On September 11th, Paul McCartney was sitting on a plane waiting to fly back to England, when the pilot announced they could not take off. Looking out of the plane window, Paul saw the World Trade Center on fire. Never a man to just sit around, Paul decided to organise a concert to help the firefighters of New York. As we all know, Paul's father was a fireman during the Blitz, hence his alter ego, so obviously it is a cause close to his heart. However, as a concert was already being organised, Paul was asked to headline that instead of his own, which he was happy to do. The Concert for New York was a one-off concert to raise money for the firefighters, rescue workers, police officers and the families of those who died during the attacks.
This film was shot mostly in black and white by Albert Maysles, who was with the Beatles in 1964. Maysles takes footage of Paul leading up to the concert. For fans of Paul this is really fascinating stuff, as he walks the streets of New York (feeling like the mayor!) and is interviewed by several people, as well as meeting up with many old friends. Some of the interviews are quite sad, not only because of 9/11, but also because many of the questions about Linda. It is also interesting to see how aware Paul is of who are real fans (with whom he is always courteous) and who are asking for autographs to sell. He can spot a fake at 60 feet, that's for sure!
The actual concert seems to start with the most awful version of "America" by David Bowie I have ever heard (I've seen Bowie in concert, so know this is not representative of the great man, but I have to be honest), but then thankfully moves on to James Taylor, Billy Joel, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, etc. There are only clips of songs, this is not the film of the whole concert. There is also lots of footage of Paul backstage, meeting and greeting, with Bill Clinton and Stella among others, as well as chatting to the firemen of New York. Altogether, this is a very interesting account of those weeks after the 9/11 attacks of New York. The concert clips are great, including a beautiful version of "Yesterday" and a grand finale of "Let it Be" and "Freedom".