Paul McCartney begins the Australian leg of his One on One tour by sitting down with fans for a Q&A in Perth. Picture: The AustralianSource:News Corp Australia
Paul McCartney wows fans with intimate Q&A in Perth ahead of first Australian show
By David Weber
Nov 30 2017
At the age of 75 and in the midst of the longest, most successful career in music history, Sir Paul McCartney still thinks he is a lucky man.
He did not even think he'd still be in demand in the 1970s, let alone when he was in his seventies.
"It's something that's a surprise really because we didn't realize it was going to last this long. I mean Sgt Peppers is 50 years old this year.
"We had no idea it was going to last more than 10 years."
Sir Paul was speaking in Perth, the location for the start of his first Australian tour in decades.
The Regal Theatre was the venue for a rare question and answer session for a small group of fans.
Sir Paul was asked by Meg from the Perth suburb of Waroona what kept his energy and passion alive.
He started with a joke, before explaining that his real addictions were songwriting and performing.
"Sex and drugs! No, you know what? It's just coz I love it, I've always loved it since I was about 14 when I wrote my first song, and it's a kind of magical thing because when you write a song you've got nothing and you suddenly produce like a rabbit from a hat and it feels really good," he said.
"And you get a bit addicted to that feeling. And then you perform it with an audience and you get addicted to that too."
Adelaide in '64 and how can we change the world?
PHOTO: Paul McCartney fans Matt and his son Harrison Haines in full Sgt. Peppers gear at the Perth Q&A. (ABC News: David Weber)
Sir Paul was asked by Izzy from Greenwood what it was like to arrive in Adelaide in 1964, when The Beatles were met by what some claim was the biggest crowd in the world.
"It was amazing for us, you know, 'coz the welcome was phenomenal. I mean we'd had welcomes in Europe, and all over the place. But this was like mega, you know, it was like we were royalty arriving.
"We'd seen the streets filled like when we went to Liverpool, that was pretty full. But this was like, the fullest."
Harrison Haines, aged nine, was named after The Beatles' guitarist and was dressed in full Sgt Peppers' uniform — like his father Matt.
He wanted Sir Paul to give him nothing less than advice on how to change the world.
"I don't know what those will be in your case but you seem like the kind of boy who's going to do it. Just learn what's good in the world and go in search of it."
Other questions had Sir Paul reminiscing about the wide range of people he finds in his audiences.
"I've seen some lovely things at shows, remember one in Brazil, a dad, a tall guy with a beard and he's got this beautiful young girl with him and she's looking up at him and I'm doing 'Let It Be' and he's looking down and it was a real sort of beautiful family moment.
"And it was a choker because I've got to sing this thing and not cry!"
Changes in touring: less screaming girls
How had touring changed then, since those frantic, frenetic days of the 1960s, when Beatlemania was at its peak?
"When we were touring The Beatles, it was all new. No-one had seen these kinds of crazy scenes with rock'n'roll, really. There'd been a few but our thing was like, really crazy.
"It got a bit much because in the end we couldn't hear what we were doing. And that's one of the big differences now. We can go louder than the audience now so that gives us a bit of an edge.
"I'm older, the audience is older —you've got dads and sons, dads and daughters, you got all people of different ages in the family and that's very different. It really was pretty much just screaming girls, only in France when we went there, it was screaming boys.
"And we were freaked out — what?? And someone said the girls won't come, the mother won't let them come with us without a chaperone so it was all the boys and they were going crazy and the gendarmes didn't know what to make of it so they were beating them up."
One hopeful fan asked the former Beatle and Wings man to go and have a vegan meal with her ("My wife would kill me"), another inquired about his dog Martha ("she was really lovely").
Working with Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Kanye West
As a solo artist, Paul McCartney has collaborated with a range of performers over the years, including Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Elvis Costello, and more recently, Foo Fighters, Rihanna and Kanye West.
"What happens is, people get in touch with me. I don't actually go after them, you know, oh actually, I did with Stevie because I had the song 'Ebony And Ivory' and I thought he's got to be the person we do it with," he said.
"It's very fresh and it's kind of exciting because it's something I haven't done before, particularly working with Kayne.
"Michael was lovely, he just rang me up and he just said, 'Do you want to make some hits?' Said, 'Yeah'. And he was great to work with, massive talent.
"And Stevie, he's a monster, a musical monster and he never stops."
Audience-pleasing set list
Regarding set lists, Sir Paul suggested he would be playing what he would want to hear if he saw himself live.
"It's basically to please the audience — and I'm not ashamed to say that because they pay good money to come to the show."
The event closed with muscular renditions of 'Drive My Car', 'Junior's Farm' and 'I've Got A Feeling' before the media were asked to leave and the rocker was left alone with his adoring fans.