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Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympics Opening Ceremony

Concert • By Paul McCartney

Last updated on February 7, 2021


  • Country: United Kingdom
  • City: London
  • Location: London Stadium


  • Location: London Stadium


Some songs from this concert appear on:

From paulmccartney.com, July 30, 2012:

Over 27 million people tuned in on Friday night to watch the incredible Olympics opening ceremony in the UK alone, with Paul providing a thrilling and fitting finale. The universally acclaimed event pulled in the highest viewing figures in the UK in almost 15 years.

After midnight Paul took to the stage to perform ‘The End’ and a euphoric ‘Hey Jude’ that had all the stadium on their feet and singing along.

Speaking directly after his performance Paul said, “Thanks for the great response guys. Tonight was terrific, great, really cool. There was some talk of maybe being to playback but we decided against it and went live, live, live! It was a trip and very exciting. It was a great opening ceremony”.

The Daily Mail Online reported, ‘What better way to end a great night than a sing-along? The musical climax was provided by Sir Paul, the most successful songwriter in British history, who had the crowd singing and swaying’.

The performance was not without flaws. As Paul McCartney would explain in December 2012:

I f**ked up. I was supposed to wait for a cue. But I forgot. Why? Well, there’s this bloody great bell that we didn’t know about. It was deafening… We prerecorded a playback in case all hell broke loose… We were live, everyone was there, the world was ready and this bloody great bell goes off. And I forgot I’ve gotta wait for it, so I go, ‘Hey Jude’, and someone presses the playback. So there’s me on the backing track, and actual me; two of us singing. The drummer wouldn’t look at me because he was in hysterics and I was thinking, ‘What have I done?’ There was no stopping, it was the Olympics

Paul McCartney, interview with NME, December 2012

All of us wish our UK teams in the Olympics and Paralympics the very best of luck. We hope they enjoy this great competition and create great memories for themselves and us all and at the same time bring home a bagful of lovely medals. All the best.

Paul McCartney – From paulmccartney.com, July 20, 2012

From ShortList, July 22, 2012:

He’s Britain’s greatest musical export, a living legend and, when the Olympics finally arrive, the man who will say, “Hello, World.” In the meantime, ShortList’s Andrew Dickens says, “Hello, Sir Paul”

The subject of this interview needs no introduction, but he’s going to get one anyway. He is Sir Paul McCartney. Knight, Beatle, Wing. The most successful songwriter of all time. A living demigod who’s caused women to faint with his mere presence and rock legends to pick up their first guitar.

He’s conquered America – all the Americas, in fact – and every other continent on the planet. He’s also the man who, when it came to Danny Boyle choosing a fitting finale to the Olympic opening ceremony, was the only conceivable choice. And here he’s sat, still channelling the cheeky Liverpool lad that charmed the world with his friends, still working the most knowing eyebrow-raise in showbusiness, still in possession of that famous mop haircut. But, unbelievably, despite his peerless past 50 years, this concert is a rare career first…

You’re closing the Olympic opening ceremony…

Closing the opening…

Closing the opening – where does that rank among the gigs you have played?

Oh, extremely high. When you do these things, like a command performance or Jubilee or Olympics, it’s a completely different beast. It’s not your crowd and, normally, by the time I do the big crowd numbers, it’s at the end of my set. With something like the Olympics, there’s no warm-up, you just come in cold and you’ve got to get up to speed. It’s like asking an athlete to do his thing without a warm-up: run in, do 100m and you’re off. […]

From For Whom The Bell Tells, August 23, 2012:

[…] The opening ceremony was a triumph in every way.  From start to finish, it was magical and exhilarating and showcased the very best of British with Paul – as much of the press coverage – providing the perfect ending to a perfect night.

Within minutes of Paul coming off stage, our digital stats department was going crazy. Paul added a cool 35,000+ extra Twitter followers (as you do!) and received over 400,000 Facebook likes to the photos Paul tweeted. He was also trending worldwide under four different tags at one point and it became impossible to keep track of the international Google News Alerts as once again, I lost another good Blackberry to the massive incoming volume of news alerts, tweets, Facebook messages and good old fashioned text messages from friends in the media full of praise for what they had seen. The following day, TV viewing figures revealed the highest audience figures in the UK in over 15 years. 27 million plus people tuned in to watch the memorable night, and this doesn’t take into account the audiences gathered in public parks across the country or the amount of people who recorded the ceremony to watch it later.

As the night continued, so did the messages. All over the country, friends and Paul’s fans watching the event in parks, at parties, in bars and pubs and all relayed stories to me of amazing ‘Hey Jude’ sing-a-longs wherever they were.

Mainline stations in London looked like the T-Mobile flash-mob ads as thousands made their way home from the Olympic village. The travellers joined together for ‘Hey Jude’ as they milled about in the concourses wanting to re-live the incredible moment. The editor of the Daily Mirror, Peter Willis, even got in touch to tell us that he thought ‘Hey Jude’ had helped avoid rioting scenes and kept the spirits up as crowds had to endure long waits to get their trains home!

