Paul McCartney live: Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliff-on-Sea

Paul McCartney performed at Cliffs Pavilion in Westcliff-on-Sea, England, on 19 July 1991.

It was the fifth 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.

For this show only, McCartney and his band also provided backing music for poet Adrian Mitchell, who recited four poems.

All six surprise shows followed the same pattern of two distinct 50-minute musical sets, acoustic and electric, Unplugged and Plugged, separated by a brief interlude. Further underscoring the unpretentious nature of the seaside shuffles, the Westcliff-on-Sea gig (24 July) featured a unique bonus in the shape of a poetry reading by Adrian Mitchell, a friend of Paul’s since the 1960s. He had rehearsed with the band two days earlier.

The musicians kept a low-volume accompaniment while Mitchell addressed the audience with four of his poems – ‘Junk’ was recognisable as the backing behind love verse ‘Maybe May Time’, and a suitably funky arrangement was provided to augment a poem about James Brown. The sequence was so very much a departure from the norm, and so irresistibly fascinating to watch, that most audience mouths were left distinctly agape. It must have made the McCartney memory-bank dart back to the only other time he had backed a bard: an unforgettable Liverpool evening in 1960 that had the youthful Silver Beatles – clearly lads of sheltered upbringing – accompany visiting ‘beat poet’ Royston Ellis and find themselves somewhat puzzled by Ellis’s indiscreetly veiled references to then-illegal all-male sexual activities.

Though Paul resisted the idea of donning on stage a ‘Kiss Me Quick’ hat from nearby Southend, the Westcliff show was every bit as jolly and relaxed as that at St Austell. John Hammel kept a steady harmonica hand during ‘Down To The River’, there was the usual instrument swap-around for ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’, and ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ had two endings – first the usual one and then another, an unusual one, which saw Robbie then Paul and then Hamish drop to their knees. (Robbie’s idea, Paul announced.) The audience reaction was on the wild side of ecstatic from start to finish. (If one could only harness the power given off by a McCartney audience when demanding an encore there’d be no need for nuclear power-stations.)

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 – Westcliff-on-Sea, England, 19 July 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: Cornwall Coliseum, Carlyon Bay
Paul McCartney live: Falkoner Theatre, Copenhagen
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