Page last updated at 00:11 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 01:11 UK

McCartney thrills Liverpool crowd

By Ian Youngs
Entertainment reporter, BBC News


Highlights of Sir Paul McCartney's Liverpool Capital of Culture concert

Sir Paul McCartney has celebrated his home city's year as European Capital of Culture and been celebrated himself by 36,000 fans at a concert in Liverpool.

The crowd at Anfield football stadium gave him a hero's welcome as he played almost two hours of highlights from The Beatles, Wings and his solo career.

"Thank you for coming here in the City of Culture, at the centre of the universe," he said to cheers.

The audience was in full voice for classics like Let It Be and Hey Jude.

The stadium sing-a-longs were at their most enthusiastic for Beatles hits such as Drive My Car, Eleanor Rigby and Yesterday.

Sir Paul also covered his Wings days with Live and Let Die and Jet, and his solo career was represented by songs like Flaming Pie and Dance Tonight.

And as Yoko Ono looked on, he also played John Lennon's Give Peace a Chance in front of a CND symbol.

Favourite son

Sir Paul was joined by Foo Fighters star Dave Grohl, who played guitar for the Wings hit Band on the Run plus drums on Back in the USSR and the final song I Saw Her Standing There.

"You've been brilliant tonight," Sir Paul told the crowd. "I knew you would be."

'We're just going to take a moment to take this all in,' he said at one point, clutching his chin in mock serious mode and looking out at the masses
The BBC's Ian Youngs

Sir Paul had earlier described playing to his home crowd as playing to "my mates", and the fans received him as the city's favourite son.

He reminisced about his childhood on several occasions.

"I was born just down the road and I lived not far from here," he told the audience.

At another point, he said: "Every time I come back to Liverpool all the memories come flooding back."

The Beatles legend performed on a stage proclaiming the city as the "world capital of pop".

The elaborate design included the word Liverpool in giant letters dominating the arena, alongside outlines of city landmarks such as the Liver Building.

Sir Paul was introduced by comedian Peter Kay, who described him as "a local lad who's done very well for himself in the music game".

Wayne Rooney and Coleen McLoughlin
Footballer Wayne Rooney and fiancee Coleen McLoughlin were at the concert
The crowd included football figures such as Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, player Jamie Carragher and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney.

The concert-goers who spoke to the BBC were mostly positive about their experience.

Roy Skelhorn, from Liverpool, bought tickets for his wife's 60th birthday.

He said: "It was fantastic. We paid a lot of money. We paid 75 each but the show was brilliant. It was great to see him back and we couldn't fault his show - he's an icon."

Another fan, Joseph Ong, 26, from Liverpool, said it had been a "big event" for his home city.

Praising the ex-Beatle, Mr Ong said: "He's probably the biggest superstar in the world. As someone who was born here, you can't help but appreciate him."

Meanwhile, Irene Mackay, 49, from Cumbria, enjoyed the gig but was frustrated about the time it took to enter the stadium after queuing with her husband, Rob, for an hour.

She said the lengthy queuing process was "embarrassing for Liverpool", but added: "Once you're in the ground it was brilliant."

Sir Paul McCartney on the creativity of his hometown

The Liverpool Sound concert came exactly five years after the Beatles legend's last home city show.

And it was exactly a month after Sir Paul's classical work Ecce Cor Meum was performed at Liverpool Cathedral as part of the culture celebrations.

The gig raised money for the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (Lipa), which Sir Paul set up in his old school, and the Nordoff-Robbins music charity.

Local favourites The Zutons opened the concert, followed by the Kaiser Chiefs.

Wet weather threatened to dampen the atmosphere, but the rain stopped before the show.

It was the last concert to be held at Anfield before Liverpool move to a new stadium.

In January, Ringo Starr kicked off the Capital of Culture celebrations at the opening ceremony on St George's Plateau and Echo Arena Liverpool.

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