For Whom The Bell Tells... Issue 15

For Whom The Bell Tells... Issue 15

 


There are no two ways to say it: I love touring. It's one of
the most interesting parts of the job. Sure, the days are long and the
schedule can be gruelling but it’s always a total blast to be on
the road with Paul. Since my last report, I’ve been particularly
fortunate to accompany Paul to South America for a series of concerts
I’ll never forget.



The action kicked off in Peru on 9th May with Paul’s
first ever show in the city, which was greeted with incredible scenes
of Macca mania. Like last year in South America, hundreds of fans once
again set up a makeshift village outside the stadium days before the
show started to ensure they got the best possible position at the
front once the doors opened. Must be a Latin thing! Similar scenes
greeted us when we moved on to Chile two days later for Paul’s
first performance in the country since 1993. Thrilling fans who had
flocked from across Chile for the event, Paul played a rocking set
that lasted nearly three hours and had many in tears –
particularly when the man himself addressed the crowds in their native
Spanish. Fans and media even camped out overnight outside the hotel
afterwards hoping for a glimpse of Paul – with one group of fans
even storming the lobby in the early hours singing Macca’s hits
at the top of their voices! Didn’t get much sleep that night!



Two sell out shows in Rio followed, Paul’s first in the
city in 21 years. To say the city was excited was something of an
understatement! I travelled with Michelle Lawley who looks after
travel, security chief Mark Hamilton, Paul 'Wix' Wickens and the tour
videographer Charlie Lightening and within minutes of leaving the
airport on the way to the hotel, I'd spied at least five huge Macca
billboards! The local PR rep had called me to say fans camped outside
the venue were singing Paul’s songs at full volume and the
version of ‘Let It Be’ I could hear in the background
certainly sounded very impressive!

The show itself was certainly all they hoped for and the coverage
in the days that followed was nothing short of spectacular. Paul was
on the front of all the major newspapers and, thanks to Google
Translator, I discovered the reviews couldn’t have been more
positive either. Mind you, even with my terrible Spanish, I could work
out headlines such as 'Monumental', 'El Grande Del Rock', 'Beatlemania
Remecio Lima', 'Macca El Concierto Mas Esperado Toda Nuestra Historia'
and 'Espectaculos' were only ever going to be good.

There was no time for Paul to rest after the shows though. He
returned to London to prepare for something very dear to his heart,
the exhibition of Linda McCartney’s photographs that was held at
the Phillips de Pury Gallery in early June. The exhibition featured 26
images taken from the newly published Taschen book ‘Linda
McCartney: Life In Photos’. Made in collaboration with Paul and
his children, the book is a moving testament to Linda and her
exquisite photography.

As Stella McCartney explained on the evening “I think the
whole thing has an underlying sadness to us as a family, because you
remember what an amazing woman she was and you really see that through
her eyes and through her work. I personally found it quite fulfilling
and quite humorous. The humour in the book and the way she saw us,
especially in the family life was really refreshing to me.”

Paul added: “We used to say, ‘When are we ever going to
look at these?’ - because you don’t. You take all of these
family snapshots and they remain in your camera, or in your drawer. So
we said that we would choose one day a year and we’ll just get
all of the scrap books out, and we did that a bit. But as Stell said,
this whole process was great for that. We had all the old photos and
finally we got to look at them all.”

Paul and his daughters Stella and Mary visited the exhibition for a
private view with friends and family including Sir Peter Blake, Jo
Whiley, David Gilmour, Chrissie Hynde, David Walliams, Tracey Emin,
Sam Taylor Wood, Aaron Johnson and Jools Holland. Afterwards, the team
and Paul’s friends went for a private dinner at The Wellington
Arch on Hyde Park Corner to reminisce, laugh together and enjoy the
amazing views in a fantastic location. As Paul said to me on the
night, it was certainly “a memory location” as it was such
a unique and unforgettable place to be. A very fitting end to a
special evening…

Of course, Paul was back on a plane returning to the Up and Coming
Tour in the blink of an eye afterwards. This time, he found himself in
Las Vegas, where he attended the 5th anniversary of Cirque du
Soleil’s Love show and played two huge live dates at the famous
MGM Grand to bring his record-breaking Up and Coming Tour to a
spectacular end. Fans couldn’t believe their eyes as they
watched Macca deliver one of his best shows yet watched by none other
than Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, George Harrison’s widow Olivia and
legendary Beatles producer, George Martin. All stood and joined in as
Paul sang ‘Give Peace A Chance’ in a scene that fans
present will definitely never forget. Critics were bowled over too,
with the Las Vegas Review-Journal declaring “Some thing’s
are ageless, and McCartney’s one of them.”

Certainly, there’s no question that Macca has more energy
than the rest of us put together. Within days of finishing the Up and
Coming Tour in Las Vegas, Paul astounded us all by announcing the
first dates on a brand new tour, to be titled ‘On The
Run’. The tour kicks off with two nights at Yankee Stadium in
New York on the 15th and 16th July and we can’t wait to see what
Paul has up his sleeve this time. He’s never failed to surprise
us yet…

Fans had one final treat in June too with the long-awaited release
of ‘McCartney I’ and ‘McCartney II’. Initially
released a decade apart, the albums were Paul’s first two solo
releases after The Beatles without Wings or Linda and were re-mastered
especially for the reissue. “The nice thing about re-mastering,
full stop, is that you can hear more,” Paul says. “It just
makes the quality better – it makes you feel like you’re
there – it sounds how it sounded when I made the record.
It’s a pure, more accurate sound and quality. Whatever the album
has got going for it is exaggerated by being able to hear it better.
So, it’s got a kind of indie thing – what would be called
now, an indie thing – but for me it was just knocking around,
making some sound. Not worrying about how it was going to turn out,
because with the Beatles it was more like, this is the next Beatles
single. With this it was – I wasn’t really doing it with
anything in mind and then other people were saying ‘Oh, so
that’s your new album is it?’ – I was persuaded.”

The releases were marked by Paul appearing on the cover of MOJO
magazine and gaining a mountain of positive reviews, with respected
internet music magazine The Quietus calling the albums “two
outstanding records of his solo career.” We couldn’t agree more!

Finally, we’ve always known Macca has fans in high places
(hello President Obama!) but word reached us this week that another
musical legend has been talking of his admiration for Paul. Following
his festival-conquering set at Glastonbury, none other than the iconic
Paul Simon told one newspaper that he believed Macca was one of the
greatest songwriters of all time. Not bad coming from a man who wrote
‘The Sound of Silence’, ‘Mrs Robinson and
‘Bridge Over Troubled Waters’ to name just a few…

It’s hard to believe that as I write, Paul is busy preparing
for the start of his new tour in just a few weeks. Who knows where it
will take us in the coming months? If the last year has shown me
anything, it’s that I can never second guess what’s around
the corner working for the most popular boss on the planet! I’ll
do my best to keep you posted as soon as it happens though…

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