Entertainment

Four million tune in to watch Sir Paul McCartney headline Glastonbury

The former Beatle was joined by Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl.

Almost four million people tuned in to watch Sir Paul McCartney’s history-making Glastonbury headline set with surprise guests Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen.

The Saturday performance at Worthy Farm had a peak audience of 3.9 million and an average audience figure of 2.6 million on BBC One, the broadcaster said.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the music festival told the PA news agency Sir Paul’s set on the Pyramid Stage attracted “one of the biggest crowds we’ve ever had.”

Glastonbury Festival 2022
Sir Paul McCartney on stage with Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen (MJ Kim/2022 MPL Communications/PA)

Actor and comedian Steve Coogan described watching Sir Paul’s set as “quite overwhelming”.

Alan Partridge star Coogan, 56, was among the thousands in the crowd on Saturday night for the performance by Sir Paul, who at 80 became the festival’s oldest solo headliner.

Sir Paul performed Beatles and Wings songs in a set lasting more than two hours, and was joined on stage by Springsteen for Glory Days and I Wanna Be Your Man.

The electrifying show was further amplified as he introduced Grohl to the stage to sing I Saw Her Standing There and Band On The Run.

Glastonbury Festival 2022
It was Dave Grohl’s first stage performance since the death of his bandmate Taylor Hawkins (MJ Kim/2022 MPL Communications/PA)

It was his first public performance since the death of his Foo Fighters bandmate, drummer Taylor Hawkins.

While the crowd sang Hey Jude in the background, Coogan told the BBC: “I don’t know what to say, it’s quite overwhelming.

“I don’t think there’s anyone else in the world who can just give such unadulterated joy to people… very, very privileged to be able to see that.”

The Guardian review gave Sir Paul four stars out of five for his gig, with The Telegraph honouring him with five stars and suggesting Glastonbury may have to be renamed “Maccabury”.

The newspaper praised the musician for delivering “one of the most thrilling, uplifting, banger-filled, star-studded sets this 50-plus-year-old festival had ever seen”.

The performance paid homage to those near and dear to the Beatle, with Sir Paul dedicating a song to his wife of more than a decade Nancy, and to former bandmate, John Lennon, who was killed in 1980.

Using special technology which could isolate Lennon’s vocals from old recordings, Sir Paul was able to duet on the Beatles’ track I’ve Got A Feeling alongside his former bandmate as part of the encore.

Speaking on-site after the show, fans were full of praise for Sir Paul.

Jake Richardson told the PA news agency: “I think I’ve probably just seen one of the most legendary performances ever.

“This is my first time at Glastonbury, I’ve never been before. I’m a huge Beatles fan, I’m a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, I’m a huge Foo Fighters fan, I got everything I wanted tonight.”

Despite the majority of the Glastonbury headline performances being shown live on the BBC iPlayer, Sir Paul’s show was not aired on the broadcaster’s channels until an hour after his set had started.

The BBC said it was not shown live due to the “complexity” of broadcasting an event of that scale and volume, adding in a statement that “there is sometimes variation between performances taking place and their transmission”.

On Friday night, Billie Eilish became the festival’s youngest solo headliner as she took to the Pyramid Stage.

Speaking ahead of her performance, she praised the impact the Beatles’ music has had on her, telling NME: “The Beatles were what raised me. My love for music I feel 95% owes to the Beatles and Paul.”

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