Tonight I’ll be doing my first show on InDemand radio.
What a day. What a gig.
Seriously, I can’t sum up today’s experience but in a short I’ll share as much as I can remember from a whirlwind day.
Yesterday (Wednesday), Paul had been at LIPA speaking with Jarvis Cocker (of Pulp) & his parting gift to the lecture was the announcement he was doing a secret gig in Liverpool on Thursday.
So, there was a Paul McCartney gig happening somewhere in Liverpool & I wasn’t going to miss out this time (1999 Cavern & 2003 Docks).
The alarm clock was set for 6am. I’ve never been woken by an alarm so happy, but today the first thing I did was smile. Quick shower & headed into town in search of the exclusive “secret gig” tickets!
There’s only a few places in Liverpool that can issue such tickets, so an educated guess lead us to The Echo Arena “box office” at 6.45am were we found barriers & security guards… surely a good sign something was happening! After a while, it became pretty obvious that we weren’t the only ones with this idea – as others started to arrive we decided to jump in line & take our chances.
My phone battery dropped from 80% to 20% in the space of an hour as I frantically tried refreshing my feed on Paul McCartneys Twitter & Facebook. It was worth it, eventually the news broke around the world at 9am that Paul McCartney was doing a gig at the Cavern Club at 2pm & that limited tickets would be released at the Echo Arena at 10am. Needless to say, by 9.15am we weren’t alone at The Echo Arena & people had flocked in their hundreds to the docks as they heard the news!
Within half an hour we were ushered in with a “raffle” ticket which we were told we could exchange for a gig ticket. At a time of uncertainty, this was like saying you “might” have won the lottery!
We won the lottery.
By 10.30am we were out the Echo Arena, with ticket in hand & purple wristband – proudly cutting off the blood circulation to our hands. There was no way anyone was taking this off our wrist.
Near midday & it was time to queue for entry at the Cavern Club. Now I’m no stranger to the Cavern Club – in fact I’ve actually played there as many times as The Beatles did – but this was completely different. It was reminiscent of “Beatlemania” that you seen on old films & fans came in their droves as news spread of their gig. The worlds press began to smother Mathew Street. I’ve never seen anything like it. The whole street was buzzing!
Cavern Club. Several flights of stairs & you’re down. There is a lift, but if you are able to take the stairs to the Cavern then you walk. It’s part of the experience! We immediately found ourselves in another queue on reaching the lower level but this time much shorter, within minutes we were in The Cavern “Live Lounge” to be greeted by at least 10 cameras & 50 production staff. This was no ordinary gig!
Tensions raised, with every flicker of the lights the lucky ticket holders believed this was the moment “Macca” would take to the hallowed stage. We weren’t kept waiting too long.
Paul stepped out on to the stage, casually dressed wearing a blue grandad collar shirt (made famous by The Beatles) smiling & clearly relaxed. The first song was a blues jam – presumably while they tested their levels.
First song of the gig was “20 Flight Rock” which Paul proudly announced “this was the song that got me in to The Beatles”. He would follow this with the first of 12 Beatles songs he would perform. Magical Mystery Tour. It was clearly a sign of things to come. For the next 2 hours we were literally taken on a magical tour from the Beatles early days, through Wings & Paul’s solo career right up to his new album. The new album does not disappoint. The latest single “Come One To Me” was one of the best received of the whole gig, as were “Who Cares” & “Fuh You”. Each introduced with a story of how he wrote them – as a songwriter this was massively inspiring.
In all he performed for over 2 hours, his vocal was on form – as was his humour. The gig was full of Paul engaging with the crowd, including a moment of him telling people to put away their phones/cameras as it was putting him off (& you don’t wanna put him off). This was right in the middle of “20 Flight Rock” & at the start of the gig – it set the clear tone that you were here to remember the gig from experience & not by what you capture on your smartphone. Note, I didn’t take the photo above 😂
A personal highlight of the gig was McCartneys inclusion of “In Spite Of All The Danger” which I re-recorded & released earlier this month to coincide with the 60th Anniversary of the original recording session. Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would be watching ‘Macca’ perform that very song in The Cavern Club just 2 weeks later. Paul introduced the song explaining how the recording session came about & by paying tribute to his now departed friends George Harrison & John Lennon who were also in their first band – The Quarrymen. Here’s my version if you would like to have a listen http://smarturl.it/MarcKenny-ISOATD
I’m not going to review the entire gig, it was over 2 hours long & I’m still numb trying to piece together the fact I’ve just seen Paul McCartney live in The Cavern Club. Growing up, it’s a story that’s all too familiar with our parents, aunties, uncles & grandparents etc saying they have a story about The Beatles.
Now I can join the club & say “I’ve seen McCartney at the Cavern” & what a story to tell!
