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.