For Whom The Bell Tells...Issue 5
Did I mention the Golden Globe too?
There's a lot going on. What an incredible time Team McCartney
has been having over the last few weeks. It feels like we are packing
a years worth of work into a month! First there was the launch of the
tour, then Paul's trip to the European Parliament. Next up was giving
a show-stopping performance on The X Factor last weekend, the likes of
which had never seen before (more on this later). Monday of this week
saw the UK release of 'Good Evening New York City', which has been
gathering rave reviews and did I mention the Golden Globe nomination too?!!
This week sees us in Cologne for two shows at the Lanxess
Arena as the 'Good Evening Europe Tour' continues to rock through
Europe. We are now exactly half way through. Last week saw Paul and
the band perform two storming sell-outs in Arnhem, Holland and in
Paris, France. In Holland, the journalist from leading Dutch music
website Muziek reported, 'Coming straight to the point: this concert
gets to the top of my list of most memorable concerts ever. And that
has nothing to do with purely nostalgic grounds. Paul McCartney and
his band play a very convincing set that switched between songs of The
Beatles, Wings, Fireman and his solo work.
On Thursday night in France, the elite of the whos who of
Paris were all in attendance. The countrys First Lady, Carla Bruni
Sarkozy was on her feet all night, singing and dancing along to every
song. Formidable! she told us as she made a low-key exit at the end of
the show. Her minders whisked her away in a Renault Clio - how
brilliantly French! After the show we returned to the hotel for an
after-show celebratory drink with Paul and the band. This is a touring
ritual, which allows everyone to wind down after a long day. As ever,
outside the hotel expectant fans and media are waiting for Paul's arrival.
On Friday, along with Paul, we took the Eurostar home.
Although the team was tired after two massive shows, spirits were
extremely high. Paul hopped off the train in Kent as the rest of the
team continued to London. Given the fact hes on tour hed be forgiven
for enjoying a relaxing weekend at home‚ but no, that wasnt to be.
Over the last few weeks the press office has been fielding
calls and emails on an almost hourly basis on the subject of The X
Factor and the question of whether Paul would be performing at the
final. Speculation had been mounting, but Sunday saw the moment of
truth. Hours before the show was to go live, Paul arrived at the shows
studio to the almost tangible excitement of the judges, contestants,
record label bosses and other performers. Within minutes of his
arrival there was a massive queue forming outside the dressing room,
as everyone was hoping to get a minute with musics most revered idol,
including musics Mr Nasty himself. It was to be a night to remember.
Paul had a quick sound check with the band - it was a new
experience for The X Factor crew to work with a completely live band
so this was going to be quite some challenge. The crew would have the
length of one advert break to get all the bands equipment on stage and
make sure it was all working. As X Factor stagehands nervously fretted
about the job, Paul was his usual cool self, almost oblivious to the
fact that he would be going live in front of 20 million people very shortly!
As the show got under way at 7:30pm, fellow performers George
Michael, JLS and Leona Lewis stopped by the dressing room to say hi to
Paul. Leona congratulated Paul on his recent trip to the European
Parliament and declared her dedication to Meat Free Monday and how she
is encouraging the scheme wherever she goes.
At 9pm Paul was given his call to the stage. From the wings we
watched George Michaels performance. Paul and the band had their
ritual pre-performance huddle. It then went to the ad break and the
crew leapt in to action with literally minutes to set the stage. When
the show came out of the ad break everything was in place. The shows
presenter Dermot introduced Paul McCartney by saying, Its
pinch-yourself-time; our next guest practically invented pop music, he
has had an unbelievable career that began with the biggest band of all
time. The studio was then plunged into darkness as an intro film was
shown. In block capitals on huge screens over the video it read, HIS
SONGS CHANGED THE FACE OF MUSIC FOREVER OVER 100 MILLION SOLO SINGLES
SALES 700 MILLION ALBUM SALES OVER 1 BILLION WORLDWIDE RECORD SALES
THE MOST SUCCESFUL MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER IN POP MUSIC HISTORY THE
LEGENDARY PAUL McCARTNEY. Talk about spine-tingling stuff. Over the
years Ive seen Paul pick up some incredible awards and accolades but
this display was amazing and really brought home the sheer level of
his success and unparalleled career. All the team turned to each other
with immense pride of being part of such fantastic history.
Now it was show time. What did Paul do next? He did what he
always does best. He rocked. He gave them a performance like they have
never had and (I know I am biased) they will never have again. It was
(in a Simon Cowell voice) simply incredible. Paul and the band
performed Drive My Car and Live And Let Die. The X Factor asked Paul
to perform two songs back to back, which is an exception to their
usual setup. The only negative thing I can say about it all is that
two songs simply werent enough! The Live And Let Die performance
featured pyro that, if they werent already up and dancing, would have
had the audience jumping off their seats.
After his performance Paul went to watch the remainder of the
show from the side of the studio. Within minutes I was being bombarded
with texts by some of my journalist friends (who will remain nameless)
who were normally very cynical about The X Factor, saying how Paul had
stolen the show and made it cool.
After the show Pauls dressing room continued to have a
magnetic effect on every individual in the building. A jubilant Simon
Cowell told us afterwards, in an unusual fit of positivity, Out of all
the people I have ever met over the years, Paul is the nicest. He
could not have been more friendly or charming. To have Paul McCartney
on our stage, life doesnt get any better than that.
After hanging out for a short while after the show it was time
for Paul to head home. X Factor contestants and staff were beaming
from ear to ear whilst clutching their signed Paul McCartney albums.
This was a night that none of them will ever forget!
After the excitement of Sunday night, Monday was a bit of
comedown for me as I headed back to the office to get into the touring
publicity plans and paperwork for this week. Pauls O2 show next week
is proving to be the most blagged and sought after show I think I have
ever worked on. The afternoon saw some good news as word reached us
that Pauls song (I Want To) Come Home, from the Everybodys Fine movie
has been nominated for a Critics Choice Award in the Best Song category.
As if that wasnt enough, yesterday as I was preparing to board
a plane for Cologne a call came in from Miramax in the US with some
amazing news. (I Want To) Come Home has been shortlisted for a Golden
Globe award! Brilliant. Paul told us, Im honoured and delighted to be
nominated for a Golden Globe. Its not the kind of thing that happens everyday.
From all of Team McCartney, congratulations Paul!
So there you go - another extraordinary week. Check in next
week for the latest news and behind-the-scenes insights.
Oh, and if you are struggling to find a great Christmas gift
for that special someone this year, Id like to recommend Good Evening
New York City, theyll love you for it. The Evening Standard made it
their Album of the Week this week, declaring, McCartney exudes class.
The News Of The World reported, Never mind a knighthood, we should be
erecting a statue for the way Sir Paul continues to dazzle crowds.