Thursday, December 3, 2009

Back to Hamburg

Kicking off his first European tour in five years, Paul performed in Hamburg last night at the Color Line Arena. Catherine Hickley of Bloomberg News was there to report on the show. Most of the details will be familiar to those who have followed Paul's recent tours.

The enthusiastic -- if sedate and middle-aged -- audience at Hamburg’s Color Line Arena comprised some Beatles’ friends from the very early days, when the band was living in squalor in the back room of a cinema and playing grueling six-hour sets at the Indra and Kaiserkeller clubs. McCartney said hello from the stage to “Astrid and Klaus.”

Astrid Kirchherr, the photographer who was engaged to the original Beatles’ bassist, Stuart Sutcliffe, and Klaus Voormann, the musician and graphic artist who designed the cover of the “Revolver” album, sat in the box next to me. Kirchherr, a little severe-looking with glasses and a gray crop, smoked silently and smiled sporadically through the show.

In 1960, the Beatles didn’t know enough songs to fill a whole evening. McCartney, now 67, has learned a few more since then. And those days of playing for hours on end in shabby bars were good stamina training. Dapper and chirpy in a dark suit, he sustained an energetic and flawless performance for 2 1/2 hours.

Most of the songs were Beatles’ compositions, including audience-pleasers like “Hey Jude,” “Let It Be” and “Eleanor Rigby.” A smattering of colloquial German, a relic of those days, was delivered with charm and received with enthusiasm.

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