- Mexico City
- The Zocalo
- 250,000 / 250,000
More from year 2012
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With guest(s) With a mariachi band
During the day, Paul McCartney and his band rehearsed at the Holiday Inn Mexico, in Zocalo, Mexico City.
From PVAngels.com, May 11th 2012
Paul McCartney rocked Mexico City’s “The Zocalo” Thursday night, in a free mega concert that gathered over 200,000 people together, according to CNN.
Authorities had estimated an attendance of at least 80,000 people, the largest ever for a concert in the city’s main plaza.
It was the Mexican holiday “Dia de las Madres” (Mother’s Day) and McCartney’s first words -in Spanish- were directed to them.
“We are very happy to be here in Dia de las Madres,” McCartney said in Spanish.
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“Thank you Mamacitas,” he added and dedicated them his hit song “Hope of Deliverance.”
The British legend reportedly waved Mexico’s flag on the stage and shouted “Viva Mexico Cabrones” to a tremendous response from the audience.
Perhaps one of the most emotional moments of the concert was when he performed “Hey Jude” and the hundreds of thousands at The Zocalo sang the chorus together: “Na-na-na-na Hey Jude,” local media reports.
When he performed “Yesterday” the public sang with excitement, according to reports.
There were fireworks for “Live and Let Die,” and for “Ob–La-Di Ob-La-Da” Mexican Mariachi band “Gama Mil” performed with McCartney.
From the Freshen Up tour book:
In recent years has there been one show that’s really stuck with you when you came off stage and you thought: “Yeah, we really nailed it tonight”
I think the show we did in Zocalo was very special. It was a nice day and before it we’d said hi to Bob Dylan’s band. We were in a good mood and the crowd was so huge and excited that it was infectious. So it made you want to play better, and it became kind of like a party. Which is actually kind of the aim for me with our shows. I like to play well and entertain the people. But once it starts to kick off into a party then the enjoyment level goes right up. So I think that would be my choice… Although there has been a lot of others though!Paul McCartney – from interview for the Freshen Up tour book, 2019
From For Whom The Bell Tells, June 1, 2012:
‘Magical’, ‘unforgettable’, ‘historical’, ‘sensational’, ‘Mc-nificent’, ‘the concert of a lifetime’… These are just some of the headlines that appeared in Mexico following Paul’s free show to over 250,000 people at the Zócalo in Mexico City earlier this month. It’s not that unusual to see these kinds of headlines in Macca world but really this night was something else. This show truly was magical. I never witnessed Beatlemania but after Mexico City I can now easily imagine it.
As we sped away in Paul’s convoy with a police escort after the show, there was an unusual silence amongst the crew on the bus. It was clear we’d all just been part of something very special. This wasn’t just a gig for the people of Mexico and it certainly wasn’t ‘just a gig’ for us either. As we started chatting and remembering moments of the evening, someone mentioned it was like a ‘religious experience’. The communal feeling was incredible. It’s hard to do it justice in words. Seeing all these people come together to share such a memorable experience was a sight to behold. Everywhere we looked, we saw people. In the square, on the streets, on roof-tops, hanging out of windows, just everywhere! None of us on the crew are ever blasé about working for Paul but the feeling of admiration, awe, respect and gratitude to our boss was overwhelmingly apparent after the show and in the conversations we have had since.
For Paul himself it had clearly been just as amazing too. One thing that Paul was really happy about in the run up to this show was the idea of playing to people who might not be able to normally afford to see his show. Crowds had been queuing for this a week in advance; these guys really wanted to be there. So did Paul, Wix, Brian, Rusty and Abe. Their performance matched the staggering enthusiasm that met them when they took to the stage.
Hours before the show started, Paul arrived onsite and unlike his normal show days, the band were unable to do their usual soundcheck. Normally the guys would be performing in arenas and stadiums and there’d be no audience until the doors open so soundcheck is a regular part of the routine. Here though, there were already hundreds and thousands of people in position waiting for the show. So Paul and the guys managed to get into a local hotel room for a low-key stripped back soundcheck to warm up. At the time, Paul likened the experience to early Beatles days. I wonder if the other guests in the hotel who had booked rooms there to get a view of the square where Paul was performing had any idea that he was actually in the hotel itself giving a really intimate performance to various touring personnel!
After the impromptu low-key soundcheck, I grabbed some time with Paul to chat about the last month and his experiences on the South American leg of ‘On The Run’. It struck me just how calm Paul was. He was literally hours away from a colossal performance. Adrenaline was at fever pitch for all of us. We were all buzzing. Paul’s calmness actually helped us to calm down too… after all, there was still work to be done. […]
Just hours later, he was finally on stage in front of over quarter of a million people doing what he does best. There was laughter, tears, joy, memories and the air was full of peace and love. The show had moments of raucous rock n’ roll, stripped back emotional acoustic performances, sing-a-long anthems, lighters in the air and even a Mariachi band. After the final encore, Paul and the guys left the stage and ran to the tour bus. The touring crew assembled by the bus to cheer and congratulate the boss as football chants filled the air of ‘Oh-lay, oh-lay oh-lay oh-lay, Sir Paul Sir Paul!’
Last updated on April 8, 2021
This was the 1st and only concert played at The Zocalo.
Setlist for the concert