Music Review: Sir Paul McCartney at BBC Maida Vale Studios


Macca makes a triumphant return to the West London venue where The Beatles performed half a century ago

On June 17 1963, The Beatles were put through their paces at the BBC's Maida Vale studios, knocking out 18 songs inside a brisk seven hour radio session under the watchful eye of white-coated technicians.

Fifty years on Sir Paul McCartney carries the weight of popular music history, but little else had changed when the star made a nostalgic return to the West London BBC studios' subterranean maze.

After granting Chris Evans a Radio 2 Breakfast show interview, "Macca" performed an 11am set for 200 6 Music competition winners.

Permitted a brief break in the BBC canteen, the 71-year-old was back on stage at 1pm to perform another hour-long show for Radio 2's In Concert series, in front of a fresh audience, broadcast on Wednesday night and available on the digital red button.

The BBC received 66,000 ticket applications for the shows and an air of expectation, mixed with awe, fell across Studio 3 as the chosen few realised they were about to experience an intimate audience with pop's most consummate craftsman.

Beatlemania might have bitten the dust but Sir Paul was greeted with the once familiar sight of a fainting fan during his 6 Music performance – although on this occasion the heat rather than hysteria was the cause.

Still a spritely stage performer, who enjoys the bass-wielding, heads-down driving rock interludes with his unfussy four-piece band, McCartney dusted off Beatles classics from "We Can Work It Out" to "Back In The U.S.S.R." and "Eight Days A Week".

The vocal upper range may be thinner and the dad dancing incorrigible but come on – it's Macca, busting out some of the greatest songs of all time, in front of your very eyes.

McCartney is blitzing the BBC to support his first album of new material in seven years, called New. Early indications suggest the album, which released to a positive critical reception, will reach this week's top five.

Recorded with contemporary producers including Mark Ronson and Paul Epworth, the new songs slipped seamlessly alongside their venerated predecessors, largely because the title track, which closely recalls "Got To Get You Into My Life" and the Wings-indebted "Save Us", consciously echo Sir Paul's golden years.

Recalling the Beatles' prolific BBC sessions, during which they recorded 275 tracks over three years, Sir Paul said the musicians were told "be there, do that and we did. It was really exciting for us young boys going to the hallowed Beeb".

Instead of the clock-watching engineers of yore, Giles Martin, son of famed Beatles' producer Sir George, mixed the live sound on the other side of the glass studio booth.

Even a showman as experienced as Paul admitted he was intimidated by the presence of comic Rob Brydon, standing two metres in front of him in the centre of the front row. "Just relax and do what you know," Brydon told the Beatle.

Concluding with a rousing, sing-along "Hey Jude", bouncing up and down from his psychedelic rainbow-coloured piano, Sir Paul might have thought his BBC obligations for the day were over.

But then Jo Whiley jumped on stage to administer an instant post-gig interview, posing the same questions he had answered on 6 Music hours earlier. A somewhat weary Sir Paul dutifully complied.

Paul McCartney's Radio 2 In Concert - 8pm on Wednesday 16 October, then for 7 days via the BBC Radio 2 website with video highlights on the BBC Red Button

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power