“Back together”: Paul McCartney and John Lennon reunited at the Glastonbury Festival | Ents & Arts News

Paul McCartney and his late bandmate John Lennon reunited at the Glastonbury Festival, singing the Beatles hit I’ve Got A Feeling, thanks to the magic of technology.

Sir Paul, who has become the oldest solo actor to headline Glastonbury Festival, took to the Pyramid stage 18 years after he last appeared on the five-day Worthy Farm show.

The former Beatle celebrated his 80th birthday exactly one week ago.

Dressed in a navy blue mandarin collar jacket – a nod to the group’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band era – he stripped down to a waistcoat halfway through the set.

Looking unshaven and with his hair neat but long in the back, the Liverpool-born singer cut a relaxed figure and was at ease with the crowd throughout the lively performance.

In a set full of surprises, Sir Paul kept the best to the end, telling the cheering crowd that he would “be performing live with John on tour”, thanking Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson who he said , had made this technically possible.

Calling it “so special”, he continued, “I know it’s virtual, but here I am singing with John again. We’re together again.”

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An emotional Sir Paul sang a duet of I’ve Got A Feeling with Lennon’s remastered vocals, as footage of Lennon played on the big screens next to the main stage.

Before an earlier song, Here Today, which Sir Paul described as “in the form of a letter I never got to write to [John]”, he said: “It was a time when you couldn’t say ‘I love you man’, right when John died. Let’s hear it for John.” His request drew rapturous and prolonged applause from the audience.

Despite their friendship, the couple had a complicated relationship which only became more troubled after the band split up in 1970 – a split which Sir Paul has since declared at Lennon’s instigation.

However, differences aside, they were on good terms during the last years of Lennon’s life.

During the ambitious set – which lasted almost three hours due to the encores and several special guests – Sir Paul also paid tribute to his two other Beatles bandmates, Ringo Starr and George Harrison.

He referenced the formation of the band, telling the crowd, “These four boys got together and formed a band. And they did pretty well.” The understatement did not escape Beatles fans.

Paul McCartney, left to right, Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen perform at the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Somerset, England on Saturday June 25, 2022. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Other surprises for the tens of thousands of fans who watch the show include special appearances by Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl (one of his first performances since losing bandmate Tyler Hawkins earlier this year) and Bruce Springsteen.

Calling Grohl “a hero”, Sir Paul said the musician “said he was coming, and I didn’t believe him. But he showed up”. He went on to tell Grohl, widely regarded as one of rock’s nicest guys, “I love you.”

Springsteen, or “The Boss”, said to Sir Paul: “Thanks for having me”, to which Sir Paul replied: “You’re kidding. Thanks for coming.”

The pair sang two songs with Sir Paul, returning to the stage for the show’s finale.

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Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton also got name checks, as did Sir Paul’s wife Nancy Shevell, who he said was “here tonight”.

Dedicating the song My Valentine to him, the 2012 black-and-white video for the track featured actress Natalie Portman signing the lyrics played on big stage screens.

Actor Johnny Depp, who recently won his US libel case against his ex-wife Amber Heard, was also featured in the video, reigniting rumors that Sir Paul – who is believed to be a close friend of Depp – the reportedly supported throughout his legal fight.

After Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, the former Beatle drew particularly large crowds that seemed to rival those of The Rolling Stones in 2013 and Adele in 2016.

Welcoming his audience, he said: “Oh man, it’s so good to be here. We were supposed to be here three years ago. I have a feeling we’re going to have a great time here tonight”. He then promised fans “old songs, new songs and in-betweens”. He certainly delivered.

Sir Paul’s performance marks over 60 years of musical creation, with his set including hits from his time in the Beatles and British-American rock band Wings, as well as some of his best-known solo tracks.

Opening with Can’t Buy Me Love, he treated fans to other crowd pleasers including Love Me Do, Hey Jude and Let It Be.

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da had the crowds spinning, Lady Madonna inspired many jumps and the Bond Live And Let Die theme offered a little 007 drama to the night.

Paul McCartney waves the Ukrainian flag during a concert on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Somerset, England, Saturday June 25.  Photo: AP
Image:
Photo: AP

Sir Paul also showed his support for war-torn Ukraine, waving the country’s blue and yellow flag during his recall.

The timely protest against Sir Paul’s flag is not the only reminder of Ukraine’s plight, amid Vladimir Putin’s war in the country.

While his last gig at Glastonbury saw his fans drenched to the skin in torrential downpours, Saturday night festival-goers enjoyed glorious sunshine and mild temperatures.

He closed the show with Helter Skelter, a Beatles song that has since become intrinsically linked to cult leader and killer Charles Manson.

World star, known for almost 60 years, this will probably be the last time Sir Paul will perform in front of such a large audience.

It’s a probability the crowd seemed to feel, enjoying every moment of the performance and begging the star to come back for an encore at the end of his set.

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The Glastonbury Festival belatedly celebrates its 50th anniversary after two years of forced fallow due to the pandemic.

Gen-Z poster Billie Eilish took to the Pyramid Stage on Friday night, becoming the festival’s youngest headliner, and American rapper Kendrick Lamar will close the festival on Sunday.

Environmental activist Greta Thunberg also made a surprise appearance on the Pyramid Stage on Saturday to deliver a speech on climate change.

Diana Ross will take the place of Sunday Teatime Legends, following in the footsteps of Kylie, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie and Shirley Bassey.

Jan G. Gilbert