“Well,” remarked an out-of-towner as he stood on a platform in Times Square, surveying the rambunctious lunchtime crowd around him. “This is something, isn’t it?”
It certainly was: That out-of-towner was Paul McCartney, and the crowd was there to watch him play the 1 p.m. pop-up concert that he announced via Twitter earlier in the morning. The show started later than planned — Macca popped out of a yellow cab at 1:15 pm, and was immediately swarmed by Instagram-hungry onlookers — but fans were plenty pleased.
Performing from a makeshift stage carved into a semi-truck, McCartney and his backing band treated the audience to a few numbers from his upcoming album New, starting with the Mark Ronson-produced title track. The crowd cheerfully bopped along to the Rubber Soul-y song, and one group of young girls even squealed. Clearly, the 71-year-old charmer’s still got it. (Just ask the students at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Queens, who got their own private show yesterday.)
Sir Paul followed up the single with “Save Us,” the rock-heavy, Paul Epworth-produced song that opens the album, as well as the crowd-pumping “Everybody Out There.”
At this point, more than a few fans started wondering aloud whether he might play any Beatles songs, as he did at the school concert on Wednesday. Alas, he would not.
“We only get fifteen minutes up here,” McCartney told the crowd apologetically, before adding: “Andy Warhol predicted that I would only get fifteen minutes of fame…”
He launched into his last song of the short set, the uptempo rouser “Queenie Eye.” It’s another new one, but it didn’t take folks long to learn the simple, catchy singalong chorus: “O-U-T spells out/That’s out/Without a shadow of a doubt!”
Fittingly, that ended the show. McCartney took a bow and hopped back into the same cab he rode in on. “I liked the new stuff a lot,” one fan said to his friend as they filed out of the busy intersection. “Very Beatles.”