Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney speaks about by MIKE OLIVEIRA 
Canadian Press
Saturday, April 13, 2002

TORONTO (CP) - Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney spoke about sharing his    
personal grief with fans and his affinity for Canada at a rare news
conference Saturday that led up to the lone Canadian date on his
North American tour, his first in almost 10 years.

McCartney hadn't played in the city since 1993 and the buzz for the
sold-out show was palpable. Fans lined the street outside the Air
Canada Centre hours before the concert started and an adoring media
circus welcomed McCartney as he took to the podium to speak.

"(Toronto) is just one of those cities that I love coming to
because, in truth, the British connections," McCartney said.

"For us people from Britain when I was growing up, everyone was
emigrating and coming over on the cheap passage and starting up new
lives here. So that's what we always think of it...as a new
beginning for a lot of my relatives and mates' relatives."

He praised Canada for its role in fighting for the international ban
on land mines, one of several charitable causes he supports.

"I would be very keen at the moment on banning land mines, and
seeing as Ottawa is the place where the treaty is from, you guys
have been leaders on this," he said.

"But unfortunately, places like the States haven't signed it. We're
very keen on that issue and clearing them up. There's countless
millions still in the ground."

He also touched on the grief he has faced during his hiatus from
touring, with the death of his wife Linda and more recently the
death of bandmate George Harrison and then the events of Sept. 11.

"I think it's strange, because of my losses and also the world's
losses, it is a very emotional tour, which I like," McCartney said.

"I do a couple of songs for (former bandmate John Lennon) and
George...and I wondered whether that would be too difficult. But
there's something about the audience and the response, we all kind
of let it out," he said.

He likened each show to a group therapy session, where everyone can
release their grief and negative energy.

"Particularly after Sept. 11, I think a lot of people have got a lot
of emotions and in some ways, you need somewhere to let it out in a
group," he said.

"If I talk about John or George or Linda or the events of Sept. 11,
there's a feeling that comes over (the crowd). I like it, it's a
good thing to share."

Some have questioned whether the 60-year-old is running out of gas
and if this could be his last tour but McCartney said his energy
seems to be endless.

McCartney and his band go on stage for about 2 hours each night,
with a set list of around 36 songs, including 21 old Beatles tracks
and a handful from his newest album Driving Rain.

"I don't even think about it, it's something I've always done,"
McCartney said of his long shows. "And I don't get exhausted, I
really don't.

"It's just something to do with the pacing of the show - there's
some rocking numbers and then there's some quiet ones - so I get a
bit of time for a breather.

"Really, its just a pleasure for us to get of the studio...get in
front of some people and just show off a bit. It's great, we're
really enjoying it."

At Saturday's show, McCartney welcomed a local pipe band to the
stage to play a song with him - as he did back for the last show in
Toronto in 1993 - and said it was yet another fun thing to do in the
city, inspired by its culture.

"I always love coming here. It gives us a chance to get out the pipe
band because of all the great Scottish folks that live here,"
McCartney said with a fake Scots accident.

"And any excuse to do that is cool with me." 

As the news conference wound down, a starstruck reporter sheepishly
got McCartney to autograph an old piece of Beatles memorabilia and
asked if any of its members had ever collected any during the band's
heyday.

McCartney said he hadn't, but added that he longed for one product
he wishes he bought.

"I wouldn't mind a pair of Beatles knickers," McCartney joked. "They
did appear in Japan and I often think about them. But then I smack
myself about the face and get on with it."

Copyright by the Canadian Press, April 13, 2002. All rights reserved.
 


Ottawa Beatles Site