At 80, Sir Paul McCartney set the stage on fire with his headline performance on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, where he was later joined by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Bruce ‘The Boss’ Springsteen. It was Grohl’s first public performance since the death of Foo Fighters’ drummer Taylor Hawkins, reports BBC News.
He did a duet with McCartney on what BBC described as “a gritty garage rock version” of ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, the 1963 number co-written by John Lennon and McCartney for The Beatles debut album, ‘Please Please Me’.
McCartney said: “This guy flew in specially to do this. We love you.” Grohl replied: “I swear, I would never miss being right here with you, right now.”
McCartney then brought out Springsteen to play ‘Glory Days’ (from his anthemic album ‘Born in the USA’) and ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, another song penned by Lennon and McCartney, also in 1963, but first sung by The Rolling Stones and later recorded by The Beatles.
Springsteen also acknowledged McCartney’s 80th birthday, which took place last week, wishing him “another glorious 80 years”.
Earlier, according to BBC News, fans had broken into a spontaneous rendition of Happy Birthday for the former Beatle, after he paused to say hello at the start of his set: “For me?” he asked, temporarily stopped in his tracks.
Saturday’s headline performance was one of the most-anticipated Glastonbury sets in years, with diehard fans staking out front-row places more than 12 hours before the star was due to play.
By the time he took to the stage, the crowd stretched as far as the eye could see, according to BBC News, creating what could be the festival’s biggest audience since Dolly Parton in 2014.
They were rewarded with a marathon two-hour-50-minute set that spanned his six-decade career. He opened with The Beatles’ classic ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ and continued with the Paul McCartney and the Wings hit, ‘Junior’s Farm’ — a cheeky nod, according to BBC News, to the Eavis family, who host Glastonbury on their Somerset farm each year.
“Oh, man. it’s so good to be here. We were supposed to be doing this three years ago,” said McCartney, referring to his Covid-cancelled performance in 2020. “But here we are. We’ve got some old songs for you, we’ve got some new songs and we’ve got some in-betweeners … and I got a feeling we’re going to have a great time.”
McCartney dedicated the Sinatra-style ballad ‘My Valentine’ to his wife Nancy Shevell, and played a ukulele given to him by its songwriter, George Harrison.
The other high point of the event was when he duetted virtually with the late John Lennon, whose vocals for ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ had been isolated from The Beatles’ ground-breaking concert from their Apple Corps recording studio on Savile Row in London in 1969.
“That is so special for me,” said McCartney. “I know it’s virtual, but there I am singing with John again. We’re back together.”
In total, he played 36 songs, their deep-grained familiarity resulting in some awe-inspiring moments of audience participation.