Back in 2002 Paul McCartney‘s Driving World Tour, his first world tour since 1993, was scheduled to stop in Cleveland on April 29th and to say the least, the excitement level was pretty high. A few days before the show the powers that be here at the station told me that Paul was going to stop by the station and I was going to get to interview him. For a few minutes I was totally pumped until it hit me that that was never going to happen. Why would Paul McCartney, one of The Fab Four, arguably the most famous musician on the planet, take time out to stop by a radio station at this point in his career? You get to be that big and you don’t need to do that kind of stuff anymore.
So the day before the show the boss rolls in to tell me that Paul won’t be stopping by the station after all. See, I’m thinking, I told ya! No, he won’t be stopping by the station but now I’m supposed to go down and interview him after the soundcheck. Well, hey, that at least makes a little more sense. But I’ve been down this superstar interview road before and I’m still betting it’s not going to happen. But hey, I’d still like to see the soundcheck!
So the day of the show comes and a few of us from the station and about a dozen contest winners head down to the soundcheck. Now some of you might not be aware of this but soundchecks can be pretty casual, and boring, affairs that are usually used to run over a few tunes and fix any technical problems from the previous show …but not this one. It seems that Paul was filming the entire tour for a DVD and they were going to use this soundcheck to make sure they had a couple extra good “takes” in the bag. And so, the entire soundcheck was like a full dress rehearsal; full lights, full effects..all systems go! And so about fifteen of us lucky Clevelanders, sitting alone in the middle of what was then Gund Arena, had our own little twelve song concert…and it was amazing! The band would finish, fifteen of us would clap and scream like crazy, and Paul would acknowledge us as if we were 20,000 strong!
And then it was backstage for the interview. Now I’m not usually that starstruck by these things…hell, between my radio and TV gigs, I’d already interviewed everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Keith Richards (and believe it or not, both of them on the same day)…but, man, this was a Beatle; ground zero for why so many of us picked up a guitar in the first place. And then, just as promised, the door opened and there he was, holding out his hand and saying, “Hi, I’m Paul”…well, yeah (yeah, yeah)! Listen below: