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From The Australian, November 30, 2017:
The most popular songwriter alive gave a private performance for 20 fans in Perth today, revealed Stevie Wonder once kept him waiting for eight hours because he was immersed in music and politely declined one woman’s enthusiastic requests that he go out for a meal with her.
“I’ve got things to do, my wife would kill me,” said former Beatle Paul McCartney.
McCartney, 75, is in month 19 of his One on One world tour. Australia is the 14th country for this tour; he will perform with his band in Perth on Saturday before shows in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Aukland.
Though he has been touring since April last year, McCartney was breezy and genial with his guests at the historic Regal Theatre in the inner-western Perth suburb of Subiaco this afternoon. He walked down off the stage to shake all their hands with greetings of “Hiya!” then ventured further back to shake the hands of nine slightly surprised reporters.
Ten fans had been selected for the special event from videos they posted of themselves asking the music legend a question, and they were allowed to bring one guest each.
Sophie Larter, 20, screamed with delight at her local gym on Tuesday night when she received a mid-workout text message confirming she would get an audience with McCartney. She brought along her father Simon, who said Sophie was so excited when she called him with the good news that he thought she may have hurt herself.
Nine-year-old Harrison Haines and his dad Matt both came dressed as George Harrison. The little boy — whose favourite song is Help “because it’s catchy” asked Sir Paul: “How can I as a nine-year-old change the world and bring as much happiness to people as you have”.
McCartney told Harrison he should go to school and “just be good to people”.
“Learn about the world and where there’s issues that you think need changing, just be very strong … change them,” he said.
“I don’t know what they will be in your case but you seem like the kind of boy whose going to do it.
“Learn what’s good in the world and go in search of it.”
Before he performed Drive My Car and Junior’s Farm for the small gathering, McCartney shared stories about some of the artists he has collaborated with including Stevie Wonder, who once arrived for a 2.30pm lunch appointment at the house McCartney shared with his late wife Linda at 10.30pm. Wonder was late because he had spent the afternoon and much of the evening playing piano.
“Linda’s sort of trying to keep this meal from burning,” McCartney said.
“He’s got no sense of time once he starts playing piano … anyway he was great. It’s exciting working with people like that he’s just such a fantastic musician.”
The last fan question was from schoolteacher and sheep farmer Jacquie Smith from Darkan in the West Australian wheatbelt. She brought her sister Joanne Oosterhoff as her guest because they have been singing Beatles songs together since they were teenagers.
One of their favourites to perform together is If I Fell.
Ms Smith told McCartney her children had asked her not to embarrass herself by getting emotional, and asked him which question he had always wanted to be asked but never had been.
McCartney made Ms Smith laugh when he replied that he had been asked “a lot of stuff” including that exact question.
“So you have totally embarrassed yourself but kids don’t worry she’s great it’s all good,” he said.
From paulmccartney.com, For Whom The Bell Tells, January 19, 2018:
The 80-year-old, 1,055-capacity seated theatre in the Subiaco district of Perth, Western Australia, is a beautifully-preserved art deco building looking almost unchanged since the days it hosted performances by the likes of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. These days it is a hub for entertainment shows featuring touring musicals, visiting comedians and burlesque shows but it is being used for something entirely different this week. It has become the rehearsal base for Paul ahead of his first Australia tour in almost 25 years.
Life goes on around the theatre in this pretty leafy suburb area as normal. The streets are made up of cool little bars, coffee shops and boutiques. The sun is shining, on the face of it, it seems to be just another day. Well, it certainly is not …
This day will be rather remarkable. In the months since announcing Paul’s return, the press office has been busy fielding hundreds of requests from the land down under. It has been almost a quarter of a century and more than a dozen albums since Paul last toured here, during his New World dates in 1993. So we thought it might be a cool idea to invite some of the media into Paul’s rehearsals to say hi. When I discussed this with Paul, he was happy to do it, but thought it would be even cooler to include some of the fans who have been waiting patiently outside the rehearsals all this time – including fans that weren’t even alive the last time he came to town. It was, of course, a great idea.
So I set about working on a schedule and plan for the event. Paul is buzzing with further ideas as he adds his input, and is happy to add a question and answer session for fans and media alike. So when the event itself rolls around he invites his guests to stay on for a glimpse into his preparations for the shows by attending the rehearsal itself. The fans are treated to a mega special seven-song extra intimate set (‘Drive My Car’, ‘Junior’s Farm’, ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, ‘Save Us’, ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ and ‘Lady Madonna’). In recent years Paul has played some pretty intimate venues – Pappy & Harriet’s last year, London’s 100 Club seven years ago – but this is to a special audience of just 20. Emotional scenes ensue.
Prior to this the mini-concert, Paul gets down from the stage to personally greet his audience who can scarcely believe what is happening as they get hugs and handshakes before the question session. A treat for all present, including the PM crew who you would imagine may be used to such things but something like this really is a rare occurrence. To my mind, this is the first time Paul has done anything on this scale since he played at the Olympia Theatre in Paris around the release of Memory Almost Full a decade ago – and that was a press-only event, so for fans this is a first.
Then it is back to work for Paul and the band. He thanks his guests for coming and tells them he’s looking forward to seeing them at the show properly in a few days. People spill out excitedly to be met by TV cameras to talk about their unique experience – in between calling loved ones to share the moment!
Back inside the theatre, Paul and the guys take 20 for a little lunch break. Paul snacks on a bagel and cup of tea, sharing tips to beat jet lag with those of us who have just arrived (he has been here for a few days already to prepare) before the conversation turns to the difficulties of parking in major cities these days! Paul recounts a story of having his car towed away in London for parking in the wrong place. He had to head down to the car compound to collect the vehicle – it must have been some surprise for the staff on duty that day.
As I return to the hotel, I channel hop on the TV to see if the day’s events have made the evening news. I’m pleased to see they have – and in a big way. Hello Australia, Paul has arrived!
Last updated on March 15, 2019