Available now on all major platforms http://smarturl.it/MarcKenny-ISOATD
Imagine, it’s 12th July, five lads from Liverpool have saved up money to make a record. They want to record a Buddy Holly song; “That’ll be the day.” They also want to record a B-side to the record, a song that would go down in history. At the time they were blissfully unaware of what was to come in the following ten years; the world hadn’t seen anything like it yet. The lads were about to record what would later be called “the most expensive record in existence” a song called, “In Spite of all the Danger.”
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Colin Hanton and John “Duff” Lowe walked into Percy Phillips studio at number 38 Kensington and paid 17 shillings and 6 pence for a 78RPM shellac disc featuring sound of the band who would later become The Beatles, at this point, the sound that will live on forever had never been recorded before.
“It says on the label that it was me and George but I think it was actually written by me, and George played the guitar solo! We were mates and nobody was into copyrights and publishing, nobody understood – we actually used to think when we came down to London that songs belonged to everyone. I’ve said this a few times but it’s true, we really thought they just were in the air, and that you couldn’t actually own one. So you can imagine the publishers saw us coming! ‘Welcome boys, sit down. That’s what you think, is it?’ So that’s what we used to do in those days – and because George did the solo we figured that he ‘wrote’ the solo.”
Paul McCartney – The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn
This record was unique, the only ever McCartney-Harrison composition ever recorded. The sound quality these days is considered poor, but the melody is still intact and you can hear the quality of their young voices. You can hear the fantastic guitar solo of George Harrison, the stomp on the pedal from Colin, the harmonies of McCartney and the strong vocals of a seventeen year old John Lennon.
John Lennon was imitating his idol, Elvis Presley, he was completely unaware that he would be grieving the death of his mother three days after this recording was made. The song Is a close imitation of Elvis’ classic ‘trying to get to you.’
“It was my song. It’s very similar to an Elvis song. It’s me doing an Elvis, but I’m a bit loathe to say which! I know which one! It was one that I’d heard at scout camp when I was younger and I’d loved it. And when I came to write the first couple of songs at the age of about 14 that was one of them.”
Paul McCartney – The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn
Here we are 60 years later, still talking about what these lads did all these years ago. Years later after John “Duff” Lowe would keep hold of this record for twenty three years, it would eventually be bought by Paul McCartney and he would now own it as a prize possession.
For myself, I would become aware that as a city, Liverpool wasn’t doing anything of particular significance to mark the 60th anniversary of the first recording our greatest sons made. In March (2018) I would contact the fantastic Marc Kenny, who has recently reached number one with releases in Egypt and Bulgaria. I told Marc the idea, to replicate the release, but modern and crisp and with us as local lads doing the vocals. We fell in love with the idea and decided we would do it. We discussed how it would sound, how we would release it. We eventually started discussing who else could help us.
A year ago I watched the Quarrymen perform at the 60th Anniversary of the Woolton Village Fete where John and Paul first met. I remembered watching the men on stage, still passionate and enthusiastic about performing, all with smiles on their faces, reminiscent of the past. I told Marc about how I had met Colin through a mutual friend and I could contact him and ask him to be involved. This led us to a place I never thought I would end up – In a legal debate with Sir Paul McCartney, Colin Hanton and John Lowe.
John “Duff” Lowe would sell the prestigious record and would sign documents which forbidden the reproduction of it, understandably. For Duff to be involved with it was out of the question, Colin was still keen and called me up courteously to explain the situation and the lengthy chats he had with Duff about it. Colin enthusiastic and kindly dedicated time and effort into trying to help us, but without Sir Paul McCartney’s permission, Colin couldn’t be on the record either.
It left myself, Marc, Dan and Barney recording this classic, but with the well wishes of the lovely gentlemen that went before us. We sincerely hope that we have done this record justice, it is a beautiful song, that deserves to be reproduced, sang along to and performed. We hope this anniversary serves to remind us of how much of a true classic it is.
“When we got the record, the agreement was that we would have it for a week each. John had it a week and passed it on to me. I had it for a week and passed it on to George, who had it for a week. Then Colin had it for a week and passed it to Duff Lowe – who kept it for 23 years.” – Paul McCartney, Anthology
Article Credit: Dale Roberts
Available to download/stream now! Click the link above.
Delighted to announce “We’ve Got Salah” is released on all formats Friday 16th February for The Spider-Ede Appeal http://www.spider-ede.org.uk for a little girl Edie May who desperately needs life saving treatment in Mexico.
The track features Richy Sheehy & Marc Kenny – available to pre order/pre-save now via Slide Away Records http://www.slideawayrecords.com
That escalated quickly haha.
This week I was joined at Anfield on the main stage by internet sensation Richy Sheehy aka Kevin Murphy ‘Corks biggest Liverpool fan’ to perform the “We’ve Got Salah…” song.
I uploaded the video of the performance to my Facebook page & the internet exploded with 2.5M views in 2 days 🤷♂️ & the song is now being sung all over the world!
I’m delighted to announce Richy & I will be recreating the performance at a special event I am holding to raise funds for Spider-Ede – we are helping raise £300,000 to give a little girl Edie May life saving treatment in Mexico.
The night is being held at Anfield on 13th April, full details here