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McCartney plays gig at 100 Club

Sir Paul McCartney turned back the clock as he returned to the days of playing cramped, sweaty bars with a lunchtime show at London's famed 100 Club.

The music legend played to little more than 300 people in the heaving basement venue - renowned as a hotbed for punk in the 1970s.

It was Sir Paul's tiniest club show since he played Liverpool's Cavern in 1999, and was designed partly as a warm-up for a pair of Christmas shows, as well as to show his support for the venue which could close because of a huge rent rise.

The show was also a return to his early days as a musician, learning his craft with The Beatles with endless hours of performing in bars in Hamburg and Liverpool before landing a record deal.

After walking to the stage with his band performing an a cappella Hey Jude, Sir Paul asked fans: "Who wants to save the 100 Club?". But the lunchtime start seemed to be a slight shock to the system. "It's too early for this," he joked.

The star opened the show with Matchbox, then launched into Beatles hit Magical Mystery Tour for the cheering standing room-only crowd who had paid £60 each for tickets.

Sir Paul, dressed in a pale shirt and grey waistcoat acknowledged the contrast with the snow on London's Oxford Street outside the venue, saying: "It's snowing outside, freezing cold - and it's boiling in here."

Sir Paul played almost 30 songs during the 110-minute performance, including well-loved Beatles tracks such as Eleanor Rigby, Yesterday and And I Love Her. As he performed an energetic version of Wings song Band On The Run, his face was dripping and he asked the audience: "Are you sweating at the back?"

He also drew attention to the possible closure of the venue, which has been a home for jazz, blues and punk since it opened in the 1940s but is now fighting for its survival, saying: "It's a great gig for us and many bands - so I think, please, Mr 100 try and save it, because it's a really class place, this."

He rounded off the performance with his four-piece band with a version of Sgt Pepper's Loney Hearts Club Band before slipping into a section of the long medley from Abbey Road, and finishing with The End.

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