“Spider!” shouts Sir Paul McCartney.“Where?” I wonder, glancing around his candle-scented, comfortably furnished dressing room.
Can it be that even in the well-appointed backstage areas of the world’s highest-grossing concert tours — this one an army-on-the-march staffed by 120 musicians and crew — creepy-crawlies will upset the post-soundcheck calm?
But no. Ninety minutes before showtime at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, Macca is watching the US version of Family Fortunes. Having accompanied him on tour before, I know this is his pre-gig warm-up routine: trash TV. Two nights at Tokyo Dome wouldn’t have been nearly as rockin’ if the 700-million-album man hadn’t got in the zone by settling down to You’ve Been Framed.
“OK, answer this…” challenges McCartney. “Top thing: Spider… something. Man! It’s got to be. Everybody’s going to say Spider-Man,” he tuts with an “obvs” register to his voice.
I drag the 76-year-old’s attention away from the giant telly by complimenting him on a brilliant year — another one. Even a reported break-in at his St John’s Wood home, five days previously, can’t take the gloss off it. His 25th post-Beatles album, Egypt Station, earned his best reviews in yonks, and gave him his first American No 1 in 36 years. His Carpool Karaoke with James Corden — a funny, heartwarming trip back to Liverpool — has 36 million YouTube views and is Facebook’s most-viewed late-night TV clip ever.