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"It was hot, sweaty, loud and crowded - it was great!"
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Tuesday, 14 December, 1999, 23:43 GMT
Return of Beatlemania

Sir Pauol McCartney Return of the Mac: Sir Paul goes back to his roots

Beatlemania came full circle as Sir Paul McCartney took to the stage in a return to his roots at the tiny Cavern Club in Liverpool.

"Welcome to the Cavern - it's been a long time coming, it's great to be back," Sir Paul told the 300-strong crowd crammed into a replica of the club where the Beatles founded their musical legacy nearly 40 years ago.

Sir Paul McCartney Much of the material was new
In an emotional throwback to those formative years, the music legend performed one of the Beatles' songs first aired the early 1960s - I Saw Her Standing There.

But he had promised a return to his rock and roll roots and much of the material - including the opening song Honey Hush - was from his back-to-basics rock album, Run Devil Run.

Shaking his head and swaying to the music as he played his familiar left-handed bass guitar, he seemed in his element.

Sir Paul's set list
Honey Hush
Blue Jean Pop
Brown-eyed Handsome Man
What Is It
Lonesome Town
Twenty Flight Rock
No Other Baby
Try Not To Cry
Shake A Hand
All Shook Up
Among the audience was Sir Paul's fashion designer daughter Stella.

His 13-song performance lasted a little over 40 minutes and included a rendition of the Ricky Nelson song Lonesome Town, of which both he and his late wife Linda were huge fans.

"This is dedicated to loved ones past, present and future," he said as he introduced it.

He also included the classic Twenty Flight Rock, a favourite of Sir Paul and John Lennon when they met in 1958.

Stella McCartney was in the crowd
Other songs were the classic All Shook Up and his new track Try Not to Cry.

Not everything went smoothly however. The beginning of Fabulous, the fourth song, had a false start.

"Hang on, we're a decent band, if we don't get it right we just start again," Sir Paul said.

After performing one bonus song, Party, he swept offstage teasing the crowd: "Well, see you next time."

I can imagine this is what it was like in the old days, quite claustrophobic but a really good atmosphere
Fan Hiliary Medcalf
He clearly enjoyed the experience. "I'm elated. I can't think of a better place to be," Sir Paul said after the show.

"I always knew it would be a special night but this is better than I could have hoped.

"We wanted to rock out the century - we did it, we rocked Liverpool and the world bopped too."

Echoes of the old days

For the fans - whether they were there in the 1960s or not - the concert was a sign that Sir Paul had not lost touch with his origins, despite his heady status as one of British music's 20th Century icons.

Hilary Medcalf, 38, from Speke, Liverpool, said: "Paul was looking good and I thought he sounded great.

"I can imagine this is what it was like in the old days, quite claustrophobic but a really good atmosphere."

Sir Paul McCartney speaking from the Cavern Club "What better way to rock out the century?"
An estimated three million people across the globe watched the music legend's performance through a live webcast.

A further 15,000 fans gathered in wintry conditions in Liverpool's Chavasse Park, where a huge video screen showed the concert live.

Pat Oakes, who worked at the Cavern Club in its heyday, said: "It's great to see him back here.

"It's just a shame they all split up and it would be lovely to see the remaining Beatles back together. It would have been really nice tonight."

One of the most devoted fans attending the gig was 18-year-old John Lennon - formerly Ben Lomas - who changed his name by deed poll to that of the late Beatle.

The Beatles last played in the original Cavern Club in 1963 - it has since been pulled down and turned into a car park.

The small audience inside the replica venue was a contrast with Sir Paul's more recent concerts.

He set a world record in 1990 for the biggest stadium show in history - 184,000 at Rio de Janeiro's Marcana Stadium.

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See also:
12 Dec 99 |  UK
Beatles to mark Dome debut
07 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
McCartney denies love affair
09 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Beatles crowned the greatest

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