Barcelona • Wednesday, May 8, 1991

ConcertBy Paul McCartney • Part of the Unplugged 1991 Summer Tour
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The first date of this small series of “surprise gigs”, in front of 1800 fans. The band flew in the morning of the show, and out just after the concert.

Because the vinyl record is in Spanish, with a Spanish sleevenote, and because I’ve got an affection for Spain – I learnt Spanish at school, it’s the land of the guitar and it has a great history. So it became a good idea to go there to play, to tie it all up.

Paul McCartney, about why Barcelona. Not clear what his reference to the vinyl record is about. Club Sandwich 58, Summer 1991.

It rained, of course. But then it would. All that guff about raining only on the plain was invented because “the rain in Spain falls mainly in Barcelona” doesn’t scan. Anyway, it often rains at times of triumph for Mac. It bucketed down in Florida on the World Tour – and that was one helluva gig. And in Rio, the 184,000 fans at the Maracana Stadium (biggest crowd world record holder: P. McCartney) were drenched by the worst storms in living memory.

But the rain didn’t dampen the Spanish any. Crowds had been gathering outside the Zeleste Club since daybreak and the desperate were paying $540 to scalpers for $15 tickets.

“It’s going to be Barceloony,” said Richard, Paul’s manager, as a roar of awe from the sodden queue by the stage door told the inattentive that Paul and Linda had arrived.

Inside, the Zeleste club didn’t look like it could hold 1800 fans. Compact, in a Kaiserkeller sort of way, it seemed smaller than some of the dressing rooms on the World Tour.

As Keith Smith’s skeleton staff of roadies scampered to cope with horrendous feedback that neither Paul nor Robbie could work out if they were responsible for, Macca led the band through snatches of the 24-song, half-acoustic, half-electric (Unplugged and Plugged) list that would form the set.

At 8 pm, the doors opened and the fans didn’t rush in, as much as rocket in. This being Paul’s first show in the city since July 1965, when the Fabs flew in on their last Euro-tour, the excitement was rabid.

Paul had said he’d go on stage at 9.30 and at ten seconds to, the crowd started a chanted count-down. When they got to whatever “one” is in Spanish, a thunderclap shout went up which drowned out much of the first verse of ‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’. There then followed a word-perfect crowd yellalong (singalong being too slight a term for the noise) to ‘We Can Work It Out’ as Paul zapped through a 13-song selection from the MTV Unplugged show.

Characteristically milking the fun – he intro’d Robbie as “Roberto McIntoshio” and added the novel “She’s not a man, she’s not a car, she’s not a washing machine, she’s not a toaster…She’s A Woman” to that song – he left them with ‘Good Rockin’ Tonight’. And gasping.

If the now heavily-excited crowd hoped for an encore, they got better as Macca returned – plugged -to do ‘Band On The Run’, ‘My Brave Face’, ‘Ebony And Ivory’, ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘Get Back’, ‘Coming Up’, ‘The Long And Winding Road’, ‘Ain’t That A Shame’ and ‘Let It Be’.

Off he went again. And back he came…for what must surely rank as one of the best imaginable encores in rock and roll – ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ followed hard by ‘Sgt Pepper’. And they all took the final bow – and the final shrieks that resulted – wearing Barcelona football club shirts.

Pretty bloody ole, really.

Geoff Baker, Paul’s publicist, Clud Sandwich 58, Summer 1991

Last updated on June 19, 2019


This was the 1st and only concert played at Zeleste.


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