Paul McCartney plays NYC's Apollo Theater for Sirius XM: 'I dreamed of playing here for many a year'

Paul-McCartneyImage Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.comPaul McCartney loves to perform. This was evident in every minute of the concert he played last night at Harlem’s storied Apollo Theater to celebrate Sirius XM satellite radio reaching 20 million subscribers. And while he seems to enjoy performing most anywhere and everywhere lately, he was even happier than usual to be at this particular venue. “It’s the Holy Grail,” he told the crowd, which was made up mostly of lucky Sirius XM subscribers. “I dreamed of playing here for many a year.”

Thus began a two-hour tour of McCartney’s incredible back catalog (Beatles and solo years both included). He was in much stronger voice throughout than he was on Saturday Night Live last weekend, and his backing band was in better form, too. Lighthearted quips abounded in between numbers. “Here’s a newer song,” Macca joked before 1963’s “All My Loving.” After that he played “One After 909,” one of the first songs he and John Lennon ever wrote together. As has become usual for McCartney’s live show, this was a nostalgia trip, and a very fine one.

Highlights from the evening included the passage when McCartney switched from electric bass to acoustic guitar for 1965’s “I’m Looking Through You” and 1964’s “And I Love Her,” two personal favorites of mine. Or maybe the best part was when he paid tribute to the Apollo’s history by covering Marvin Gaye’s “Hitch Hike,” complete with shimmying backup dancers — taking it from the top with even more vim after a burst of unintended feedback mussed up his first take. Or was it when he led the audience in a chorus of “Hey Jude” na-na-na-nas? With a full set plus two encores, there were too many stand-outs to list.

Did you tune in to Sirius XM to hear the concert’s live broadcast over satellite radio? Or were you one of the fans in attendance? Let us know what your favorite parts of the show were if so.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix)

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  • S

    Loved it. Listened to the whole thing. Paul was on fire.

    • Color Me Impressed

      Mr. Vozick-Levinson, I know this is a bit off topic, but I’m wondering: could you tell me what sort of degree or other requirements would be necessary to pursue a career in music journalism? It would be much appreciated.

  • Jansenn

    Um, 20 million , not 200 million but great show.

  • Dee

    I am jealous!

  • RamblinRed

    There are alot of good YouTube videos this morning from the show.

    I really like Hitchhike and One After 909.
    Maybe I’m Amazed was much better than I would have expected as well.

    If you see the video for Dance Tonight, his drummer’s dancing is hilarious.

    Wonderful Christmastime with the Harlem Children’s Choir was a nice holiday touch. I also loved that he included some of ‘Scrambled Eggs’ with Yesterday.

    The sound mix is so much better on this than the SNL performance was, it is like night and day.

  • UGH


    • By-Tor

      Psst … the 90’s are over.

      • KC

        Some would say the 60’s and 70’s are over given the subject matter.
        …and a Baba Booey to you all.

      • tim

        Psst…you’re missing the point.

    • LarMcc

      You know, we are trying to have a serious conversation here and then some joker comes along and mentions Harold Stern. Who is this monkey?

      • tim

        The monkey who realizes that this event wouldn’t have been possible without Howard Stern.

      • Mike

        Great show reference.

  • Joe

    I was THERE! I sat in the 4th row, center orchestra, in front of dozens of celeb’s including Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Alec Baldwin, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Martha Stewart.

    McCartney was unbelievable. Outstanding does not begin to describe the whole experience. I may never go to another concert again because it simply cannot top the experience I had last night. At 68, he’s still on top of his game!

    • eric

      can i have your autograph?

    • Kathy

      I too was there and completely agree with Joe, but I’m jealous cause I was in the 3rd row of the balcony and thought my seats were great. The closest I came to a celebrity was a woman who was at the Feb 1964 Ed Sullivan show with the Beatles. I’ve seen PMcC a few times and this was the BEST!!!

    • Fa Fa Flo Hi

      All the hype leading up to this was about honoring the subscribers??? How come it was a star studded event??? With the exception of Howard and crew, all of the guest should have been regular sirius subscribers!!!!

  • harry

    I wish I was there!!

  • Alan S

    I was able to listen to a smattering whilst driving around on errands. Sounded GREAT!
    Loved the re-start on Baby I’m Amazed, and they had that song rockin’!
    Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da sounded incredible, really fun and that extra little keyboard part worked really well.
    Hope it gets issued on DVD!

  • Harry Reed

    what about howard stern’s penis?

  • Anne

    Would loved to have been there! He is amazing and can still rock.

  • JudyO

    i am pissed i did not get an invite. i am an xm subscriber & i emailed my entry. how did they make the selection process ? how did martha stewart & other celebs bump the rules & get in ? so i sat in my car for 2 hours & listened. Paul’s voice quivers & is off at times but we all forgive him because he still sounds great singing all his great tunes & hey he’s 68. not bad for a 68 year old to be rocking for 2 hours so he’s allowed. one boo bob i think Paul made is not thanking his host Sirius/XM for putting on this EXCLUSIVE concert….excluding me. i also think Mavin Gaye caused the blowout. ha ha. thanks Sirius & Paul

  • Arlene Crane

    I was there, front row of lower mezzanine because I brought a sign. I won by calling in during a certain song. Sirius treated us so well. They gave us free T-shirts, free food and drinks, and complimentary bus service. I have loved Paul since childhood and he was AMAZING, not off a bit, and at 68 he does not take a break, not a sip of water. He ROCKS! I took my 16 year old daughter and we will never forget it! Thanks Paul and Sirius!

  • helen

    I love paul and would have given anything to see him. It seems like there were a lot of celebrities there when it was suppose to be a contest for Sirius subscribers.
    Once again, to bad for the little guy. I listened to the show and it was spectacular!

  • Mike d

    Great Show! Front row seats! Won my tickets via email contest. Great sounds in such a great place. And ALL the Stars that were there were just an added bonus.

  • KAK

    I also won my tickets by entering the email contest. It was FABULOUS!!! The show was amazing; Paul was amazing; his band was amazing!!! This was absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime experience my hubby and I will never forget. THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU SIR PAUL AND SIRIUS/XM for a GREAT time!!!!!!!

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