Classic Beatles songs come along like buses during this jolly surprise gig at the club synonymous with Beatlemania
Although Paul McCartney became, in 1964, the last Beatle to move away from his home town, lately he doesn’t seem to be able to keep away from the place. Last month he played an impromptu gig at the Philharmonic Dining Rooms pub on Hope Street, where he entertained disbelieving drinkers with Fab Four and Wings classics. Then – for a special edition of the Late Late Show With James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke – he nipped to his teenage home on 20 Forthlin Road, where he wrote songs with John Lennon – and bashed out When I’m Sixty-Four. Now, here is he again, with a secret gig at the Cavern.
This isn’t – quite – the building that triggered the start of Beatlemania, and thus effectively the birthplace of the most famous rock’n’roll quartet in history. The original Cavern was flattened to make a car park before being rebuilt in the 1980s. But nobody here is splitting hairs. Beatle Paul is back on Mathew Street and the 300 people crammed into this sweltering little club are almost close enough to touch a living Beatle.
“Liverpool! Cavern! Two words that go together,” he begins, although some things have changed. He’s halfway through Eddie Cochran’s Twenty Flight Rock (the song with which he auditioned for John Lennon in 1957) when he stops it to admonish people filming on mobile phones. “It’s purrin’ me off,” he says, sounding more Cilla than Macca, but moments later, a storming version of Magical Mystery Tour – with the crowd on impromptu backing vocals – offers the first taste of what they came for.