Fans Get ‘One On One’ With McCartney

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Paul McCartney, arguably the largest pop star on the planet, gave one of his most intimate concerts for a largely locals-only crowd Thursday, supplying the type of energy which was probably reminiscent of his old days of playing the Cavern in Liverpool using the Beatles.

McCartney, that has been playing odd dates since launching his one-on-one tour in Fresno in April, might have played his strangest date for 300 people at Pappy & Harriet’s saloon, a small Western-themed bar off a dark desert highway in Pioneertown. It turned out to be a secret, providing him with a concert between his two Desert Trip appearances at the famed Empire Polo Club in Indio.

“Welcome to Pappy & Harriet’s,” said McCartney, wearing a white long-sleeve shirt and suspenders with no jacket. “This really is the biggest gig we ever played.

“We believed it’d be a fantastic idea to come to a little roadhouse similar to this.”

McCartney opened with a solo number, “Save Us,” then went into a choice of Beatles and Wings tunes, such as “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Junior’s Farm” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Fans sang together, especially to his Beatles songs and screamed. When he tried to end his place with “Hey Jude” after a hour and 15 minutes, he got shrieks before most everybody started singing along. “I can’t stop this thing,” McCartney said. He came back for an encore of three tunes.

Singer Victoria Williams said with a big grin on her face, “I think it’s great. Fantastic.”

She had been one of a couple of desert musicians invited to the show.

The bar was so packed folks were able to capture glimpses of McCartney’s head. Many viewed on a screen. However, the sensation of hearing him speak close up and personal and sing and being within 20 yards of a Beatle generated a feeling of history, and of course joy.

McCartney appeared to be getting as much fun as the audience, stating, “This is excellent here in Pioneertown.”

In fact, the gig was a very long time in the building.

The co-owner Robyn Celia of Pappy said was telling the Beatle. The place has been the site of many legendary performances by McCartney contemporaries such as Eric Burdon of the Animals and Leon Russell. Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin has dropped in to sing some tunes.

When McCartney agreed to play   Desert Trip, he said he wished to play a “genuine desert” gig.

Celia said she got an email from someone about a month ago she did not know who had been making inquiries about her performance venue. People started coming to scout Pappy’s. She discovered it was McCartney’s individuals about two weeks ago.

Celia quickly agreed McCartney desired.

“I am a massive fan of the Beatles,” she explained. “I’m a huge fan of Wings. I was really pleased. He has brought so much pleasure to everybody’s life.”

Over 1,000 individuals were turned away following co-presenter KCRW public radio announced the concert at 9 a.m. Thursday.

McCartney asked the audience how many people got a large cheer and were actually from Pioneertown.

McCartney played with with a set than he played Saturday at Desert Trip. He included the Wings songs “Band on the Run” and “Feel Like Letting Go,” and Beatles songs such as “Yer Birthday” and “I Saw Her Standing There,” which was the final encore of this 90-minute series. He didn’t do his tributes to his late Beatles colleagues John Lennon and George Harrison or big production numbers including “Live and Let Die,” “A Day in the Life” and the “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight” medley that ended his Saturday Desert Trip set.

This gig did not include a guest appearance as his show in Desert Trip did. But his wife, Nancy, in the audience with all the fantastic actor, David Hockney at Pappy’s, added to the family sense of the day.