On The Run is back up and running
“McCartney played a joyous set of hits spanning his more than 50-year career and turned the arena into a stadium-sized karaoke club.”
The National (Daily Abu Dhabi Newspaper)
… and we’re off. The new leg of the On The Run tour got off to an explosive start with his first ever show in U.A.E at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Paul’s show was the closing event of Yasalam 2011, a citywide entertainment program that brought a mix of sports, films, music and community events to the residents and visitors in Abu Dhabi around the Grand Prix. Paul’s hugely anticipated show was the perfect end to the celebrations, and was the hottest ticket with the Formula 1 drivers and celebrities in Abu Dhabi for the big race.
Paul and his band played hits spanning his entire career as the audience lapped it all up. There was laughter, tears, dancing, screaming and shouting from the joyful crowds as Paul played the world’s most loved songs for almost three hours. Fireworks lit up the sky during ‘Live and Let Die’ and Paul had the entire audience singing along throughout the show, which included iconic anthems such as ‘All My Loving’, ‘Let It Be’, ‘Hey Jude’ and the rock classics ‘Jet’, ‘Band on the Run’ and ‘Helter Skelter’. Paul finished the set with the closing part of the Abbey Road medley ‘Golden Slumbers’, ‘Carry That Weight’ and ‘The End’. The ‘On the Run’ tour is the first time Paul has closed the show like this since the Paul McCartney World Tour in 1990.
Formula 1 World Champion and total Macca nut Sebastian Vettel watched the entire show with his family from the side of the stage, singing along with every word. After the show he told us what an incredible night it had been for him before finally meeting his idol. German TV channel RTL had bought Sebastian a replica Hofner bass, which Paul was only too happy to sign. Paul chatted with Sebastian about racing and music. Paul also took time to introduce Sebastian to certain members of the Macca crew who are F1 mad, totally making their day in the process. Legendary producer Quincy Jones was also at the show and joined in the post concert celebrations. Paul couldn’t stick around too long as he had a flight to LA to catch as he is in the studio putting the finishing touches to his standards album, set for release early next year. Talking of which… after the show we were very lucky to get an exclusive playback of some of the material. We don’t want to give anything away but it’s very special indeed and very different (in a good way!) to what people might be expecting. But enough of that for now…
Back at the F1 circuit, before there was any music Paul dropped in on Saturday’s F1 qualifying session, causing quite a stir and creating headlines all over the world! He cheered on the British drivers from the McLaren garage before the great and the good of motor racing descended on him, hoping to get a picture with rock’s most revered idol. Ron Dennis, Niki Lauda, Jackie Stewart, Eddie Jordan and the big man himself, Bernie Ecclestone, all made a beeline to get five minutes with Paul. An F1 publicist told me that they’d never seen a reaction quite like this. When all the media should have been covering the qualifying session they had relocated themselves to outside the McLaren garage to capture anything with Paul they could. The day was a totally amazing once in a lifetime experience.
Back home the UK’s largest daily paper The Sun reported on the visit with the headline, ‘In Paul Position’. Like what you did there, boys! There had been puns aplenty in the build up to the show. When giving an interview to Time Out in Abu Dhabi Paul chuckled when in response to a question about what keeps him going, he replied, “The main thing is the feedback from the audience. That’s number one and is just so inspiring. It really drives you forward- which is appropriate for a Formula One show!”
On the day of the show itself, local Abu Dhabi daily paper Khaleej City Times pronounced, ‘Welcome, good Sir! The most legendary act in music will be performing on Yas Island tonight to round off a memorable Formula 1 weekend’, so to say Abu Dhabi was excited was an understatement. TV news constantly repeated the footage of Paul from qualifying. Paul was on the cover of the two main entertainment listings magazines - Time Out and What’s On (which would normally be reserved for the F1 drivers) - and in the news room the phones didn’t stop ringing with global enquiries about Paul’s visit and VIPs from the Formula 1 world trying to blag passes.
Lewis Hamilton set the agenda for the evening as he won the Grand Prix. This was to be a day of conquering Brits and excellent performances. Paul finished the job off when he took to the stage shortly after 9pm and did what he does best, absolutely rocked!
‘A perfect end to a successful Grand Prix weekend… a Formula 1 race and a Paul McCartney concert, in beautiful weather. It just doesn’t get much better.’
The National (Daily Abu Dhabi Newspaper)
Caption: Paul with Sebastian Vettel and Hanna Prater
© 2011 MPL Communications Ltd.
Photographer: MJ Kim