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2002-Apr-02: The Driving Rain USA Tour Has Begun

Sir Paul launched his Driving USA concert last evening to a sell-out crowd of 15,000 at the Oakland Coliseum in San Francisco, California.

After a circus parade warmed up the audience, Sir Paul appeared in silhouette on the stage saluting the crowd with his Hofner bass held high over his head.  He then began to sing  Hello Good-bye, the first a play list of 36 songs which included 21 Beatles hits and 10 hits from his days with Wings.  Sir Paul explained how he chose the songs:

"When I was picking what songs to play, I imagined myself sitting in the audience and thinking 'Right, what would I want to hear him play?'  If I were going to see Bob Dylan, for instance, I'd want to hear Mr. Tambourine Man. So I just thought, 'What would someone want to hear if they were coming to see me?'

 "Then I added a few of my own ideas, like the George thing with the ukulele. I used to play Something at home with the ukulele long before [George's illness]. George was a big ukulele fan. At the end of George's evening, the ukulele always came out. It was like the port."

The play list included 13 number one songs and other memorable hits such as Back In The USSR, Can't Buy Me Love, All My Loving (against a bank of video screens flashing black-and-white Beatles footage), Let it Be, Hey Jude, Live And Let Die and Jet. Sir Paul's  first ever live performance of Getting Better inspired Heather Mills to jump from her seat and dance in the aisle.

Sir Paul fought back tears as he paid tribute to Linda, John, and George. In tribute to George, Sir Paul stood alone on stage and performed the Harrison classic, Something. He told the audience:

"George was a great ukulele player and whenever you went to his house, he'd play it at the end of the night. I showed him I could play the song on the ukulele and tonight I'd like to do it now as my tribute."
In tribute to Linda, Sir Paul sang My Love and in tribute to John, he gave his first live performance of  Here Today.  He introduced this song saying,
"When people are around, it's not always easy to tell them what you feel. After my dear friend John passed on, I wrote this song."
The crowd responded to the performance with a tearful standing ovation.

Sir Paul also played an acoustic set.  He said it was the first time he had ever played a solo guitar on stage without accompaniment.  The idea came to him while he was performing his poetry readings last year:

"I enjoyed just being alone in front of an audience and thought it would be a good idea to go one on one in the concert in some way."
The eleven songs in this set included We Can Work it Out, Mother Nature's Son, and Carry That Weight (during which forgot the words and had to improvise singing "This is the part where I don't remember the words. Maybe I'll remember them by the end of the tour")

The 150 minute show closed with the songs Yesterday, Sgt Pepper and The End along with a thank you from Sir Paul:

"Thanks, it's been great getting back here to rock you."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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