Paul McCartney gets emotional during marathon Coachella set

Former Beatle plays career-spanning set in the desert

Paul McCartney delivered an emotional, career-spanning set during his debut Coachella performance, closing out the first night of the massive desert festival (April 17).

The former Beatle kicked things off with the Wings hit ‘Jet’, segueing into the Fab Four’s ‘Drive My Car’.

Looking dapper in a casual black suit and white shirt, McCartney said, “We’ve come from many miles away to rock your roof tonight. It’s gonna be a good weekend here.”


During the first half of his set, McCartney – accompanied by his four-piece band – ran though a handful of Wings tracks and a Fireman tune, which he introduced by saying, “We’ve got a new record called the Fireman. It’s my alter ego.”

After wailing on his guitar for several songs, McCartney switched over to the piano for ‘The Long And Winding Road’. “It’s a very emotional day for me and my family today,” he then confided to the crowd. “April 17. Linda (McCartney) passed away 11 years ago. We play this for Linda tonight,” he said, dedicating the Wings song ‘My Love’ to his late wife. McCartney got choked up while singing the song he wrote for her, which they often performed together.

McCartney then switched back to an acoustic guitar to perform the classic Beatles track ‘Blackbird’ while standing alone on the stage.

“It’s so great to realise so many civil rights issues have been overcome. We now have President Obama,” he said when introducing the tune.

The audience, comprised of mostly young Coachella-goers and a handful of older people eager to catch a glimpse of the Beatles legend, paid close attention during McCartney‘s slower numbers and danced and sang along during upbeat songs including ‘Live And Let Die’, which was accompanied by an elaborate pyrotechnics display. “It’s Pau fucking McCartney!” shouted one man as fireworks shot up from the stage.

McCartney later dedicated his song ‘Here Today’ to John Lennon, which he wrote for his late former bandmate, and the audience applauded long and loud for the legendary Beatle. He later shouted out to late fellow Beatle George Harrison and dedicated a song to his wife Olivia, who watched from the wings.


The crowd seemed especially thrilled during the second half of McCartney‘s more-than-two-hour set, when he rolled out several Beatles hits one after the other, including ‘Let It Be’, ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Yesterday’, which resulted in a mass audience sing-along.

Blog – Lyndsey Parker’s top 10 Coachella highlights, including video footage of Franz Ferdinand, The Cure, Leonard Cohen and more.

Photo Gallery – all the action from Coachella 2009.

Paul McCartney played:

‘Drive My Car’
‘Only Mama Knows’
‘Flaming Pie’
‘Got To Get You Into My Life’
‘Let Me Roll It’
‘Honey Hush’
‘The Long And Winding Road’
‘My Love’
‘Here Today’
‘Dance Tonight’
‘Calico Skies’
‘Mrs Vanderbilt’
‘Eleanor Rigby’
‘Sing The Changes’
‘Band On The Run’
‘Back In The USSR’
‘I’ve Got A Feeling’
‘Paperback Writer’
‘A Day In The Life’/’Give Peace A Chance’
‘Let It Be’
‘Live And Let Die’
‘Hey Jude’
‘Can’t Buy Me Love’
‘Lady Madonna’
‘Helter Skelter’
‘Get Back’
‘Sgt. Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)’/’The End’

–By our Los Angeles staff.
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