Setlist History: Paul McCartney's Return To The Cavern Club

"Welcome to The Cavern. It's been a long time and it's great to be back," said Paul McCartney at the opening of his 1999 gig on December 14.

There's a little bar in Liverpool, England called The Cavern Club. It's been reconstructed since the time it opened in 1961 when a little band at the time called The Beatles used to play there. In their humble beginnings, The Beatles performed at the tavern numerous times, with their final appearance becoming none other than December 14, 1963. As we flash forward 36 years later, Sir Paul ceremoniously returned to the legendary club in 1999 for what was hailed as the “Gig of the Millennium.”

McCartney had initially announced the appearance at Liverpool's Cavern Club on the Parkinson television show just eight days before the show took place. “I am going back for just one night as a nod to the music that has always and will ever thrill me. 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,” McCartney stated during his TV guest spot.

Back in 1999, the return of The Beatle wasn’t just considered the hottest ticket in town, it was the hottest ticket across the globe. It was so exclusive that of the 300 attendees that night, only 150 tickets were available to the public – via a ballot – with 70 passes put aside for press and the venue accommodating a production crew of 40 or so. While everyone was getting caught up in this “Beatles-mania” sort of buzz, let’s not forget that McCartney’s rock ‘n’ roll album, Run Devil Run, was released just ten days prior. Paul thought the Cavern, located in his hometown after all, was the perfect place to perform with his new supergroup, which included Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour, Ian Paice of Deep Purple, Mick Green of The Pirates, and keyboardist Pete Wingfield.

Paul McCartney's setlist by Setlist.fm.

In addition to his grand visit to the bar, McCartney was reunited with Bob Wooler, the Cavern's legendary MC who had introduced The Beatles countless times in the early 60s. McCartney and his group played a total of thirteen songs that indelible day. The 50-minute set consisted of eleven covers, such as Chuck Berry’s famous song, “Brown Eyes Handsome Man,” the king himself, Elvis Presley's “All Shook Up,” and the classic Beatles tune, “I Saw Her Standing There.” The only original McCartney songs presented were “What It Is” and “Try Not to Cry,” both from Run Devil Run.

Paul McCartney - "I Saw Her Standing There" (Live at the Cavern Club - 1999)

Other than the 300 people at the bar that December night, another 15,000 people watched the performance live on a massive video screen in Liverpool's Chavasse Park. Before live streaming was really much of a thing back in 1999, an indefinable number of people were expected to log on to a website to observe the video captured from the show. It was later reported by the Associated Press that an estimated three million fans viewed the concert on the Internet, but many having difficulties logging onto the site. Oh, the Internet in 1999.

While only a select few were lucky enough to enjoy the performance in-person, a DVD was later released in 2001 for all McCartney's fans that missed out on such an incredible event.

Check out our most recent Setlist History pieces on The Doors, Metallica, 30 Seconds to Mars, U2, Frank Zappa, Elton John & John Lennon, and Death Cab For Cutie.

[Editor's note: This article was first published in 2017]

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Last updated: 19 Apr 2024, 19:12 Etc/UTC