Paul McCartney live: Cornwall Coliseum, Carlyon Bay

Paul McCartney performed at the Cornwall Coliseum in Carlyon Bay near St Austell, England, on 7 June 1991.

It was the fourth of six shows in the Unplugged 1991 Summer Tour, which lasted from May-July 1991. The tour was prompted by the success of McCartney’s MTV Unplugged appearance and subsequent album.

This was the biggest show of the mini tour, and was watched by 3,326 fans.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, rock tours would cover most of Britain. These days, with a dearth of major arena venues in the UK, big tours tend only to visit the bigger cities – the World Tour, for example, played London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Liverpool. It certainly went nowhere near Cornwall, the most south-westerly county in England, and as soon as the MPL team realised that Paul had never played there, not with Wings, not even with the much-travelled Beatles, it was decided: Cornwall it had to be, and the decent-sized (3326 standing) Cornwall Coliseum venue in the resort town of St Austell was quietly booked for 7 June. Tickets went on sale the Sunday before, and with fans queuing at the box-office all night it was soon declared a sell-out.

In the best possible sense, the Cornwall Coliseum reminds one of a college or youth venue of the early 1970s. Alongside the ‘pints only’ bar there’s a little kiosk in which, actually during the gig, a smiling lady sits happily selling bottles of R White’s lemonade, packets of crisps, Opal Fruits, Smarties and Bassett’s Jelly Babies. The whole venue oozes charm, and the 7 June audience oozed expectation, enthusiasm and excitement; sensing this, the band put in a scintillating high aptitude performance at the venue by the red cliffs.

Not unexpectedly, every McCartney reference to the locale was heroically received: ‘San Francisco Bay Blues’ appended with the line ‘way down in Cornwall’ was one, then later when he addressed the crowd as ‘my little Cornish pasties’ there were cheers all round. The band also treated what can only be described as a bemused audience to an ultra-quick acoustic instrumental scoot through ‘The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise’. Few would have recognised the lilting 1953 Les Paul and Mary Ford pleaser from the 30-second end-of-pier-style demolition job successfully undertaken, amid much laughter, by The McCartney Six.

A more recognisable form of treat was delivered in the shape of an altogether new composition, ‘Down By The River’. Apparently written by Paul over a recent morning’s muesli, it’s a catchy skiffle-style romp about ‘going down to where the waters flow’, marked by a true McCartney concert first – mouth-organ playing. Not for him, though, the Dylan-style neck appendage to keep the instrument in place, instead it was the duty of special assistant John Hammel to join Paul centre-stage and physically hold the harmonica adjacent to the microphone.

Club Sandwich, Summer 1991

McCartney’s band was Linda McCartney on vocals, keyboards, and percussion; Hamish Stuart on guitar, bass guitar, and vocals; Robbie McIntosh on guitar and vocals; Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens on keyboards and vocals; and Blair Cunningham on drums and percussion.

Paul McCartney ticket – Carlyon Bay, England, 7 June 1991

Concert setlist

Paul McCartney Unplugged Tour dates

  • 8 May 1991: Zeleste Club, Barcelona, Spain
  • 10 May 1991: Mean Fiddler, London, England
  • 5 June 1991: Teatro Tenda Partenope, Naples, Italy
  • 7 June 1991: Cornwall Coliseum, Carlyon Bay, England
  • 19 July 1991: Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliff-on-Sea, England
  • 24 July 1991: Falkoner Theatre, Copenhagen, Denmark
Last updated: 18 January 2024
Paul McCartney live: Teatro Tenda Partenope, Naples
Paul McCartney live: Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliff-on-Sea
Also on this day...

Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.

Leave a Reply