NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Paul McCartney had a big weekend two weeks ago, with an appearance with Billy Joel at the final concert at New York's storied Shea Stadium and then a quick jaunt to Quebec, to help the city celebrate its 400th anniversary with 270,000 of his fans.
The first stop for the performer was at July 18th's "Last Play at Shea" where Macca arrived in the nick of time to appear on stage, surprising both Billy Joel, the scheduled performer for night and the standing room only crowd.
"Shea was a blast." commented Paul McCartney. "I can't tell you what it felt like to be back there onstage after all these years – and to think I nearly didn't make it."
McCartney's addition to the event had been at the last minute, when he found out that his trip to Quebec would route him through New York, Sir Paul decided to hit Shea.
"I really wanted to do it as Billy is a mate and I have such special memories of Shea," Paul continued. "I had to fly to New York city to get to Quebec and it kind of dawned on me that as I was flying Friday evening I might just be able to make it to Shea by the end of the show. So I made a few calls and the rest was to be left to fate. I knew it was going to be close though."
The concert began at 9PM but McCartney's plane didn't touch down at JFK until 11pm and after rushing off the plane, guitar in hand, he was given an escort by the NYPD and made it to the stadium in just 11 minutes.
"I've really got to hand it to those guys as without them I don't think we'd have made it. I'd really like to say a special thanks to them and express my gratitude for getting me to the show on time!" McCartney added.
Upon arriving, McCartney surprised Joel by hopping up onto the stage and launching into a rendition of "I Saw Her Standing There" and then closing the night out with his anthem "Let It Be" with Billy Joel ably providing backup vocals.
McCartney's visit was a nostalgic one for the singer and a nod to the stadium's history. The Beatles were the first band to ever perform at the stadium when they did their historic 1965 gig there, just one year after the Shea opened.
"Everything happened so quickly", Paul said. "I didn't have a chance to soundcheck or warm up in any way and Billy had no idea I was there! We had just about enough time to find me a guitar strap as I walked on to the stage. I heard the band count the song in and bang there I was, in front of thousands of people playing away. I just about managed to get to the microphone for the opening line of the song. In then hit me that this 4:30am in the morning my time and I thought what am I doing here! But it was great."
After Shea, it was on to Quebec, where the city was in the throes of its 400th year anniversary. McCartney had agreed to do a few show there on July 20th and the event had been heavily promoted around the city, with one local radio station even changing its name to Paul McCartney FM.
The promotional effort appears to have been successful. Organizers for the event had initially estimated that the concert site The Plains Of Abraham, could accommodate 60,000 people, however when throngs descended upon the city, it quickly became apparent that they had underestimated attendance by several orders of magnitude. Additional spaces were set up and equipped with big screens to carry video feeds of the concert to accommodate the overflow crowd.
When McCartney finally took to the stage at 9:30, audience numbers were upwards of 270,000 people and Macca brought his A game. He and his band did a 36 song set that included fan favorites by both McCartney and The Beatles.
"Man, we had such a great night. No one ever wants a great night to come to an end. It was great looking out into the audience and seeing them enjoying themselves as much as we were. Then there are all the special banners they make, I always try to have a read of those. There was a sea of Union Jacks and the audience also had their own flashing lights with them, which looked incredible when the sun had gone down. I had a really great time with 'toute la gang." McCartney said. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers