NEW YORK — An all-star concert on meditation brought Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr together for their first performance together in seven years.
The reunion of McCartney and Starr, the surviving members of the Beatles, was the highlight of the Change Begins Within concert on Saturday night. The event was held at Radio City Music Hall to benefit the David Lynch Foundation, which aims to teach at-risk youth meditation techniques.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Billy Shears,” McCartney told the crowd, referring to the fictional character on the classic Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, as Starr emerged and immediately launched into his part in the Beatles’ classic With a Little Help from My Friends.
McCartney and Starr last performed together in 2002 at the Concert for George, which honoured former Beatles George Harrison at London’s Royal Albert Hall a year after Harrison’s death.
Saturday’s concert, which also featured Sheryl Crow, Eddie Vedder, Donovan and others, ran for about four hours. But McCartney had thousand of fans on their feet as he hit the stage near the show’s end.
Opening with a spirited version of Drive My Car, he went through a generous selection of Beatles and Wings classics, from Can’t Buy Me Love and Let It Be to Jet and Band on the Run.
For the encore, McCartney was joined on stage by Donovan, Crow, Mike Love (of the Beach Boys), Vedder, Paul Horn, and of course, Starr on drums.
After an epic version of Cosmically Conscious, McCartney launched into the crowd-pleasing I Saw Her Standing There.
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