Wax" was indeed haunting live as it is on the CD.
There are going to be other reports from fans like Linda Aiello who was selected from the lineup and had dinner with Paul, really. Other reports will be posted as well from fans telling their story. I will be updating my report as I get the photos and video from Debbie but let me say it was such an wonderful experience to have my daughter with me for this special event, we both will cherish the gig and the we got to hang out together as father and daughter. I'll leave you with a link to 3 minutes of video from the gig shot by the pro crew.
Live at the Highline Ballroom, NYC
FAN Reports: Bob Gannon Hi folks, Just recovering from the show last night which was absolutely amazing! Very small venue and for a small crowd of hardcore fans a dream did come true last night. Prior to the show, a lucky fan (and friend of mine) was escorted by Paul's people into sound check and then stayed and had dinner with Paul as he signed a stack of autographs collected from the line outside by Mark Hamilton. She was then placed front row center at Paul's request. The fan who Paul has known since 1972 was certainly unbelievably excited at her luck on this eve. While inside, she conspired with band members and Paul's people to orchestrate a singing of happy birthday in which the band would play along. The people who had been waiting the longest were assured by Mark Hamilton that we would be first through the door and have the best spots because Paul wanted it that way. Upon seeing some of the regular faces, he came over to talk to us early in the day. As promised we were the first ones trough the door and were right up against the stage. The 40+ people who got tickets that day were lined up behind us and then the radio/contest winners and some press after that.
The doors opened at about 7pm and the buzz was high amongst the fans at what they would soon see. Most of he original 100 people are all the same folks i've seen for years standing on line for days for every Beatle event. Even with the slight problems with distribution, it really was an effective way to keep scalpers out of the ballgame. After standing on line, the original 100 people were given a numbered ticket. They made us provide a picture ID at that time and they wrote down license numbers and names of everyone. When we came back the next day we exchanged our tickets for wristbands and a numbered card to guarantee entry to the show. Mark Hamilton himself dispersed the wristbands. The club owner checked each and every ID with the ticket number to make sure it matched. The numbers guaranteed your place on line so that you could leave and come back. The ones who got wristbands that day were told to come back at 6pm and that they would line up behind the numbered people. During this whole process the radio winners still had not been called and told where to go. At about 230pm they were told to go to a hotel near the ballroom and to show up between 5 & 6 pm with a photo ID. Once at the ballroom, they had to provide their ID and both people got their wristband right there. They lined up behind the 2nd group and received not preferential treatment over the fans who had been waiting in the streets. A few people at show time were let in when they realised there was a little more room. One of the moderators from pm.com was on the 2nd line and just missed out getting a ticket and became very upset. After several minutes, Mark Hamilton was summoned and she was taken to the door and received a wristband with no number. It was truly an effective way to get fans the tickets.
Well, around 9pm Paul and band entered the stage to a loud reception. The set list was the same as London for the most part with the exception of a full version of "Babyface" and an extended rock jam with Paul on lead guitar during "i've got a feeling". The crowd was very raucous the whole way through and even the new songs were received very enthusiastically. They started the hour and forty minute ride with "Drive my car". To the delight of the crowd. Then came the show stopping "Only mama knows" the hinges on the building almost burst. In 40+ concerts seeing Paul, I have never heard his voice sound so strong and on point as it was this evening. Truly magical all the way around. The band even sounded better than on tour, very tight except the noticeable absence of long time keyboard Paul "Wix" Wixens. A lot of chatter and banter with the crowd as well...things like "I love you too man" and "No, you're the man!" After greeting New York, the audience sang "Happy Birthday" to Paul and the band played along as planned. Paul seemed to bask in the wave of love and enjoy the moment.
We then went into one of the new singles "Dance Tonight" which neither lost the it's charm or fun quality as the crowd sang and danced along. He then walked over to the piano where he played "C'Moon". Well, the crowd was right there with him and into a nice version of "the long and winding road". He then went to acoustic guitar where he played "i'll follow the sun" with of course four false endings. At the end of this song a few people yelled "where's wix?". I guess Paul didn't hear it with all of the noise and proceeded into "Calico skies". At the end of the song, there was a brief quiet part where I was able to yell to him "Hey Paul, where's Wix?". Paul explained that Wix was in London rehearsing for a show for the Queen. He said he thought the choice was easy between New York City with him or London and her majesty the queen but....As the crowd yelled Paul said "Damn monarchists!!!" and then said he was only kidding. He then went into a rousing "That was me" which again brought the house down. His vocals shredded the place during the screaming parts and sent shivers up my spine. At the end he thanked the club and then said I like to thank "me". Someone asked him how he felt, Paul said "modest but I live wit it" and I yelled out "as one does" and Paul answered "as I do" Crowd just simply exploded after the song. He then sang "blackbird" where he was alone on stage, simply beautiful. He then sang "Here today" again dedicated to John, George and Linda. After a long loud roar from the fans he added "the city in which John lived and loved so much and the city which gave me, my Linda" which incurred another long roar. The crowd got very quiet as you could hear a pin drop while Paul played and sang an amazing version which was perhaps the most emotional moment in the show. Band rejoined Paul and pulled off a blistering "back in the ussr" and at the end Paul asked the crowd to participate in the next song asking if we had seen the videos on myspace.com for the next song. He demonstrated the nodding head and said the crowd in London had a hard time nodding especially in time with the music. He then went into "nod your head" as a wave of heads nodded in the crowd, Paul joined along as he played and sang. At the end, another loud response to the song as Paul said we did "great".
Of course this show was being filmed as usual. Paul then walked over to the piano where he played the piano. He went into an amazing "house of wax". His voice was top notch ad I got goose bumps. The band played the heck out of the song with Rusty supplying a fantastic lead guitar. Paul then came back out and grabbed his Gibson. They then went into "i've got a feeling" the beginning chords sent the crowd into a frenzy. After ending the song, the crowd started to yell as they then began a rock jam with some impromptu "i've got a feeling" lyrics with Paul rocking out on guitar. They then went into "Matchbox" which again sent the hardcore fans off in a frenzy. Definitely one of the highlights of the night. We then went into "Get Back" . He then walked back to the piano where he played a full version of "babyface" which delighted the crowd. Then came "Hey Jude" which everyone joined along with including Eliajah Wood and Whoopie Goldberg. During the chorus he asked for only the men and then asked for the women to sing. He then asked for the women again because he like the sound of it. Back to the piano where everyone was encourage to sing along. The band then joined center stage where they bowed and did their little shuffle dance. Then off stage after collecting some flowers and giving high fives the front row. After a long and loud cheers for his return he came back with "let it be" followed by "lady madonna" . He then mentioned how great the audience was and did a round of thank you's and ended with "I saw her standing there".
Milling around after the show talking to friends, everyone was quite stricken by how amazing his voice was. It really shows how incredible strong his voice still is when not performing every night on a world tour. During the evening Paul mentioned "this is great, we should do this again" the crowd gave a resounding "yes" and Paul said "how bout tomorrow?"
All in all, this was a hardcore fan's dream. Small venue, almost all hardcore fans and Paul and band just ripping it up. You could complain about set list and anything else you may want to pick apart but the bottom line is, this may be as close to heaven that most of us die hard fans will ever come. For those out West and beyond, I suggest when the announcement is made that you make whatever arrangements you have too and try to catch the LA show. If this is any mark of what that performance will be like "the bar has been set very high" Not only was it a great show, but it was amazing seeing so many great friends and meeting a few old ones and new ones as well. Truly blessed to have shared a piece of heaven with all of them!!! Get Back clip (:28) video by podgiethemonkey