14 December 2010

Macca At The Mecca

Fifty-three years after his boyhood idol Buddy Holly played the Apollo Theater in Harlem, Paul McCartney finally took the stage last night at one of the most famous music venues in the world.
In its review of the show, The New York Times reported that Macca told the audience, "It's the holy grail. I dreamed of playing here many a year."

McCartney follows in the footsteps of a pantheon of stars who have graced the venerable space that first came to prominence in the Harlem Renaissance of the pre-World War Two years: Ella Fitzgerald. Sarah Vaughan. Billie Holliday. Chuck Berry. Sam Cooke. James Brown. The Supremes. Marvin Gaye. Stevie Wonder. Aretha Franklin.

The concert on Monday night was heavy on the hits - both The Beatles and Wings - as expected. But The Cute One bowed in reverence to the occasion by pulling out Marvin Gaye's "Hitch Hike," a Motown tune that The Fabs took a swing at in their "back to basics" Let It Be sessions. With six women behind him on a platform dancing go-go style, "it was going pretty well . . . then the house speakers turned off, only the stage monitors were audible, and a screech of feedback made Mr. McCartney recoil."

Perhaps recognizing the ghosts of the Apollo's luminous past at work, the band leader rebooted and ordered his mates to take it from the top. After all, McCartney has been playing American rhythm and blues since he was 15, when he first appeared on stage singing Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally." Even at the ripe age of 68, another take was natural for the eternal Beatle boy from Liverpool who still loves the beat.

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