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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 June, 2004, 23:00 GMT 00:00 UK
Sir Paul hits 3,000 in Russia
Sir Paul McCartney in St Petersburg
It was Sir Paul's first appearance in the city
Sir Paul McCartney has played his 3,000th concert before 60,000 fans in the Russian city of St Petersburg.

The two-and-a-half hour open air show was late starting, due to strict security arrangements.

It was Sir Paul's first concert in the Russian city and the 3,000th time he has played since joining The Quarrymen at the age of 15.

"I was amazed when people told me I'll do my 3,000th gig on this tour," he said earlier this week.

Sir Paul is thought to have played with The Beatles 2,523 times. He is also reported to have played 140 concerts with his band Wings and 285 as a solo artist.

The singer celebrated his 62nd birthday on Friday, and President Vladimir Putin telephoned him to offer congratulations.

The concert, in a city centre square near the Winter Palace, was a sell-out, with tickets changing hands for up to $500.

There were 2,500 policemen on duty, with fans going through three security checks before being allowed to enter the square.

The crowd sang along with most of the songs, the Beatles hit Back in the USSR proving particularly popular.

Sir Paul addressed the audience in English and Russian and was wildly applauded when he returned for an encore carrying the Russian flag.

Moscow date

Despite passing some people's retirement age, Sir Paul shows no sign of slowing down after passing the 3,000 barrier.

Security checks at McCartney concert in St Petersburg
The audience had to go through three security checks
"That's an awful lot of late nights - I guess I must just like the live life," he joked. "But, as I've said before, it's what I do".

Sir Paul is thought to have set a record for the biggest audience at a single concert, with 184,000 people at his stadium date in Rio de Janeiro in 1990.

Sir Paul played in Russia for the first time last year, playing in Moscow's Red Square.

Next weekend he will play the Glastonbury festival for the first time.

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