Page last updated at 09:11 GMT, Sunday, 15 June 2008 10:11 UK

McCartney rocks Ukrainian capital

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Paul McCartney performs well-known songs for the crowd

Sir Paul McCartney has performed in front of tens of thousands of people in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

The former Beatle braved thunder, lightning and torrential rain to perform his first concert in the former Soviet republic.

Sir Paul sang a range of Beatles classics and solo material during his two-and-a-half hour set.

He told the crowd in the city's main square: "It's great to be here. Thank you for coming out in the rain."

The free Independence Concert, organised by Ukrainian billionaire businessman Viktor Pinchuk, was also broadcast live on TV across the country and on giant screens set up in five other cities.

'Amazing'

Sir Paul opened his set with the Beatles hit Drive My Car, followed by a series of Beatles songs, including Hey Jude, Let it Be, Back in the USSR, and Penny Lane.

But the crowd's loudest screams were reserved for an electrifying performance of Bond theme tune Live And Let Die, complete with pyrotechnics and fireworks.

Crowd watch Sir Paul McCartney perform in Kiev
Up to 200,000 people braved the weather to watch Sir Paul

Sir Paul also finished the concert with two encores, ending on Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

"It was fantastic, the reaction was amazing," said Oxana Bulan, a teacher from Kiev.

"It's huge to finally feel a piece of something.

"We have always been somewhere behind the iron fence and we'd like to join the rest of the world now."

Ukraine, which gained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, has played host to a number of well-known performers in recent years.

Last June, Sir Elton John performed to 200,000 people in Independence Square.




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