Paul McCartney surprised and delighted fans on Thursday with a small free gig at The Cavern Club, returning to the cellar venue in Liverpool where the Beatles made their name about 60 years ago.
In scenes reminiscent of the 1960s, the 76-year-old was greeted by cheering and screaming fans as he arrived at the club by car. Many had waited hours to get a limited number of tickets after the singer and musician had posted a tweet earlier to announce the gig.
McCartney, whose latest album Egypt Station comes out in September, played a wide-ranging set list, including Beatles hits Magical Mystery Tour and I Saw Her Standing There, which got the loudest cheers from the audience.
“Hello Liverpool. Cavern,” he told the cheering crowd as he came on stage.
McCartney, who usually plays arenas and stadiums, sang and chatted to the audience during the two-hour gig at the packed club — which has a capacity for 350 standing people — who sang along with him.
“Imagine this for me… All those years ago we came here and played. We didn’t know if we’d ever have any future, but we did OK,” he said. “Coming back here with all of our guys, all of our crew, it’s pretty pretty amazing for me.”
Upcoming Canadian dates
McCartney, John Lennon and later George Harrison got their start as the Quarrymen in the late 1950s at the Cavern — a cramped cellar bar in the northern English port city. The band evolved into the Beatles in 1960, and played nearly 300 gigs at the venue over the next two years. Ringo Starr joined the group in 1962, replacing Pete Best.
McCartney’s Twitter account tipped off fans early Thursday that he would be performing at 2 p.m., with tickets being handed out free from 10 a.m. “on a first-come, first-served basis.”
“It’s a dream isn’t it. My dream is to go back in time to the ’60s and see them at the Cavern,” fan Lottie Ryan, 27, said as she waited to get into the venue. “This is the closest I’m ever going to get. I’m so excited.”
The original Cavern Club closed in 1973 and was eventually knocked down. But the bricks were saved and used to build the current venue on Mathew Street.
McCartney gave a concert at the venue in 1999 when he played a range of his songs and covers.
McCartney has announced dates for his Freshen Up tour, with a September swing through Canada in Quebec City (Sept. 17), Montreal (Sept. 20), Winnipeg (Sept. 28) and Edmonton (Sept. 30).
It was fabulous and brought back loads of beautiful memories and reminded me of where we started <a href=”https://twitter.com/cavernliverpool?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@cavernliverpool</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/PaulMcCartney?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#PaulMcCartney</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/EgyptStation?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#EgyptStation</a> <a href=”https://t.co/9kUFNCWU6Y”>pic.twitter.com/9kUFNCWU6Y</a>