McCartney serenades Chicago fans at awards ceremony

McCartney serenades Chicago fans at awards ceremony

By R. John Narusis

By R. John Narusis

Freelance Writer

Paul McCartney, while in Chicago last week, took a detour off that lonely road of touring before hitting the stage at the United Center later in the week.

On Monday evening, April 8, McCartney and fiancée, Heather Mills, attended “The Center for International Rehabilitation Fifth Annual Awards Dinner,” held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Mills, who is an amputee, was one of three people honored.

Mills received The Advocacy Award for her commitment to helping those with disabilities and raising awareness of their needs.

The ceremony, which lasted three hours, saw the couple mingle with Ted Turner, Jean Kennedy Smith, Mayor Daley and other luminaries. After suffering the death of his wife in 1998, McCartney, with Mills, his newly-found love, is back on the road again.

McCartney, touring on his new album, Driving Rain, performed to sold-out crowds at the United Center last Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. The 2-1/2 hour show seemed more like an intimate gathering of friends rather than a rock concert.

This tour took on a more basic, club-like approach. Amidst the incense-laden arena, there was an Old World circus-type 20-minute preshow reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil.

Then, McCartney, with his famous Hofner bass held high, appeared in silhouette to a deafening applause.

Songs like the opening melody of songs “Hello Goodbye/Jet/All My Loving, Back In The U.S.S.R., Can’t Buy Me Love,” and “Freedom” from his Concert For New York, had fans dancing in the aisles. This night, however, it was McCartney’s ballads that reigned.

The tributes to John Lennon and George Harrison, with “Here Today” and “Something,” respectively, took on a somber tone. But it was McCartney’s words, “I’d like to dedicate this song to Linda, wherever you are,” and subsequent rendition of “My Love” that saw McCartney at his heartfelt vocal best.

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