The last time they played together was in 2002 for a tribute concert for the recently deceased Beatle George Harrison. But when Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performed onstage last weekend, it was for a considerably more joyous occasion.
During the “Change Begins Within” benefit concert for the David Lynch Foundation at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, the two British rockers played several songs together, including jointly singing a [artist id="969"]Beatles[/artist] tune they’d first performed more than 40 years earlier.
Just past 11 p.m., McCartney was wrapping up a set of Beatles classics (“Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Let It Be”) and solo numbers (“Band on the Run”) when the 66-year-old addressed the crowd. “At this point we would like to introduce somebody to you who you know, you’ve heard his name,” said McCartney. “He’s going to come out here and play you a little song this joyful night.” He then introduced Starr as “Billy Shears,” the pseudonym he used on the Beatles 1967 classic, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Out came Ringo, and the two remaining Beatles performed “With a Little Help From My Friends.” They shared a microphone as they sang, and then shared a hug. Afterwards Ringo took a seat behind the drum kit to accompany McCartney and his band through McCartney’s rare track “Cosmically Conscious,” as well as “I Saw Her Standing There.”
While the highlight for the 6,000 people in attendance was no doubt the chance to see Paul and Ringo together again, the entire night was filled with musical stars. Eddie Vedder performed a solo version of his single from the “Into the Wild” soundtrack, Moby rocked a tune from Play, and Ben Harper came through with a track from his upcoming album, White Lies for Dark Times. Other performers included Sheryl Crow, Jim James of My Morning Jacket and soul singer Bettye LaVette. And before he played with his ex-bandmate, Ringo performed a mini-set that included Beatles fave “Yellow Submarine.”
The David Lynch Foundation, created by the legendary director of “Blue Velvet,” supports teaching Transcendental Meditation to students in “at-risk” schools.