Beginning around this time frame Paul really turned his attention to performing. He has always loved playing for adoring crowds, and I’m sure even at this time he still wishes it was still he, John, George and Ringo belting out all of the hits on stage. This is what he wanted in 1969 and has been a major part of his post Beatles career.
He really began to enjoy and savor this pleasure of performance. As more friends and performers from his past passed away, he understood the magic of living in the moment. He now would always stop at one point in each show, stand center stage, close his eyes and take in the crazed applause and atmosphere of the minute. In effect he was telling us to do the same.
I realize that financially, music had now become a touring and merchandising business, with less new product coming off the shelves of these “classic rockers” and recording just a way of releasing creative juices, rather than finding a way to the top of the charts.
The industry, and time had changed all of that.
Paul, again, saw this, and this was the first year in which older releases were repackaged for new consumption. This time, instead of a CD of newer technology remastering, things were packaged in multiple ways at different price levels. They were called “the archive editions.”
They went as simple as multi disc releases, with remastered original and bonus tracks, to deluxe editions, in special packaging which included, demos, alternate tracks, live and soundtracks, booklets, DVD’s and related trinkets.
Since 2010 was the year of his first “archive” release, this was just the start.
Today, we see his re-releases can now cost hundreds of dollars, and even the last George Harrison re-issue of his 1970 ALL THINGS MUST PASS included a beyond deluxe package and a $1000 price tag.
Touring, and the merchandising table now was how artists made a living. The tours of Paul over the next decade would each easily gross in the 200-400 million dollar range. Ticket prices to see Paul up close went from the $30 I spent in 1976 to see him in row 10 to over $700 to see him somewhere up close in 2018……
His recordings became further apart, and his long hidden projects became more important and took years to fruition. As I write this, he still has an animated movie to come out from a single he wrote in the early 2000’s, with a newly written soundtrack. He writes books for children, books on his songs and analysis of his lyrics He even a broadway musical based on the classic film, “It’s A Wonderful Life” in the works, again with all new music written.
He has embraced his Beatles legacy even more, doing multiple TV specials and even overseeing the progress of the upcoming Peter Jackson remake of “Let it Be” this fall.
Even the horrifying effects of the worldwide pandemic, covid-19 didn’t slow him down, as he stayed at home and made an album, much like his first solo album, in his living room, playing all the instruments and producing every sound himself. It and the remix album, which came out this year, became his first #1 albums in decades.
Vinyl is also back in a whole different way, with reissues and the new releases offered in choices of colors, themes and looks, each with a price tag that would buy us 10-30 albums back in the day.
Paul has continued to check off all of the projects that he had on his to-do list. The most ambitious and hard working musician of the rock era, even dusted off an idea that he and John Lennon had kidded about in the mid-1960’s, an album of standards that they heard as they grew up.
As 2010 arrived it also was a continuation of all of the years of his creativity and output being acknowledged and honored by industries, publications, politicians and organizations.
His personal life was now happy, and non-toxic, involved again with a woman who only had a positive effect on him and his family. His children have all turned out happy and healthy, with each having carved out their own careers to various degrees of success. But no horror stories at all from the offspring of the most famous living musician on the planet.
So 2010 arrived and Paul went back to work…..
On January 10th the entire 12 song L.A. Amoeba show was released FREE to subscribers of The Mail On Sunday and the Irish Sunday Mail newspapers in the U.K and Ireland. Premium website members were able to download the concert, which didn’t see an official remixed release until 2019.
He got together with Steve Martin , and his band, The Steep Canyon Rangers, and contributed lead vocals on the track “Best Love” for their album, RARE BIRD ALERT.
In March he began preparing session work on his next project, to be called KISSES ON THE BOTTOM. “I met with Tommy (LiPuma), and we just hung out, talking about the old singsongs, and we found we had a lot in common. But we tried to work out a slightly different approach and used a selection of songs that wouldn’t be the obvious ones, like The Way You Look Tonight, songs that everyone tends to cover.
We looked for songs that were a little more unusual. It’s a good idea to go slightly off-piste. Even to the extent where I didn’t know some of them.”
After those few days spent together, Tommy LiPuma was tasked to recruit musicians for the project – he decided to approach Diana Krall and her band.
“When I told Diana about the project with Paul, she said, ‘Look, if you need me for anything, I’d love to be involved’. I said, ‘Yeah, that makes sense. Let us just get to the point where we start assembling the material.’ She knows this music so well — nobody knows the period better than she does — and she also plays absolutely fantastic stride piano. So, having her play a key role was a natural choice and, fortunately for everyone, Paul agreed. He knew of her and, I think, he’d heard some of her records and recognized that she’s very talented.”
Behind the scenes work began on the future archive sets of 1973’s BAND ON THE RUN and 1970’s McCARTNEY. These would be the first to be released. BAND ON THE RUN was released on November 2nd, 2010.
