Hartlepool holidaymakers get shock as Paul McCartney holds surprise New York gig

Andy and Sarah Douglass
Andy and Sarah Douglass

A HARTLEPOOL holiday maker had a Hard Day’s Night coming to terms with a surreal experience in New York city – when he ended up just six feet away from one of the most famous men on the planet performing a surprise street gig.

Andy Douglass and his wife Sarah were strolling around Times Square using up the last few hours of their week-long trip to the Big Apple when New York Police Department cops started quickly putting up safety barriers.

Paul McCartney performing at a surprise gig on the back of a wagon in Times Square, New York, watched by Andy Douglass, from Hartlepool, and his wife Sarah.

Paul McCartney performing at a surprise gig on the back of a wagon in Times Square, New York, watched by Andy Douglass, from Hartlepool, and his wife Sarah.

The 30-year-old asked what was going on but was told by one officer that he was under strict orders not to reveal what was about to happen – but said to Andy: “If you’re from England then you really need to stay.”

The former English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College pupil said within 20 minutes a crowd of around 50 unassuming people had multiplied into the thousands, then a wagon pulled up, the side dropped down, and there was Beatles superstar Paul McCartney and his band.

Andy, a massive Beatles fan, said he and Sarah, from Norwich, recall the event like Yesterday and hope to remember it as clearly When (He’s) Sixty-Four.

The mobile phone company operations manager, who had a Beatles tribute act playing at his wedding in September 2012, said: “It was surreal, it was unbelievable. We we’re literally six feet away from him while he played about five songs from his new album.

Paul McCartney performing at a surprise gig on the back of a wagon in Times Square, New York, watched by Andy Douglass, from Hartlepool, and his wife Sarah.

Paul McCartney performing at a surprise gig on the back of a wagon in Times Square, New York, watched by Andy Douglass, from Hartlepool, and his wife Sarah.

“We are both massive, massive Beatles fans. It had been John Lennon’s birthday the day before so we’d been to see the John Lennon Memorial, and then to have Paul McCartney pull up in front of us the very next day was just amazing. My wife was in tears!”

He added: “We’ve paid £80 a ticket before to see McCartney live at the 02 in London and I think we had the worst seats in the house because he was a tiny little speck, so to be so close was mind-blowing.

“He must have had some work done because he looked amazing. I reckon he definitely dyes his hair because that didn’t look so good.”

Andy, who went to St Cuthbert’s Primary School and grew up in Alverstone Avenue, off Oxford Road, Hartlepool, said it was about 1pm on October 10 when the one-off gig took place leaving the couple just an hour and a half to spare as they had a Ticket to Ride back to the UK hours later and had to leave their hotel at 2pm.

Andy, who now lives in North London, said: “There was a few rumours going about the people there that it was Paul McCartney but then a young lad who was there said that it was definitely him because McCartney had Tweeted what he was about to do. Time was ticking for us because we had to leave at 2pm so I was a bit anxious that we might miss him.

“But after that the crowd just got bigger and bigger and there was thousands and thousands of people there. Then the side of this wagon just dropped down and McCartney and his band were there and ready to play.

“He was on for about 15 minutes and some TV companies interviewed us because we were so close to the front. We did feel really lucky.”