x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

McCartney has only Saif to convince

Not everyone was singing along as music legend Paul McCartney packed out Yas Arena last night.

Sir Paul McCartney plays to a packed house at the Yas Arena last night. Antonie Robertson / The National
Sir Paul McCartney plays to a packed house at the Yas Arena last night. Antonie Robertson / The National
ABU DHABI // Thousands of fans packed Yas Arena last night to hear the music legend Paul McCartney round off the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but not everyone was singing along.
Surrounded by scores of fans in Beatles and Wings paraphernalia, Saif bin Ahmed was a bit puzzled.
"Who is this Paul something?" asked the Emirati, 45.
Told McCartney is one of the biggest selling artists in the industry, Mr bin Ahmed was unimpressed.
"Listen, you want to talk to me about big artists, talk to me about Mehad Hamed or Hassan Al Jasmi. Now these artists are brilliant!
"But still, I will give this person an opportunity and see what happens."
Other fans were more easily won over, as McCartney played a joyous set of hits spanning his more than 50-year career and turned the arena into a stadium-sized karaoke club.
Greeting the crowd with "Marhaba Abu Dhabi," McCartney had the audience singing along from his opening salvo of Hello, Goodbye, Junior's Farm and All My Loving.
Dressed in black suit and white shirt, he had a playful grin throughout the performance as his four-piece band provided pitch-perfect backing vocals to Sing the Changes from McCartney's experimental project Fireman, while giving extra muscle to the classic Wings hit Jet.
For the New Zealander Nathan Tane, 40, it was a great way to cap off his first visit to the Middle East.
"I've been to the race in Australia and this is so much better," Mr Tane said. "A lot of people . don't understand the Middle East but for me, the people, the culture, it's all been brilliant. I'll come back."
ssaeed@thenational.ae