Paul McCartney’s eleventh studio album, Run Devil Run, saw the former Beatle return to his first love, 1950s rock ’n’ roll, following the 1998 passing of his wife Linda. Recorded with a make-shift band which included Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, The Pirates’ guitarist Mick Green and Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice, the album featured twelve rock ’n’ roll covers and just three McCartney originals, written in the same style. And having established the ‘back to my roots’ theme of the album, there was only logical location for McCartney to debut his new material in a live setting…
McCartney’s return to Liverpool’s iconic Cavern Club on December 14, 1999, his first appearance there since The Beatles’ final show at the venue on August 3, 1963, was considered sufficiently note-worthy for the BBC to record and film the performance for broadcast on Radio 2 and BBC1. Only 300 tickets were made available for the gig.
“I am going back for just one night as a nod to the music that has always and will ever thrill me,” McCartney said before the show. “I can’t think of a better way to rock out the end of the century than with a rock ‘n’ roll party at the Cavern.”
Strictly speaking, the club McCartney returned to wasn’t the same one in which he cut his teeth as a young musician, as Liverpool city council approved the demolition of the original world-famous venue in 1973. But as the current Cavern club shares the same address (and 50% of the original site) as its predecessor, that was considered close enough.
Backed by Gilmour, Paice, Green, keyboardist Pete Wingfield and accordion player Chris Hall, McCartney performed 13 songs on the evening, including, as you can see in the footage below, a rapturously-received run through The Beatles’ I Saw Her Standing There. It was a memorable and historic evening for all concerned.
Paul McCartney Live at the Cavern Club setlist:
1. Honey Hush (Joe Turner)
2. Blue Jean Bop (Gene Vincent/Morris Levy)
3. Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Chuck Berry)
4. Fabulous (Harry Land/Jon Sheldon)
5. What It Is (Paul McCartney)
6. Lonesome Town (Baker Knight)
7. Twenty Flight Rock’ (Ned Fairchild)
8. No Other Baby (Dickie Bishop/Bob Watson)
9. Try Not To Cry (McCartney)
10. Shake A Hand (Joe Morris)
11. All Shook Up (Otis Blackwell/Elvis Presley)
12. I Saw Her Standing There (Lennon/McCartney)
13. Party (Jessie Mae Robinson)
McCartney’s performance was released on DVD in 2000 as Live at the Cavern Club.
Paul McCartney’s new solo abum, McCartney III, will be released on December 18 through Capitol Records.