In mid March he assembled his touring band and began rehearsals for the planned massive summer tour. The tour would be called the “Up And Coming Tour.” It began on March 28th in Arizona and ended on June 10th 2011, with 40 shows in 9 countries. He played in Miami on April 3rd, but I didn’t go as it was the day before Easter, and I didn’t want to go alone.
In between the spaced out show days he came to the Library of Congress on June 1 to thank the Librarian of Congress for naming him the recipient of the third Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
A star-studded audience packed the Coolidge Auditorium that evening to enjoy an all-too-brief, yet very intimate, performance of Macca’s music.
Joining the Librarian of Congress, Library staff, members of Congress and other invited guests included previous Gershwin Prize winners Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder; and also singer/songwriter Elvis Costello, jazz great and Library Living Legend Herbie Hancock, Foo Fighter Dave Grohl (also of Nirvana fame), Jack White of the rock group the White Stripes, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, singer Emmylou Harris, comedian Jerry Seinfeld and singer Faith Hill.
All were in town to toast the former Beatle, and several were set to perform in a concert at the White House the next night, where the President and First Lady would officially bestow the Gershwin Medal on McCartney.
On June 2nd The Gershwin Award Concert took place. The prize commemorates George and Ira Gershwin, the legendary American songwriting team whose extensive manuscript collections reside in the Library of Congress.
The prize is awarded to musicians whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwins.
As the evening wound down, McCartney paid sly tribute to the first lady with an accordion-backed “Michelle” and ended the concert with three of his most enduring songs: “Eleanor Rigby,” “Let It Be,” and “Hey Jude.” For “Jude,” he invited his fellow performers and the first family onstage to help lead the room along in its famous na-na-na coda. “I don’t think there could be anything more special than playing here,” McCartney said. “We’re thinking of making it a regular thing.“
On July 1st he performed at The Old Vic 192 Summer Party. Hosted by Kevin Spacey, Artistic Director and Sally Greene, Chief Executive at The Old Vic, the birthday celebration feature entertainment by Paul McCartney and live art auction hosted by Oliver Barker, Senior Director at Sotheby’s.
Kevin Spacey commented: ‘We are thrilled Paul McCartney will lend his extraordinary talents on the evening alongside brilliant artists who’ve generously donated their artworks for auction. It’s set to be quite a night!
In aid of The Old Vic Theatre Trust, all monies raised will go to safeguard the 192 year old iconic building, to make great theatre available to all and to mentor the next generation of creative talent.’
As a surprise to celebrate Ringo’s 70th birthday, Paul joined Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band onstage July 7th at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Paul performed The Beatles classic ‘Birthday’.
The last time Paul and Ringo performed together was on the same stage last year for the David Lynch Foundation benefit show.
“I’ve never actually seen his All-Starr show. I was enjoying the show along with the audience, but when it got to ‘A Little Help from My Friends’, the people in the row in front of me were looking at me like ‘What’s happened? Shouldn’t you be up there as one of his friends?’ I’m going ‘Shh!’ Ringo did not know. I swear he was just so gobsmacked.” – Paul
Ringo said ‘I’m going to the dressing room.’ Barbara [his wife] said ‘Hang on just a minute.’ And then we started up ‘Birthday’ with Joe Walsh and the band, and then he finally realized what was going on. He came leaping back on stage and said ‘l wasn’t going to sit that one out.’ Happy 70th, Ringo.
(When Paul surprised Ringo (on his 70th birthday!) by coming onstage after the July 7th, 2010 performance of his all-starr band, he led the band into a performance of his “Birthday,” a song he wrote and was recorded on 1968’s The Beatles (The White Album). On hand to document this magical moment was Ringo’s photographer, Rob Shanahan.
I showed quite a few of the photos he and others took on this post, but he also took the following photo, which he reproduced in very small numbers. He autographed and dated each. My amazing sister, Susan Badke, in the best gift I have ever gotten, had it framed and sent to me…. I only can imagine the happiness and inner hysteria this happy moment of love shared by these two legends felt on the other side of the lens and by all who attended. Thank you Sue, Rob and Paul and Ringo.)
On October 18th The Beatles two 1973 greatest hits packages were remastered and released on the same day. Called the Red and Blue albums on release, but technically called 1962-55 and 1967-70.
October 26th saw Paul on Later…with Jools Holland. He played three tracks from ‘Band on the Run’ (in promotion for the soon to be released Archive Edition) watched by the likes of the Black Keys, Neil Diamond, Elvis Costello and Alice Cooper. Surely one of the most stellar Jools Holland line ups yet!
On December 4th, Paul was awarded a Kennedy Center honor.
Paul McCartney was finally awarded with a Kennedy Center Honor in Washington. He had been selected as an honoree in 2002 but had been unable to attend because of an “inescapable personal obligation”, his cousin’s previously planned wedding.
