Sir Paul, where art thou?
BY LAURA ARMSTRONG
JULY 7, 2013
OTTAWA — Fifty-six years to the day after Sir Paul McCartney met his former Beatles bandmate John Lennon in a church hall in a suburb of Liverpool, England, the legendary rocker was in Ottawa preparing to play the nation’s capital for the first time in his career.
A perfectionist by nature, McCartney came to town at least one day before kicking off the North American leg of his Out There! tour to lead a full band rehearsal, the Citizen learned, begging the question: what’s Ottawa like through the eyes of Sir Paul McCartney?
Keeping tabs on the English musician was surprisingly difficult, especially considering he was once partially responsible for a worldwide fan frenzy known as Beatlemania. Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, which have been known to erupt when stars like Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth are caught in town, stayed fairly subdued, with comments centring around McCartney’s upcoming show rather than a minute-by-minute play of his whereabouts. A handful of fans were seen outside the newly-minted Canadian Tire Centre around 10 p.m. Saturday night, peeling out of the parking lot as a trio of black Chevrolet Suburbans left premises, but if a craze ever surrounded McCartney, there was little evidence of it by the time his career brought him to Ottawa.
McCartney’s low-key visit may be thanks to his choice of hotel. One for fresh air, McCartney reportedly will not stay the night in a room without windows that open. Following this criteria immediately eliminates one of Ottawa’s big wigs, The Westin Ottawa, as the Rideau Street location keeps its windows locked for security reasons. The Fairmont Château Laurier was a fresh-air-friendly option, but employees refused any comment.
The McCartney buzz, however, did not seem to be generated downtown but in the west end, at Kanata’s five-star Brookstreet Hotel.
Be that as it may, there was a McCartney-related presence in the hotel. One guest, who did not want to be named, said a Brookstreet staff member told him he was sharing a floor with McCartney’s road crew Friday night. The next morning, the guest saw three large grey tour buses pull out of the parking lot, which he later confirmed through pictures to be the same tour buses parked behind the Canadian Tire Centre Saturday evening.
Catering to celebrity clients would not be new for The Brookstreet Hotel; they hosted Oprah Winfrey when the television mogul was in Ottawa as part of her Lifeclass tour.
Subdued as McCartney’s trip may have been so far, it’s safe to assume that may change come Sunday evening: in what is probably the fastest-selling show in then Scotiabank Place’s history, tickets sold out after only 10 minutes April 27.
McCartney fans, it seems, will be back in full force.
Musician Sir Paul McCartney is 71.
Photograph by: Invision/AP , Jason DeCrow