Paul McCartney joins Damon Albarn for London Africa Express gig

The former Beatle was earlier awarded the French Legion of Honour in Paris

Paul McCartney joined Damon Albarn on stage at the Africa Express show in London last night (September 8).

Appearing as a surprise special guest, the former Beatle first appeared playing bass on Rokia Traore’s ‘Dounia’, with former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones on mandolin, before playing Wings’ ‘Coming Up’ and ‘Goodnight Tonight’ with the Blur frontman, Tony Allen and Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals among others.

Other highlights of the five-hour show included Kano and Bashy joining John Paul Jones for Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’, Spoek Mathambo’s reworking of Joy Division’s ‘She’s Lost Control’ and Damon and Rokia Traore’s duet on Gorillaz’s ‘On Melancholy Hill’.


The gig was the final stop for the Africa Express; a collective of musicians, including former Libertine Carl Barat and Jon McClure, who travelled to Middlesbrough, Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff and Bristol on a chartered train to play special shows.

Earlier in the day, McCartney was awarded the French Legion of Honour – the highest public distinction a French President can bestow upon a member of the public – at a ceremony in Paris.

The singer was decorated by French President Francois Hollande during the ceremony at the Eylsse Palace, and joins actor Clint Eastwood and singer Barbara Streisand as an officer of the Legion of Honour. You can watch McCartney receive his medal below.

After receiving his award, McCartney then boarded a Eurostar to London to perform at the gig in Granary Square. The former Beatle was greeted by Damon Albarn when he arrived at St Pancras station.

Paul McCartney, Damon Albarn and Fatoumata Diawara meet at King’s Cross station before the show