In 2008, STANDING STONE had three performances, in two countries. ECCE COR MEUM, it had twenty one performances in three countries.
Paul and his band attended and performed a five song set at the Brit Awards 2008, on February 20th. He received the “Outstanding Contributor To Music” award.
On June 1st, at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, Paul headlined The Liverpool Sound. It was a show to celebrate the city’s year as European Capital of Culture. Brilliantly supported by The Kaiser Chiefs and The Zutons, the ex-Beatle – who last played in Liverpool exactly five years ago – gave a magical show with a blockbuster 27 song set of hits from his Fab Four, Wings and solo career that had the sold-out stadium on its feet for a full two hours.
With touching tributes to George Harrison – on ‘Blackbird’ and ‘Something’ – and Linda, mingled with raucous renditions of ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Live and Let Die’ the audience knew they were witnessing McCartney at the very top of his game.
Special guest Dave Grohl – of the Foo Fighters – joined on drums and vocals to take the show into rock ‘n roll overdrive which, after an encore that memorably featured ‘A Day in the Life’ and Lennon’s anthemic ‘Give Peace a Chance’, sadly but spectacularly ended with an amazing firework display.
On June 14th, He performed at Independence Square, Kiev in the Ukraine. Over 350,000 concert goers braved adverse weather conditions as Paul McCartney played the biggest concert in the Ukraine’s history. Throughout the day the heavy rain and thunder put a question mark over weather the show would even be able to take place but as soon as Paul McCartney took to the stage at 9:30pm, greeting the crowd in Ukrainian, the skies cleared.
He kicked off the two and a half hour concert with ‘Drive My Car’ and then performed a show the likes of which Kiev had never seen.
The concert took place in Kiev’s historic Independence Square.
The crowds filled all the roads surrounding the square and the concert was shown all around the city on screens that were specially put up for this event.
The concert was also beamed live to six major cities (Harkiv, Dniepropetrovsk, Sevastopol, Lviv, Donetsk and Odessa) across the Ukraine where over 195,000 people came out to watch the show. The show was also broadcast live on Ukraine TV.
It’s estimated that the total amount of people that watched the Independence Concert in the Ukraine was more than 10 million.
Paul and his band played 33 songs. The audience spanned generations and sang along with every word, the massive crowd made an overwhelming sound when they joined in with Paul on ‘Hey Jude’ and the elaborate stage featured some of the biggest screens ever used for an outdoor show as well as lasers and fireworks.
After the audience had thought the show was over, Paul returned to the stage waving a Ukrainian flag before ending the night with an emotional performance of ‘Yesterday’ and rocked up ‘Sgt. Peppers’.
Throughout the day Paul spent time meeting locals and fans that had waited over 40 years for their hero to come to this part of the world. He was given a special performance by a choir of children that perform Beatles songs and presented with a traditional Ukrainian stringed instrument, the kobza, by the Ukrainian Beatles fanclub.
On June 19th he recorded “I’m In Love Again” for Klaus Voormans A SIDEMAN’S JOURNEY album.
He boarded a plane on July 18th, and headed to New York City, where with the help of local police escort he made it just in time (15 minutes from airport to the show) to Shea Stadium, where he hoped close out the last concert event to be held at the soon to be demolished baseball stadium, Billy Joel’s “Last Play at Shea.”
Just before 11:20pm Paul jumped on stage, surprising not only Billy Joel but also the sold out audience as he launched straight into I Saw Her Standing There. “It’s so cool to be here on the last night”, Paul told the 55,000 strong audience. “I came here a long time ago. We had a blast that night and were having another one tonight.” Paul then closed the night with his seminal anthem Let It Be, with Billy Joel on backing vocals.
On July 20th, the band traveled to Canada, and played a 38 song set at Quebec’s 400th anniversary show at Plains of Abraham.
And finally on September 25th, the band traveled to Ganey Yehoshua Park, Tel Aviv, Israel for the 33 song set at the Friendship First Concert.
Paul McCartney has nearly visited Israel on two previous occasions. The first was with The Beatles at the height of Beatlemania in the mid 60’s, however at the time because Israel was short of foreign currency the promoter was unable to raise sufficient funds.
After applying to a government committee for help the promoters appeal was declined as it was thought The Beatles might corrupt their youth. Some even believed that artistically The Beatles were not of a high enough standard!
The second miss was with Wings in the late 70s, when the shows were cancelled after problems with the venue.
Israels ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, apologized to The Beatles during a trip to Liverpool for the misunderstanding. In a letter he wrote: There is no doubt that it was a great missed opportunity to prevent people like you, who shaped the minds of the generation, to come to Israel and perform.
2008 gave Paul a chance to visit parts of the world he hadn’t had a chance to.
The DVD of ECCE COR NEUM was released on February 18th.
Linda McCartney’s photographs went on display at the James Hyman Gallery from April 24th to July 19th.
Paul received an honorary music degree by Yale University on May 26th.
Another graduation was attended at LIPA on July 25th.
The biggest news of 2008 was on early in the year, on February 18th. The announcement of the divorce from Heather Mills McCartney.
The case was heard in court 34 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
At the start of the proceedings Mills asked for £125 million, but McCartney offered £15.8 million. Before the court case, Mills had employed the accountancy firm Lee and Allen to examine McCartney’s publishing company, business assets, and properties, claiming that she had a tape recording of McCartney admitting his true worth, but the presiding judge, Mr Justice Bennett, based his decision on a forensic valuation of McCartney’s finances completed by accounting firm Ernst & Young.
The hearing took six days, finishing on 18 February 2008, with the judgment being made public on 17 March that year.
Mills was eventually awarded a lump sum of £16.5m, together with assets of £7.8m, which included the properties she owned at the time. The total was £24.3 million plus payments of £35,000 per annum, for a nanny and school costs for their daughter.
In his judgment, Mr Justice Bennett stated: ‘The husband’s evidence was, in my judgment, balanced. He expressed himself moderately though at times with justifiable irritation, if not anger. He was consistent, accurate and honest. But I regret to have to say I cannot say the same about the wife’s evidence. Having watched and listened to her give evidence, having studied the documents, and having given in her favor every allowance for the enormous strain she must have been under (and in conducting her own case) I am driven to the conclusion that much of her evidence, both written and oral, was not just inconsistent and inaccurate but also less than candid. Overall, she was a less than impressive witness.‘
Regarding her career, the judge said: ‘I find that, far from the husband dictating to and restricting the wife’s career and charitable activities, he did the exact opposite. He encouraged it and lent his support, name and reputation to her business and charitable activities. The facts as I find them do not in any way support her claim.‘
In anger at the judgment, Mills poured a jug of water on the head of Fiona Shackleton, McCartney’s solicitor, in the courtroom.
The divorce was granted on 12 May, and the preliminary divorce decree was finalized six weeks later.
In August, the first public photos of Paul and Nancy Shevell appeared. The couple gave their first public show of affection in an impromptu photo call outside Sir Paul’s London home in St John’s Wood.
McCartney, 65, and millionaire New York socialite Miss Shevell, 47, had been seeing each other with increasingly regularity since November 2007, but have always tried to play down their relationship.
On November 24th, the third album release of The Fireman, ELECTRIC ARGUMENTS appeared. Paul wrote all of the songs and played all of the instruments, with production by Youth. A much different affair this time, as the songs now featured vocals. A review of all three releases will follow that of his general releases. Singles were pulled from it and it received very good reviews at the time…