It was almost like magic Oct. 10, according to eyewitness accounts. Paul McCartney wasn't in Times Square, then he was performing four songs from his “New” album. To most of the crowd, it was a complete surprise. But not to super McCartney fan photographer Bob Gannon, who was alerted ahead of time.
See photos of the Paul McCartney Times Square show by Bob Gannon and Nancy Benecki in the slideshow on this page.
“You may have noticed Paul McCartney starting to make the promotional rounds for his upcoming album 'New." First in Las Vegas at the iHeartMusic Festival, (then) shutting down Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles at the Kimmel show, Listening Parties in Los Angeles, New York and London, and then teaching a master class at Frank Sinatra Performing Arts School yesterday with 30 lucky fans looking on," he said.
“But he had one more trick up his sleeve before leaving for the UK to do promotion events there! I got an advance heads up but was told that this was top secret and that it would not be announced ahead of time and to keep it quiet. So, I let four good friends all know something was going on but didn't tell them what or where. I had them meet me elsewhere and I walked them to the spot to assure they didn't let it out.
“So we arrived at 46th & Broadway, Times Square around 10:45 a.m. Although I knew that starting time was later, I wanted to be there early in case the weather was a factor. First we spotted the red truck that was obviously the stage inside, and shortly after saw Pab looking around. We called out to Pab and he looked stunned that we were there. He waved and went about his business.
“We then found a spot to sit for awhile when we saw MJ Kim. We said hello as he passed and bust out laughing and asking us how we knew? About an hour before the performance, we all noticed that Paul had tweeted and let everyone know that 1 p.m. that he was performing in Times Square. About 1230 p.m. we got our spaces along the barricades.
“A little before 1 p.m., the truck pulled up in front of the barricades and the flaps were opened unveiling a stage inside. Crew members than did a quick soundcheck. At around 1:15 p.m., several taxi cabs drove up a long driveway that the police had cleared. Out of the first cab was Wix and Brian followed by Rusty and Abe. The third cab had Paul McCartney in it. Nancy McCartney had already been there waiting for the cabs.
“Paul came out and waved as he took the stage. He started on the piano with 'New.' He switched to the Hofner bass for 'Save Us.' He then went to acoustic guitar and played 'Everybody Out There.' He ended the show with the first live performance of his newest single 'Queenie Eye.'
“All of the songs sounded great and Paul was smiling ear to ear. He looked very confident and comfortable playing the new songs. And then as quickly as they came, the took and bow and headed back to their taxi cabs and were gone!! Who knows what's in store for the UK!!!”
Nancy Benecki was among those in the crowd.
“I was just about to eat lunch at work when I saw an article on Facebook that said Paul McCartney was playing Times Square! So I grabbed my hot lunch out of the microwave, told my boss I had to go, and took the subway to 42nd Street. I got there at about 12:40 and was able to work my way up to a spot about eight rows back near 46th Street.
“Before I knew it, the band and Paul took the stage and everyone went crazy! Suddenly, a sea of cameras and phones were in the air. It was unbelievable that Sir Paul himself was about 20 feet from me. I swear he looked at me for a second because I was singing along with the words to 'New' and 'Queenie Eye.' It was over way too fast. He said he only got 15 minutes to play. It wasn’t enough time, especially if you tried to process that Paul McCartney was right there. I cried like a baby when I saw him at Barclays last summer, but there wasn’t even enough time to get emotional. It was all fun, and over way too soon.”
Read all the news about Paul McCartney's “New” album in our special Beatles 101 "Read All About It" news roundup
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