Children In Need Rehearsals
What an exciting few days we are having in the press office this week. Wednesday morning (11th November) starts with a flurry of excitement and activity. The phones are ringing off the hook and the blackberry is self-combusting. What's happened? Well... a British tabloid has speculated that Paul is going to be joined onstage at the BBCs Children In Need Rocks the Royal Albert Hall concert (which takes place tonight) by one of Britains current favourite bands, Take That. Is it going to happen? It's the big question on all the media's lips. And the truth? Well, you've come to the right place. We are the most up to speed official news service for any Macca related stories. We have the best-placed insiders and sources (ourselves!) We are there as it happens. If it's not up here then it's not happening. So to answer the question...
2:45pm on a rainy Wednesday afternoon and I'm standing outside the historic Maida Vale Studios in London. The streets are lined with charming (not!) paparazzi photographers. 'What's going on here?', I ask one of the less aggressive looking members of the crowded pack. 'Apparently McCartney's on his way, so keep the doorway clear mate', I'm told. Bless him, I think to myself. Paul is on his way but he won't be going through this particular door, partly because its completely blocked by this swarming mob, but I'm not going to tell him that.
Meanwhile, in the building downstairs in Studio 3 (these days reserved for BBC Radio sessions) one of Britain's biggest pop bands is rehearsing in secret. They are awaiting the arrival of someone special. The band is Take That and the event is a special concert to benefit BBC's Children In Need. Gary Barlow, of Take That, has pulled together a mega line up of superstars to help the charity. The line-up includes Lily Allen, Dame Shirley Bassey, Leona Lewis, Cheryl Cole and Muse. Top of his wish list to bring the show to a close was Paul, and Paul was happy to oblige when asked.
Just before 3pm a mass of flash bulbs are firing off on the street outside the studio, almost enough light to light up an entire city. Paul has arrived. He enters the studio, saying hi to everyone and stopping to chat with his band and crew. "I'm just off to find Gary", he tells us and disappears from the room. Moments later Paul is back (with four famous faces in excited procession) and makes his way to the piano. He and his band jam enthusiastically for a couple of minutes to check their levels. The Take That boys, along with their crew, watch the band warm up whilst cheering and singing along. After warming up at the piano Paul leaps up from his stool and places the iconic Hofner bass around his neck and launches into a rocking rendition of 'Back In The USSR', at which point Studio 3 comes to life. By the end of the song, everybody within earshot is on their feet clapping and as Paul goes to put his bass down they start yelling for more. More is what they want and more is what they get. Gary Barlow and Mark Owen are jumping up and down as the intro to 'Get Back' strikes up. When the song ends and the cheering has died down the Take That boys approach Paul. Now to rehearse the finale...
Paul heads back to the piano and Take That assume their places, two members on both his left and right side. The studio falls silent. It must be mentioned at this point that there is also a full orchestra in the room, ready for usage. This is the moment that all the media would give copious amounts of money to be present at!
The anticipation in the room is almost unbearable as the studio anxiously waits to hear, for the first time, what the guys will perform together. The silence in the studio is eventually broken by Paul's clear voice singing the magical words and melody, 'Hey Jude'. Take That look like they can't quite believe this is actually happening and as they start to join in with Paul, everyone in the room realises they are witnessing a mega British super-group in action.
With the lifting power of the full orchestra even more emotion is added to the moment and the smiles on the boys faces say it all. A runner at the studio excitedly exclaims, This is amazing and then asks, Can you imagine what it will be like at the Albert Hall? The entire crew is in agreement; its going to be a very special end to a very special show.
After the rehearsal, Paul sticks around and chats for a while. He happily signs autographs and is clearly having a good laugh with his new backing singers. When the time arrives for Paul to leave, he says his goodbyes and is gone. Take That are left speechless. That was awesome, Gary tells us. The press office is in agreement; the finale will look nothing short of amazing.
Afterwards, as Im walking to the tube, the phones are going crazy again. The press is now telling me (not calling to verify), Paul is performing Hey Jude with Take That. Im not saying anything, as I dont want to ruin the surprise. Besides I want the exclusive for Paul McCartney.com!
So the speculation was right. Paul will be joined onstage by Take That tonight as part of an event that promises to be a truly memorable occasion for a truly great cause. Be sure to check back soon as we will be bringing you all the exciting backstage Paul related news and gossip.
Children In Need Rocks the Royal Albert Hall will be broadcast on BBC 1 on Thursday 19th November.
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