Sir Paul McCartney comes to 100 Club's aid

By Kev Geoghegan
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

  • Published
Sir Paul McCartney on stage at the 100 Club
Image caption,
It is the first time Sir Paul has played the central London venue

Sir Paul McCartney has performed an intimate lunchtime gig at the 100 Club on London's Oxford Street, a historic music venue threatened with closure.

Around 300 fans were treated to a set lasting almost two hours, comprising songs by the Beatles, Wings and from Sir Paul's solo back catalogue.

It was the smallest gig the star has played in the UK for nearly 10 years.

He was met with cheers when he said: "Please Mr 100 Club, try and keep it open because it's a really cool place."

The club, which began life as a restaurant in the 1940s, has played host to the Sex Pistols, the Rolling Stones and Metallica down the years.

But rising rent in the centre of London has pushed the venue into the red. Unless a new buyer or sponsor is found, the club could close before the year is out.

A campaign to keep the 100 Club open has attracted support from Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie and Sir Mick Jagger.

Fellow Rolling Stones member Ronnie Wood played a benefit gig for the venue earlier this month.

Arriving on stage a few minutes later than expected, Sir Paul joked with fans that he had been stuck in traffic.

He then asked: "So, who wants to save the 100 Club?"

"He can't possibly be getting anything from this financially," said Myrelle Morris from east London.

"So he's obviously doing this just to help keep the club going and get people interested in its history and its future."

The £60 tickets had sold out in minutes and were rumoured to be changing hands online for thousands of pounds.

The lucky holders who had queued outside in snow showers were rewarded with some of the biggest hits in the Beatles' back catalogue

The gig kicked off with Magical Mystery Tour, Drive My Car and All My Loving.

Sir Paul continued with Wings hits Band on the Run and Jet, as well as such solo tracks as 2007's Dance Tonight.

"It was amazing, it felt like a dream seriously," fan Rafik Mediene told the BBC News website after the event.

"Never in my life did I think that I would see Paul McCartney like this. It's going to take me a few years to get over it."

Songs like Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and Hey Jude inevitably had the crowd singing along.

And Sir Paul's solo acoustic versions of Blackbird and Yesterday were almost hidden from view due to phones and cameras being held aloft.

Between songs Sir Paul joked that "it was like being in an end-of-term school play".

The gig was something of a warm-up for the 68-year-old, due to play two Christmas gigs in Liverpool and Newcastle later this month.

Yet if he was nervous playing one of his most intimate gigs for more than a decade he did not let it show.

Image caption,
The small venue holds just 350 people

"People used to give us fag packets to sign back in the old days," Sir Paul told the audience. "This bloke's just said, 'Can you sign my iPad?'"

The gig was rounded off by a rendition of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band before Sir Paul's plea to save the 100 Club.

Matthew Willgress from north London said: "It's a great place, I didn't know it was here.

"Some other pubs and clubs round here have shut because of the new Crossrail station - it would be shame to lose another one."

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