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Paul McCartney, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff: 26 June 2010

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Bethan Elfyn Bethan Elfyn | 15:25 UK time, Monday, 28 June 2010

I haven't been to many concerts in the Millennium Stadium. In the past decade there's been R.E.M, Oasis and Foo Fighters, and the Manics' Millennium, so my experience of vast cavernous concerts are few and far between.

But what I have learnt the hard way is that its an all day experience. It's not a trot to your local dark gigging dive, it's everything from lunching in the sun in Cardiff's town centre, avoiding the traffic, and home before midnight - in other words it's a wonderful grown up gigging experience!

Each experience has been totally different, and each visit slightly less raucous too perhaps! With that in mind, I find myself trundling along, literally crossing the road from my house in Riverside with the throng of the 60s generation towards the bizarre experience of seeing Macca and two incredible Welsh bands in support.

With my companion for the day, my mother-in-law, I set off early as I didn't want to miss anything. We arrived at our seats, pleasingly close to the stage, just in time for The Joy Formidable's set as the first support act. The band looked comfortable and ready for such a huge stadium. Despite sparse stage and no frills, they shone with their tight set, great songs, and Ritzy's warm welsh husky voice beaming with happiness at the occasion.

The Joy Formidable onstage at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

The Joy Formidable onstage at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (photo: Ynyr Roberts)

There was just time for a glass of chilled wine, which we didn't even have to move from our cosy seats for, and then Manic Street Preachers took to the stage. Again the set was sparse: some pale blue lights, and Nicky's standard feather boa microphone stand and Welsh flag speaker stack.

Manic Street Preachers onstage at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Manic Street Preachers onstage at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (photo: Ben Norris)

The Manics belted through their greatest hits with warm 'rough guide' explanations about each track, and the setlist included Your Love Alone, Motorcycle Emptiness, Design for Life, Suicide Is Painless, You Love Us, and Rock And Roll Music dedicated to Stuart Cable.

It seemed slightly strange to see such a huge band, a band who've headlined this very venue, as the support act on this occasion, but I guess the 11th anniversary of the stadium and the sheer musical legend that is Paul McCartney managed to persuade them to take the short set. They looked like they have a beefier line up too, with extra men on guitar and keys. It's an interesting sign of things to come as they gear up for a new album in the autumn.

Paul McCartney: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff setlist, 26 June 2010At 7.45pm Paul McCartney took to the stage with a bellowing "Shw mae?" before kicking into Venus And Mars, Rock Show and Jet. The 68-year-old played 40 years' worth of Beatles and Wings back catalogue for the next three hours, looking elated, comfortable and full of energy throughout.

It was a crowd-pleasing set, and we we're on our feet singing along for the majority of the time. The lights and visuals were incredible and the pyrotechnics during Live And Let Die made us jump - the heat from the flames had quite a range! The nostalgic but witty anecdotes about Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, John Lennon and Linda were charming, and Paul captured our attention with an incredible performance throughout.

From grand piano to multi-coloured honky tonk upright, from mandolin to ukulele, bass guitar to acoustic, McCartney's musicianship is incredible and his voice pitch perfect for the entire set. The band were a funny bunch too, with their own quirks that sometimes draw your attention away from the main man.

Paul McCartney: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, 26 June 2010

Sir Paul McCartney onstage at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (photo: The Beatles Bible)

Beatles favourites were scattered throughout, including Helter Skelter, All My Loving, Something and The Long And Winding Road, until the rabble rousing, lighters out, two-encore finale of Hey Jude, Sgt Pepper, Lady Madonna, and my all-time favourite Beatles track Get Back.

Paul McCartney: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, 26 June 2010

Sir Paul McCartney onstage at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (photo: The Beatles Bible)

The polite audience filtered out quickly, and I was home within a few minutes reliving the experience to the rest of the family, a wonderful stadium musical experience... Now to book the Speedway!

Paul McCartney: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, 26 June 2010

Sir Paul McCartney onstage at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (photo: The Beatles Bible)

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    This was definitely my gig of the year, hands down, no contest. Hearing Paul McCartney play those Beatles songs once more was truly thrilling - it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, though of course it was part of a world tour and he's showing no sign of stopping. I hope he comes back to Cardiff soon.

    One of the best things for me was that the Millennium Stadium security people weren't bothered about people walking up to the front and taking photos. I even filmed a couple of songs, though it was hard to stay still with all the other people crammed in at the front. Here's a clip of Paul performing I'm Looking Through You - hope you like it.

 

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