Macca's secret gig stuns shoppers

Salisbury Journal: Sir Paul McCartney played a surprise gig in Covent Garden Sir Paul McCartney played a surprise gig in Covent Garden

Sir Paul McCartney has surprised passers-by with an unannounced free gig in central London - echoing his famous rooftop gig with The Beatles 44 years ago.

The star replaced the jugglers and living statues who often gather around St Paul's Church in Covent Garden to perform a selection of new tracks from the back of a truck.

Thousands of people gathered in the cobbled piazza and got a grandstand view from the balcony of the market building opposite.

Onlookers started gathering after they twigged the musician may be playing after spotting one of his flight cases. The truck - forming his makeshift stage - pulled into the square with stacks of speakers set up in front.

Stepping onstage at 1.30pm, he told the crowd: "Good afternoon, and welcome to Covent Garden. We're just going to do a few songs from our new album so get your phones out - as if they weren't out already."

After playing current single New, he joked: "Busking - I've always wanted to busk here."

Sir Paul memorably performed with The Beatles in January 1969 on the roof of the group's Apple HQ in London's Savile Row.

Today's performance follows a whirlwind week of promotion for his latest album - also called New - which has involved intimate shows at BBC studios and numerous TV and radio interviews.

Watching from the balcony of the nearby Punch and Judy pub were Sir Paul's children - fashion designer Stella and musician James - who later joined their father backstage.

During the 20-minute set, he also played newly recorded songs Queenie Eye, Save Us and Everybody Out There.

Sir Paul said: "This is a bit of a change from the 60s - we'd have just been coming back from the clubs right now, never mind singing."

As he thanked the crowd, he finished the five-song set with a further performance of opening song New.

Afterwards Sir Paul said he had been "giggling inside" during the show.

"Covent Garden was sensational, it was like being in a dream - just suddenly playing to all those people and then no sooner had we started it was over.

"It was crazy; I kept giggling inside. It was great and very nice of all those people to come out. And I like playing on the back of a lorry."

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