Paul McCartney Sheffield and Birmingham April and May 2003

Paul McCartney Sheffield and Birmingham April and May 2003
paulsheffieldtixPaul McCartney didn’t tour for quite some years after his 1990 outing, so when he announced a concert tour in 2003, I wanted to catch a show. I bought tickets for Marie, Laura, David and me to see Paul’s concert at Sheffield Arena. He was scheduled to play two nights in Sheffield, and the concert were due to take place in April 2003. We were booked to attend the second of the two nights. We booked a couple of rooms in the Travelodge next to the venue, and we were all really looking forward to the gig. On the afternoon of the show we drove down, checked into our rooms, and set off to walk just around the corner to the concert. Imagine our disappointment when we were greeted by fans coming in the opposite direction, everyone telling us that the concert was cancelled as Paul had ‘flu. We checked with the stewards, but sure enough it was true, the gig was cancelled with only an hour to go to show time. We decided not to stay the night, and drove home, very down about the whole thing. We had also been told that the show would be rescheduled but, not wanting to leave anything to chance, I got straight on the phone to Ticketmaster and booked tickets to see McCartney at Birmingham NIA the following week. I quickly booked hotel rooms and trains, and my disappointment started to lift…
Paulprog2003So a week after our disappointment at Sheffield we traveled by train to Birmingham to see Paul McCartney in concert. Sometimes booking late for a show can be a good thing, as promoters often release excellent tickets close to the date of the concert. This was certainly the case for us this time, as our seats were in the third row, although a little to the side of the stage. The concert was just great. Paul played a marathon set, although the time seemed to fly over. Its easy to forget just how many classic songs the Beatles had, and on this tour Paul delved right back into that rich catalogue, playing excellent versions of songs that brought back so many memories for everyone there that night. Indeed, many of the songs had never been played live before this tour. For me the classic Beatles songs were highlights: All My Loving; We Can Work It Out; The Fool on the Hill; Eleanor Rigby; Here, There, and Everywhere; Things We Said Today; I’ve Just Seen a Face; Two of Us. All just great. Massive explosive flares burnt high into the roof of the hall during Live and Let Die. We were so close we could feel the heat, although the fire was so strong I suspect you could feel it at the back of the venue. At one point in the show I looked around the hall and saw so many people singing every word, and so many visibly weeping at the emotion of it all. Spine tingling, classic stuff.
The Sheffield concert was rescheduled for the end of May, and we couldn’t resist going to see Paul again. So a few weeks after seeing the show in Birmingham we drove to Sheffield and experienced the whole thing again. And it was just as good….:)
paulbrumtixThe band (who were, by the way, first class): Rusty Anderson: backing vocals, guitar; Brian Ray: backing vocals, guitar, bass guitar; Paul “Wix” Wickens: backing vocals, keyboards, accordion, acoustic guitar, percussion; and Abe Laboriel Jr: backing vocals, drums, percussion. Rusty and Abe were particularly outstanding.
Setlist from Birmingham: Hello, Goodbye; Jet; All My Loving; Getting Better; Let Me Roll It; Lonely Road; Your Loving Flame; Blackbird; Every Night; We Can Work It Out; You Never Give Me Your Money/Carry That Weight; The Fool on the Hill; Here Today; Something; Eleanor Rigby; Here, There, and Everywhere; Things We Said Today; I’ve Just Seen a Face; Calico Skies; Two of Us; Michelle; Band on the Run; Back in the U.S.S.R.; Let ‘Em In; My Love; She’s Leaving Home; Can’t Buy Me Love; Birthday; Live and Let Die; Let It Be; Hey Jude; The Long and Winding Road; Lady Madonna; I Saw Her Standing There; Yesterday; Sergeant Peppers/The End
Paul has continued to tour since 2003. We have seen him at Live 8 (2005), Liverpool Sound (2008) and at Glasgow Hampden Park (2010). I blogged on the Liverpool and Glasgow concerts at the time, and will write about Live 8 in a separate post one day soon.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on December 2, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I’ve enjoyed reading the Paul McCartney gig memories – thanks Peter.
    Some nice stories as well as to how you got tickets for the shows.

    I was at the Saturday 5th April 2003 Sheffield concert. The set list for this show was slightly different to the Birmingham one you list above. Coming Up and Driving Rain were included at the start of the set and Things We Said Today and I’ve Just Seen A Face were omitted.

    The US leg of the 2003 tour was recorded and released on a double CD called Back In The World. This is a great live album and includes the entire set (like the Sheffield one) apart from Birthday which is missed off for some reason.


    • Posted by vintagerock on December 2, 2013 at 10:55 am

      Thanks Mitch I read somewhere that McCartney had to make the changes to the set after his bout of flu, because his voice had been affected! Thanks again Peter


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