Sorry that I've not written back before but life out here on the "Back In the US" leg has got hectic; we've been out on the road for 30 days now and we've already got 16 shows under our belts. And whilst that's not quite the
whistle-stop rate of the early Beatles tours, we're not exactly hanging about. What is especially cool out here on this leg is that the show is going down so stormingly we're breaking house records in all the places we've played - 15 cities we've done and we now hold the house records in every one of them. Maybe we've got something here. And the crowds are getting so loud! We played in Oklahoma the other night and you could hear them all yelling OVER the PA. If that keeps up we're gong to have to up the power by another million watts just to hear ourselves on stage.
You've probably heard by now that we've changed the set around a bit on this leg, adding "Let 'Em In," "Michelle" and "She's Leaving Home," and I'm very gratified to see that these "new" songs are going down well. You can kind of judge that by the sight of all the couples holding each other and swaying in their own private smooch during the songs. It's good to see that. Good that you're reaching somebody to the extent that they're oblivious to all who are around them; a bunch of waltzing figures in the crowd, just dancing in their own private love bubble as we soundtrack their moment. Makes you feel like "The Wedding Singer" up here onstage. But that's OK; the privilege of touching you guys is what it's all about.
And I'm chuffed that "Freedom" is going down so well now. It was a
crowd-rouser on the "Driving USA" leg, but now there's so many flags out there in the crowd and so much honest fervour for the spirit of the song that you feel like you're at a Fourth of July rally. That's humbling, giving America a little song on which it can vent the passion we all feel over the reasons that made me write that song. As I've said, we're all in this together.
One of the great things about the way this tour is panning out is this new band of mine. They're not only so into it up on the stage, but all of them are good enough musicians to be able to cope when the whim strikes me to throw something unscripted into the set - like we did the other night in Houston when we suddenly launched into "Midnight Special," seemingly appropriate for the lyric 'And if you ever get to Houston, you better act right'. It's a number we'd been doing at the sound check and it fitted the moment. I like to ring the changes like that; like when we played some nights back in St. Louis on the night of John's (Lennon's) birthday. I was introducing "Here Today," the song that I wrote for John, and the crowd just stood in this unending ovation at the mention of his name. So I thought, OK, this is a bit crazy but let's all sing "Happy Birthday" to John. Here. Today. Now. That was moving for me. We did another change in St. Louis (New Orleans Paul!) when my old mate from the Wings days, Thaddeus Richard, came backstage as a one-man brass section. We got him up to play on "Lady Madonna," which was cool.
Cool too is the news that on the first day, on-sale for the tickets to our coming Tokyo and Osaka (shows), they sold 170,000. It's always good to play Japan because I know the fans are into it all down there. But I also know that the stewards at the gigs like to keep everyone in their seats, because that's the accepted way - be polite, be respectful and stay in your seats and clap. Between you and me, I've got a feeling that we should give them stewards a shock this time around. Never mind what the rules say; how about WE say that we break the rules and you guys in Japan party and bop as much as you want to. Let your hair down, guys; and if they give you any problem with their rules tell them Paul said it was OK to holler and leap about. Don't worry about 'convention', pass the word and let's keep it among ourselves - give the stewards a Mac Attack. I'll back you up; nobody ever got busted for dancing at a rock show.
And anyway, the more you enjoy yourselves - whether it be in Japan or Oz or anywhere - the greater your chances of getting in this film that we're making out here on the road. We've got camera crews out there in the audience every night filming the wildest of the wildness. And although we've already filmed a lot of the American crowds on the first leg for 'Back In The U.S' - the DVD of the tour (both front of stage and backstage) that we've got coming out with the live album on November 26th, little is it known that we are STILL filming for something special besides. I'm very excited by this; we're filming now for a secret website that's going to be accessible to everyone who buys the DVD. I'm not sure I'm allowed to tell you this yet, so don't say I said it. But what happens is this - you buy your DVD, which is a cool little insider view of life on this tour, plus the best of the gigs, and then you put the DVD into your computer and because the DVD will be encrypted, it'll get you into this secret website that'll be full of stuff happening now or that which has yet to happen. I'm very into that - for the cost of the DVD you get this constant memory of the gig with this built-in ticket to the future. And anything is going to happen up there on that site; there will be extra songs from Sound Check that nobody's seen before; there's a lot of takes of a lot of you fans interviewed by our cameras, there's going to be a whole special show that will be shot totally in private just for you and other stuff that we're working on now. As I say, we're filming at every gig for this website, so if you want to try to get featured on it, get yourself noticed. I'm sure you'll find a way...........
One last thing; the promoters tell me that by the time we get down to
Australia for the Melbourne gig, we'll have sold just under one million tickets. That means somebody in Oz is going to buy the Millionth Ticket. And I hear there's a whole bunch of surprise treats - like flights to see a show outside of Oz and more - in store for whomever gets that millionth ticket.
Good luck. I hope it's you.
Anyway, I've got to go and do a show now. Nice talking to you. Let me hear any feedback you've go on this and any ideas for what you might like besides. See you soon at the gigs.
Keep rockin' PAUL