Paul McCartney churned out a Beatles-laden set list to a pumped-up crowd gathered yesterday (July 20) for a free concert as part of Quebec City’s 400th anniversary celebration.
McCartney opened the show with the Wings song “Jet” after which he greeted the crowd in French. The audience erupted and the band then started into the Beatles’ 1965 classic “Drive My Car.”
The gig also features performances of the Beatles’ “All My Loving,” “Got To Get You Into My Life,” “The Long and Winding Road,” “Blackbird,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “A Day in the Life,” “Good Day Sunshine,” “Let It Be,” “Penny Lane,” “Lady Madonna” and “Get Back, among others.
Organizers expected some 200,000 people at the outdoor show on the city’s Plains of Abraham. Tens of thousands of music fans began congregating early Sunday in hopes of grabbing a good view.
Following a guest appearance the night before with Billy Joel at New York’s Shea Stadium, McCartney arrived in Quebec City Saturday evening and was greeted by hundreds of adoring fans, many of whom had waited several hours outside the Chateau Frontenac Hotel to catch a glimpse of him.
Journalists yelled questions at him from a distance as he got out of his car. When one asked: “Are you happy to be in Quebec City?” He gave a thumbs-up and shouted, “Oui.”
The much-anticipated show, McCartney’s only scheduled headlining performance in North America this year, drew ire from some in the province who have questioned his participation in the weekend birthday celebrations of French-speaking Quebec City because of his British roots.
They claim his presence evokes painful memories of Britain’s conquest of New France in 1760.
In an interview with Radio-Canada earlier this week, the 66-year-old artist brushed off the nationalists’ claims. “I think it’s time to smoke the pipes of peace and to just, you know, put away your hatchet because I think it’s a show of friendship,” McCartney said.
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