UK Cheers McCartney's Concert for the Ages

Fans, reviewers praise historic Glastonbury performance
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2022 2:10 PM CDT
UK Cheers McCartney's Concert for the Ages
The audience watches Paul McCartney perform Saturday at Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, England.   (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Doubts were expressed when Paul McCartney was announced as the headliner for this year's Glastonbury Festival in southwest England. For one thing, the co-founder of the Beatles just turned 80 years old—four times the age of Billie Eilish, who also performed at the festival. The skeptics are singing a different tune now, after McCartney played for 2 hours, 50 minutes on Saturday night, a show UK reviewers and concertgoers called historic and brilliant, the Guardian reports. The Sunday Telegraph found the performance "one of the most thrilling, uplifting, banger-filled, star-studded sets this 50-plus-year-old festival had ever seen."

McCartney had help from friends: Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl joined him onstage for several songs. Using Peter Jackson special effects, he sang "I've Got a Feeling" with John Lennon. He played "Something" on a ukulele given to him by George Harrison. More than 100,000 people attended the concert in person—the biggest crowd ever at the Pyramid stage—while 4 million watched on TV on a delay. This year's event was a celebration of the festival's 50th anniversary, delayed by the pandemic, per CNBC. Fans began staking out spots in front of the stage more than 12 hours before the concert began, per the BBC. They saw a performance that a Guardian reviewer called "about as thrilling as pop music gets."

Actor-comedian Steve Coogan told the BBC, "I don’t think there’s anyone else in the world who can just give such unadulterated joy to people." Many fans had not seen McCartney play live before, such as Sorcha Ingram, 25. "I had the time of my life," she said, adding that the Beatles are "where my music taste stems from." Many, including James Jack, 35, said they would tell their grandchildren about the show someday. "Musically, it was up there with one of the most seminal moments of my life," he said. "It exceeded all expectations," said Richard Martin, 75, who'd never seen McCartney or the Beatles. "My wife has," he said, "she was one of those screaming teenagers." On Friday night, Billie Eilish became the festival’s youngest solo headliner when she took to the same stage, per the Independent. "The Beatles were what raised me," she said. (More Paul McCartney stories.)

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