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From Stuart Bell, Paul’s publicist, paulmccartney.com, August 4th, 2016:
Düsseldorf – 27th May 2016
“Do I have a special connection with Germany? Yes,” Paul declares as he speaks to German reporters as we arrive for the first European date on the ‘One On One’ tour.
“I learned German when I was in school,” he continues, “and we came here with The Beatles when we were young kids and it was pretty good fun.”
As any fan will know, it was here the group honed their craft playing hour after hour during residencies in the clubs of Hamburg in the early days, developing an instinctive feel for each other’s playing and laying the groundwork for a lifetime of music. Well over half a century after those formative shows, Paul is still clearly having fun in a country which holds an important place in his heart. Judging by the scenes outside the Breidenbacher Hof Hotel on this sunny afternoon he continues to be held in high esteem by Germany. Yet even with all his regular visits over the years, this marks Paul’s first show in Düsseldorf since his time with Wings in the early 70s and the city is clearly excited.
Rewinding to a little earlier in the day, the media team and I had jumped into a van to head to the Esprit Arena ahead of Paul’s landing on German soil. There I meet with ZDF’s arts correspondent Claudio Armbruster, who is here to chat to Paul at rehearsals for a slot on the evening news. A call home to a German friend in London and I learn Claudio is a pretty big deal in the arts in Germany. He does look particularly familiar to me and yet I can’t quite put my finger on it.
Before we know it, time has marched on and it is 6.20pm. Paul is now with us for rehearsals and I hang out with Claudio to watch. He’s clearly enjoying himslef and not for the first time, I am reflecting on how lucky I am to have a job where I have the privilege of witnessing such awesome sights (I should point out it can be hard work sometimes too). Claudio feels exactly the same!
With rehearsals at an end, I take our guest on to the stage to meet Paul. “He looks like Steve Ithell,” Paul says to me. Steve is Paul’s digital manager at his London office and he does look remarkably like Claudio. So at least that explains my feeling of recognition! Anyway, to business… Claudio interviews Paul for ten minutes on the stage where tomorrow he will be playing to 27,000 people, discussing his return to Germany and the release of Pure McCartney. Chat complete, Paul dashes off to his hotel to get some rest ahead of the big day.
Düsseldorf – May 28
There’s a huge level of excitement on the streets of Düsseldorf for show day. There are trucks driving around town towing ‘One On One’ posters and the crowds outside the hotel have grown huge overnight. As I walk through the lobby I see our security team checking out all aspects of the scene and assessing the situation ahead of Paul’s departure to the arena. The huge mob which has assembled in the sunshine is not unlike Paul’s regular audience, a broad range of ages who are wearing an assortment of Beatles, Wings and solo Paul t-shirts, perhaps giving an indication of the parts of his career which appeal most to them. We discover there are fans who have travelled from as far as Japan and Australia to be here too.
I zoom over to the venue ahead of Paul’s actual departure so I miss the mania as he leaves the hotel, but when the boss arrives for soundcheck, the security guys inform me it was a particularly wild one and Charlie, the tour videographer, got some great footage…
The concert itself is, as ever, brilliant with Germany’s largest daily paper Die Welt calling the show “epic” in a report headlined: “Paul McCartney rocks Düsseldorf.” Much is also made in the press about Paul’s linguistic abilities. One article is titled, “Why does he speak German so well?”, and there are front page stories about the new wave of Macca-mania which has broken out in Düsseldorf.
Paul is off to a tremendous start in Europe, with one show down, ten more (including a charity engagement) to go.
The riff from “Slidin’“, a track from the 2020 “McCartney III” album, came from the soundcheck of this concert. Strangely, the reports from soundcheckers didn’t make mention of any jam played during soundcheck. We guess the jam might have happened during a private soundcheck. This jam was issued as a bonus track on some editions of “McCartney III”.
Last updated on December 19, 2020
This was the 1st and only concert played at Esprit Arena.
Setlist for the soundcheck
Setlist for the concert