The build up to the big day had been equally as exciting with Paul and the guys visiting the stadium twice for rehearsals. I can only describe the stadium and village as totally mega – it was literally buzzing. From the moment you could see the outline of the Olympic village in the distance, it was like being in a film. Already you could get the sense of just what a massive spectacle it was all going to be. Looking around the venue you could see all kinds of props suspended from the roof. Paul’s stage area was actually situated underneath (here comes the fact of the day) the fourth largest bell in the world, which you will have noticed on TV.

On the day of Paul’s first rehearsal in the sweltering heat, he treated stadium staff to a private gig. Venue workers couldn’t believe it as they formed an impromptu mosh-pit in front of Paul for the stadium’s first ever rock concert. It was quite a sight to behold as line managers and security staff did their best to get workers back to their posts while Paul rocked through classics including ‘1985’, ‘Let Me Roll It’, ‘Drive My Car’ and ‘My Valentine’. Eventually the line managers gave up and joined in too. I was watching while chatting to some producers from the US network NBC. They told me they felt like they could go home happy now after watching this and that they were getting goose bumps just from the jam session. I also spent a lot of time clearing excited unofficial photographers from rehearsals who had somehow managed to get in. I suppose given that there were more than 500 officially accredited photographers for the opening spectacular, the odd few were bound to slip through the net. […]

As the day of the opening ceremony arrived, Paul’s team arrived on site in the afternoon to get themselves ready for their own epic evening ahead of them. Paul’s green room area was situated a good 30 minute walk from the stadium itself so we spent a lot of the day on our feet, getting a lot of exercise moving between meetings within the stadium and back to our green room base. An hour or so before the ceremony officially started and before our main man arrived, a busload of Paul’s friends and family arrived at the green room area, all onsite to show their support for a very special and unique moment in a career that has seen an impossible number of impressive accolades and events. Just moments later, Paul and Nancy arrived.

At 8:45pm, Paul – full of jokes and friendliness – jumped on the bus with everyone to be taken to their seats for the opening ceremony. It felt like a school trip with a mischievous McCartney who was showing no sign of nerves even though he was about to perform to billions around the globe!

When the bus pulled up to the stadium, Paul got off with his friends and joined the masses as they all made their way to their seats. As Paul made his way through the crowds, people were double taking, not quite sure if they believed what they had just seen. ‘I think that was Macca,’ I overheard a young woman say to the man she was with. ‘Don’t be silly,’ came the reply, ‘he’s hardly going to be taking a seat in the stadium, let alone walking through the crowds to get there.’ But she was right, it was Macca. Paul and the guys kept moving just fast enough to avoid any chance of him being totally mobbed but there was still time for a lot of people to be left open-mouthed and very confused.

At 9PM, the ceremony got under way and just after 10PM, Paul and the band left their seats in the stadium to return to the green room to get ready. They had a makeshift rehearsal room set up, similar to the Mexico City Hotel pre-gig jam. Just before midnight, Paul made his way back to the stadium once again but this time as a performer and not a spectator. Paul was in high spirits, posing for some pictures for Twitter and drinking in the incredible atmosphere along with the rest of the crew. Then before we knew it, it was time for Paul to take to his piano stool and start up with ‘The End’ before leading the stadium (and viewers everywhere) in a massive sing-a-long. It was incredible. Being stood by the side of stage, it was incredible hearing all those voices coming from the audience. What a rush!

As soon as Paul had finished, he was whisked away. Security had to get him out of the stadium before the public started leaving. They had a tiny window to do this and if Paul had been delayed in any way, it would have been almost impossible for him to leave. The plan worked and Paul got away from the stadium in time, returning to the green room for some well-deserved aftershow celebrations with his friends and family. The atmosphere in the green room was electric. Everyone was on such a high after such an experience. […]

Paul on stage at the Olympic Opening Ceremony rehearsals, London, 27-Jul-12
Paul on stage at the Olympic Opening Ceremony rehearsals, London, 27-Jul-12
Closing the opening, London, 27-Jul-12
Closing the opening, London, 27-Jul-12
Paul and his band on stage at the Olympics Opening Ceremony rehearsals, London, 24-Jul-12
Paul and his band on stage at the Olympics Opening Ceremony rehearsals, London, 24-Jul-12
From Facebook – Five years ago this week Paul was on stage at the Olympic Opening Ceremony rehearsals, London #ThrowbackThursday #TBT

London Stadium

This was the 3rd concert played at London Stadium.

A total of 3 concerts have been played there • 2012Jul 24thJul 26thJul 27th

Setlist for the soundcheck

The setlist for this soundcheck is incomplete, or we have not be able to confirm in an accurate way that this was the setlist. If you have any clue, pls let us know and leave a comment.

Setlist for the concert

  1. The End

    Written by Lennon - McCartney

    Album Available on Live Archives Vol. 6 (2012)

  2. Hey Jude

    Written by Lennon - McCartney

    Album Available on Live Archives Vol. 6 (2012)

Paul McCartney writing

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