After initially saying that McCartney’s award would be postponed until the following year, the Kennedy Center announced in August 2003 that “Paul McCartney will not be receiving a Kennedy Center Honor.” He, therefore, had to wait seven more years before being awarded.
December 9th saw Paul appear Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Paul paid tribute to his former bandmate John by performing ‘Here Today’. He also showed some typical Paul humor by duetting with the show’s host on a hilarious version of ‘Scrambled Eggs’. You may know the tune better these days as ‘Yesterday’ – the most covered song of all time – but when Paul was writing the legendary track, he used the words ‘scrambled eggs’ as lyrics while he worked on it.
Spending the week in New York City he appeared as musical guest on the December 11th SNL, hosted by Paul Rudd. Paul helped to make the episode the highest rating of the season. With 7.6 million viewers overall, the NBC show outscored every Saturday non-sports primetime show on every major English language network since March 2008.
Paul impersonated Camilla Parker Bowles, played a tiny harmonica and, performed five songs including Wings ‘Jet’ and ‘Band On The Run’, Beatles classics ‘A Day In The Life’ and ‘Get Back’ and John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace A Chance’ to mark the 30th anniversary of Lennon’s death.
Paul and his band stayed in New York and for my birthday (he was making a habit of this, right?) on December 13th he played at the famed Apollo theater in Harlem.
The 1400-strong audience included celebrities such as Jerry Seinfeld, Alec Baldwin, Martha Stewart, Tony Bennett, Ben Stiller, Kevin Bacon, David Byrne, John McEnroe, Steven Van Zandt, Jann Wenner, Lorne Michaels, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood all of whom were joined by millions of radio listeners as the set was broadcast live for Sirius XM Radio subscribers.
Without the lights and video screens of a stadium show, the focus was all on the music and Paul played an unforgettable show that wowed the lucky critics in attendance. Associated Press noted that in a trim black suit with white shirt and hair still black and in a modified mop top, McCartney looked almost unnervingly like he did decades ago, especially when he held his Hofner bass‚ while Entertainment Weekly declared that with a full set plus two encores, there were too many stand outs to list.
On December 17th he was back in London at the intimate 100 Club.
Paul and his band played a lunchtime show at the historic venue, in what was his smallest show since his headline-grabbing gig at the Cavern Club in Liverpool back in 1999. The show, which was a prelude for two UK shows on the 18th and 20th of December, was a once in a lifetime opportunity for fans to watch music‚ most loved icon up close and extremely personal. Those lucky enough to have gotten tickets witnessed a rare and special moment as the most successful songwriter in the history of popular music performed a 27 song set to one of the smallest audiences he ever performed to.
“I’ve played all sorts of different venues over the years and this kind of show presents a different kind of challenge to performing in a stadium. I love performing and I love connecting with audiences, be it in a stadium or arena or in a club. I’m looking forward to being able to interact with fans on a face to face basis, not to mention the smell of sweat and beer! It felt fantastic you, know because going back to the roots, reminded me of the cavern and beyond, and it was really nice. It‚ a great little venue and you know so we were happy to be part of the campaign to save it as a venue cos it’s too good to lose, it’s a great little central London venue.
We had a great time. It’s great playing those little clubs and the audience is so up close I mean forget it, it’s like you’re having dinner with them. But it was great it was really cool and we enjoyed it we felt we played good, and we felt the audience responded well, and it was great we had fun.”
Paul and his band finished the year on December 18th with a 32 song set at the HMV Apollo, in Hammersmith, London.
(Despite more heavy snow in the capital, Paul’s fans were out in force the following night too as Macca took to the stage at London’s Hammersmith Apollo for the first time since Wings played there 35 years ago.
In what turned out to be the venue’s fastest ever selling show, it was a real treat to see Paul playing such an intimate gig when we’re all so used to seeing him sell out stadiums and wow enormous festivals. It was obviously a special moment for Paul himself too, as he looked round on stage and told the audience There are so many memories here. I’m just going to take a moment to take it all in. After another truly amazing show, one reviewer for The Express summed it all up better than I can, saying after over 50 years in the music business, he has an instinctive rapport, making us laugh, dance and even cry in equal measure.)- Show review
The second concert will see Paul return to his roots as he travels home to Liverpool to play the 02 Academy Liverpool for the first time on December 20th.
Paul’s last appearance in Liverpool was in June 2008 at Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium as part of the cities celebration for their year as European Capital of Culture.
“I always love playing to a home audience and for me it’s the perfect way to end the year. We’ve had great fun with the stadium shows this year and looking forward to the more intimate vibe of these ones. Christmas is the perfect excuse for everyone to let their hair down and rock out. We are looking forward to celebrating with the good people of London and Liverpool.” The 36 song set ended another amazing year.
Next….. 2011. Something old, and something new….