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Saturday 23 May 2009

Paul McCartney's Unplugged Tour 1991

Copenhagen ticket
Ticket to the Falkoner Theatre concert.
In 2007, when Paul McCartney played some impromptu concerts to promote his new album, Memory Almost Full, the media started calling it the "Secret Gigs" tour, forgetting that Paul already had one of his earlier tours dubbed by that name. The first "Secret Gigs" Tour happened during the summer of 1991.
Westcliff Ticket
Ticket to the concert at Cliffs Pavilion.

  • 8. May 1991: Zeleste, Barcelona, Spain
  • 10. May 1991: The Mean Fiddler, Harlesden, England
  • 5. June 1991: Teatro Tendo, Naples, Italy
  • 7. June 1991: Cornwall Coliseum, Saint Austell, England
  • 19. July 1991: Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliff-on-Sea, England
  • 24. July 1991: Falkonerteatret, Copenhagen, Denmark

  • These were impromptu concerts at mostly smaller clubs, inspired by the "MTV Unplugged" TV concert and subsequent album. A further concert at Paris L'Olympia was planned, but not announced. It was cancelled when Linda McCartney's father, Lee Eastman, passed away during the tour. Paul felt that he owed l'Olympia a concert and eventually returned to play there in 2007 on that "other" Secret Gigs Tour.

    Bootleg LP from the Westcliff gig
    One of the bootlegs from the tour.
    At Cliff's Pavillion, Paul and his band backed guest poet Adrian Mitchell on the recital of his poems "Song In Space," "I Like That Stuff," "Maybe May Time," and "Hot Pursuit". They also added "I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside" to their set list.

    I had the great pleasure of attending the gig in Copenhagen, driving down through Sweden with two good friends of mine, and taking the boat across the pond to Copenhagen. We arrived with not one ticket between the three of us, but hoped to get in, either through Geoff Baker, Paul's publicist, or with some help from the norwegian EMI representative.

    Paul arrives at the Falkoner Theatre
    Paul arrives at the Falkoner Theatre and greets his fans.
    Photo: © 1991 Tore Skaar.
    It didn't work out that way, but I managed to buy a ticket from someone just before the gig started, and a few songs into the gig, my two friends also struck luck when a drunken swede with two tickets arrived, selling them both and then went back to the pub again! Great memories. I remember sitting on the floor in front of the stage, waiting for Paul to come on. And this is how that looked like:

    When I got home, I wrote a review about the concert for Norwegian Wood, entitled "Sweetest Little Show In Town". And that review has the distinction of being the first ever article written for Norwegian Wood on a computer. Everything prior to that had been written on a typewriter, but I stayed after hours at work and wrote it on a newly installed computer with a word processor. Soon bitten by that bug, I went out and bought a computer (a PC compatible 386sx thing) later that year.

    Set list (not all songs were performed in all locations):

    Acoustic Set: "Mean Woman Blues," "Be-Bop-A-Lula," "We Can Work It Out," "San Francisco Bay Blues," "Every Night," "Here There And Everywhere," "That Would Be Something," "Singing The Blues," "O Sole Mio," "Down To The River," "And I Love Her," "She's A Woman," "I Lost My Little Girl," "Ain't No Sunshine," "Hi Heel Sneakers," "I've Just Seen A Face," "The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise," "Good Rockin' Tonight"

    Electric Set: "My Brave Face," "Twenty Flight Rock," "Band On The Run," "Ebony And Ivory," "I Saw Her Standing There," "Coming Up," "Get Back," "The Long And Winding Road," "Ain't That A Shame," "Let It Be," "Can't Buy Me Love," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".

    Here's a YouTube playlist of songs captured from two of those concerts, Copenhagen and Italy, together with some footage and an interview from Westcliff-on-Sea.

    1 comment:

    SmoothInternet said...

    If only we could get Paul to do television. I think he's one of the few people who could bring back the great variety shows of yesteryear (like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sonny and Cher, even Carol Burnett).