The legendary Beatle debuted some of his newest songs and played a few classics in front of a crowd of students in Queens
Paul McCartney told an auditorium full of high schoolers, "this beats going to class," after unexpectedly taking to the stage during a surprise assembly at a performing arts high school in Astoria, Queens on Thursday, 10 October. Singing along with the hits, new and old, the 400 students ushered into the Frank Sinatra School for the Arts' auditorium seemed to totally agree with this statement, as Paul and his band delivered a full, 13-song performance and Q&A session with the students.
Paul performed an impromptu show in New York earlier in the week prior to his Astoria show
With a few samples from his upcoming album, New, Paul and co. also performed some of The Beatles and Wings' most beloved tracks in front of a crowd that also included Tony Bennett, who opened the performance school in 2001. Paul wife, Nancy Shevell, was also in attendance, on the day of their second year anniversary. The date also marked what would have been the 73rd birthday of John Lennon, so there really was cause for celebration, and the students of the Queens high school got to be right at the heart of the celebrations. The show itself was filmed by iHeartRadio, who will make the performance available to stream through Yahoo! on Monday, 14 October.
As reported by the Rolling Stone, McCartney took to the stage late in the afternoon at around 2 p.m. and immediately got things going with a performance of '8 Days A Week.' The performance lasted for another hour and half, with a few exchanges wih the audience taking place in between songs. After performing the Wings hit 'Jet,' he began his first Q&A session, with one student asking him how he was, to which Paul replied "Groovy."
The questions continued, as the crowd of largely young, aspiring performers were interested in learning about McCartney's early life. He told one audience member, who had asked him about his early concerns as a performer, "When we first started out, I was terrified of doing anything wrong on stage," before reassuring the audience that, over the years he learned, "but then I learned that people don't mind. They actually kind of like it!"
Another asked him "How can one mind create so many memorable melodies?" To which Paul had to pause, before admitting "I don't really think about what I do," before realising the answer to the question: "I just love what I do."
"I could be home watching the TV now...I'd rather be here," the genuinely enthused McCartney told the audience, and it showed as he went through tracks such as 'Lady Madonna,' 'Band on the Run,' 'We Can Work It Out' and 'Hey Jude,' with which Paul led the entire auditorium through a chorus of "na-na-na's." He seemed genuinely reluctant to leave the stage by the end of the performance and furthered his claim as a true professional through and through. If anyone can take satisfaction in having done a job well done his whole life, it's Paul.
He's been doing it for over 50 years, but Paul still loves his job