Paul McCartney’s Glastonbury Show Called ‘Phenomenal’

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Paul McCartney’s historic Glastonbury set was hailed as one of the greatest performances of this generation, with a crowd of over 100,000 gathered on the festival’s famous Pyramid stage to see him perform.

He was joined on stage by Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters — and even sang a duet with his old bandmate John Lennon, using special effects pioneered by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson.

Eyebrows were raised when it was announced that McCartney, who turned 80 last week, would be the longest-serving leader in Glastonbury’s 52-year history.

Paul McCartney is Saturday night’s headline at Glastonbury 2022. Photography: Jon Rowley/EPA

But all doubts were dispelled when McCartney ended a nearly three-hour set with a dramatic display of pyrotechnics and a mass singing of Let It Be, Hey Jude and Live and Let Die.

“It exceeded all expectations,” said Richard Martin, 75, part of the biggest crowd the Pyramid stage has ever seen.

He said: “Although I’m almost his age, I’ve never seen the Beatles – my wife has, she was one of those screaming teenagers – but he nailed it.

“He was brilliant. Of course he’s a pro – he’s been at it for half a century. The people behind us were in their 20s and knew the songs backwards – this is a fantastic testament to the durability of the songs.”

Paul McCartney was joined by Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen.

Paul McCartney was joined by Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen. Photography: Harry Durrant/Getty Images

Nearly 4 million people tuned in to watch from home and received rave reviews. Alexis Petridis of The Guardian said McCartney’s biggest hits were “as moving as pop music”, while the Independent described him as “by far the best this writer has seen on the Pyramid stage in 30 years of Glastonburys”.

The Sunday Telegraph hailed it as “one of the most thrilling, uplifting, bang-packed and star-studded sets this 50-plus-year-old festival has ever seen”.

Some festival-goers camped out all day to get close to the Pyramid stage and it turned out to be a sensible decision. The crowd easily reached 100,000 people, ranking alongside one of the biggest Pyramid stage presences alongside the Rolling Stones in 2013.

By 9pm, half an hour before McCartney took the stage, it was impossible to get anywhere near the front as large masses of people swarmed from every corner of the 900-acre site.

“It was amazing. Musically, I was up there with one of the most seminal moments of my life,” said James Jack, 35, after screaming along to the Bond hit Live and Let Die – a moment he said was a dream come true. childhood: movies with your dad when you’re about six. That was a boyish moment for me, it really made me go. It’s the kind of thing you tell your grandkids.”

Grohl, who had to pull out of a show in 2015 after breaking his leg, became Macca’s surprise sidekick to I Saw Her Standing There, immediately followed by Band on the Run. Even before Bruce “the Boss” Springsteen arrived, the crowd was levitating with joy.

Grohl and Springsteen, rock icons who had flown in from the States especially for the set, looked extremely happy to be joining McCartney on stage.

'A proper legend': Paul McCartney.

‘A proper legend’: Paul McCartney. Photography: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

“It was phenomenal,” said Sorcha Ingram, 25. “I’ve had the time of my life. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I was obsessed with the Beatles when I was younger, that’s where my taste in music comes from. This was the first time I’ve seen it, and my first time at Glastonbury. It’s a historic moment, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“He’s a true legend,” said Keith Burnet, 59. “He really put on a really good show that covered his entire career at his own time and pace.”

But he faced some criticism for showing a “very reckless” clip of Johnny Depp during his Glastonbury headline.

A clip of Depp appeared on a big screen during My Valentine, a love song written for McCartney’s wife, Nancy Shevell.

One Twitter user wrote: “I am so sad that a man like Paul McCartney chose to give Johnny Depp a platform. Once again, domestic abuse survivors are completely ridiculed.”

McCartney and Depp are reportedly close friends, and the American actor appeared in video footage during the 80-year-old singer’s recent Get Back tour of the US.

However, there was no getting away from the fact that most in attendance wouldn’t get the chance to see McCartney perform again – and that made the night all the more special.

NME said he played “absolutely everything he’s got — which is saying something for a true Beatle — at Glastonbury 2022, sounding like a man who, frankly, knows he might not do it again.”

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