Sir Paul McCartney has said his intimate Somerset show the night before his Glastonbury headline set reminded him of his early days of being “hot and sweaty”.
The 80-year-old former Beatle performed at the Cheese and Grain entertainment venue in Frome, Somerset, on Friday to a crowd of adoring fans and famous faces including the late George Harrison’s wife Olivia and pop star Olivia Rodrigo.
The surprise performance comes ahead of his Glastonbury set on Saturday, where he will make history as the festival’s oldest ever solo headliner.
Sir Paul wore a light blue collarless shirt and blue jeans with his Hofner bass around his neck as he took to the stage at the Cheese and Grain.
After performing the second song of the set, Junior’s Farm, he greeted the audience by saying: “Good evening Frome – why am I getting a feeling we are going to have some fun!”
The former Beatle played a selection of his hit tracks including Getting Better, Golden Slumbers and Out of College, which he revealed was the first time the song was being performed live in England.
After delivering his 1970s track Maybe I’m Amazed he said: “This takes me back to the early days, hot and sweaty!”
As Sir Paul left the stage he thanked the crowd, saying: “Thank you Frome-anians, we had a good time in here tonight. This was a good idea.”
Other celebrities among the throng of fans included comedian Judd Apatow and his wife and actress Leslie Mann as well as Brian Johnson from AC/DC.
The surprise gig was only announced on Thursday evening, causing traffic chaos in the town as fans attempted to grab a coveted ticket.
An entourage of local people who missed out on a spot waited outside the venue in the hope of catching a glimpse of the former Beatle.
Among the waiting crowds was self-professed superfan Jane Lamb who had brought her Beatles scrapbook which she had made aged eight in the hope Sir Paul would come out and sign it after his show.
The 68-year-old from Frome told the PA news agency: “I think it’s amazing he is headlining Glastonbury at his age. I have heard people say his voice has gone but I don’t think it has.”
Sir Paul is following in the footsteps of Foo Fighters and Wolf Alice playing at the Cheese and Grain before his Glastonbury headline set.
Sarah McDonald was among some of the lucky few who got to attend the surprise performance with her family after she was first in the queue for tickets.
Ahead of the performance, she told PA: “We’re excited to see him, we’ve been listening to Paul McCartney all day.”
Jackie and Martin Moss and their grandchildren also tried to catch a glimpse of the singer after missing out on tickets.
The couple described scenes of gridlock in the town as people tried to get hold of tickets, saying: “The roads were rammed, the place was gridlocked, the police had to arrive as you had to come in person and get tickets.”
Jackie also described the Cheese and Grain venue as “very intimate” and “quite ordinary” but noted that having Glastonbury’s co-organiser Emily Eavis as a patron seems to drive the big stars to the establishment.
At the event security staff were asking ticket holders to seal their phones in opaque bags so no recordings or pictures could be made during his surprise performance.
Sir Paul’s set on Saturday will be his second time topping the Glastonbury Pyramid Stage bill after a performance in 2004.
The music offering this year also features headliners Billie Eilish and Kendrick Lamar, with Diana Ross filling the Sunday Teatime Legends slot.