McCartney thrills crowds in Quebec with Beatles classics

Paul McCartney churned out a song list laden with Beatles tunes before a pumped-up crowd at a free concert as part of Quebec City's 400th anniversary celebrations.

Paul McCartney churned out a song list laden with Beatles tunes before a pumped-up crowd at a free concert as part of Quebec City's 400th anniversary celebrations.

McCartney opened the show by belting out his Wings-era hit 'Jet' and greeted the French-speaking crowd in their native language.

The crowd erupted and the band turned it up a notch by ripping into the Beatles' classics 'Drive My Car' and 'All My Loving' and his 2007 song 'Only Mama Knows'.

Organisers estimated around 200,000 people were attending the outdoor show.

"C'est ma premiere visite a Quebec, and it's a great place," McCartney said, informing the crowd in what he called his "limited" French that it was his first visit to Quebec and receiving a roar of support from fans in return.

Tens of thousands of music fans began congregating on the Plains of Abraham early in hope of grabbing a good view.

Fan Leo Rodrigue sported a red Montreal Canadiens hockey jersey with the name McCartney emblazoned across the back above the number one.

McCartney arrived in Quebec City the day before the concert and was greeted by hundreds of adoring fans, many of whom had waited several hours outside the Chateau Frontenac Hotel to catch a glimpse of him.

When a journalist asked: "Are you happy to be in Quebec City?" He gave a thumbs-up and shouted: "Oui".

The much-anticipated show, McCartney's only scheduled performance in North America this year, drew ire from some in the province who have questioned his participation in the weekend birthday celebrations of French-speaking Quebec City because of his British roots.

They claim his presence evokes painful memories of Britain's conquest of New France in 1760. The Plains of Abraham was the site of the pivotal 1759 battle in which British General James Wolfe defeated France's Marquis Louis-Joseph de Montcalm.

In an interview with Radio-Canada earlier this week, the 66-year-old brushed off the nationalists' claims.

"I think it's time to smoke the pipes of peace and to just, you know, put away your hatchet because I think it's a show of friendship," McCartney said.

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