McCartney Triumphantly Returns To Liverpool
Paul McCartney got back to where he once belonged yesterday (June 1), wrapping up his world tour with an emotion-charged concert in Liverpool, England, the birthplace of the Beatles.Paul McCartney got back to where he once belonged yesterday (June 1), wrapping up his world tour with an emotion-charged concert in Liverpool, England, the birthplace of the Beatles. From the moment he tore into the Fab Four's catalog of hits, 35,000 people leapt to their feet and clapped in unison. For ardent Beatle fans, McCartney was replaying the soundtrack of their lives and they sang along to every number.
"It's great to be home," he said, launching into "All My Loving" that was played out against a nostalgic video backdrop of newsreel footage of 1960s Beatlemania.
Since launching his tour in Oakland, Calif., in April 2002, the indefatigable McCartney has played to 2 million people around the globe, from Mexico to Japan. He performed in Moscow's Red Square and brought rock'n'roll to Rome's Colosseum for the first time. But yesterday, the message waved to McCartney on thousands of heart-shaped banners said it all: "Home is where the heart is."
McCartney played 25 of the Beatles' greatest hits, twice as many as the world's most famous pop group used to perform at gigs together in its heyday.
The 60-year-old singer was in reflective mood, choking back the tears as he sang "Here Today" in memory of John Lennon, shot dead by a crazed fan in New York in 1980. Then he remembered "my baby brother" George Harrison, paying tribute to the Beatle who died of cancer by playing "Something" on the ukulele, one of Harrison's favorite instruments.
He dedicated love songs to the two women in his life -- his late wife Linda and his second wife Heather Mills. McCartney and Mills recently announced that they are to have a baby, prompting one Liverpudlian wag in the crowd to hold up a sign saying "Still Got Lead in Your Pencil Paul," much to the singer's amusement.
The setting for the concert was stunning. As darkness fell, the silhouette of Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral acted as a dramatic backdrop to the specially constructed open-air stage on the banks of the River Mersey in northwest England.
At the end, McCartney poured heart and soul into the evocative ballad "The Long and Winding Road" but any talk of his retirement is definitely premature. "I never think it is my last tour," he said. "I've always said I'll be wheeled on when I'm 90. And that might be a dreadful prediction that comes true! You age but you don't think that you do."
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