McCartney hires Halifax musicians as opening acts
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Thursday, July 9, 2009 7:20PM EDT
The stage is set, Sir Paul McCartney's musical gear has arrived and even the sun has peered through the clouds to welcome the former Beatle, who's set to play the biggest concert the city of Halifax has ever seen.
McCartney and his four-piece band will perform Saturday night on a massive stage on the Halifax Common, a large recreational space in the heart of the Nova Scotia capital.
Concert organizers are hoping to attract at least 60,000 fans to the open-air event.
And two local acts have been given the opportunity of a lifetime -- to open for a rock legend.
Paul McCartney hand-picked singer-songwriter Joel Plaskett and rockers Wintersleep to fill the coveted opening spots.
Plaskett says he was honoured to hear that someone gave a copy of his latest album "Three" to McCartney, who in return approved hiring him as opening act.
"It is really cool and it's a real honour for us," Plaskett said.
Plaskett, 34, cites The Beatles' classics Abbey Road and The White Album as favourite albums when he was growing up.
Plaskett released "Three," a 27-song, three-disc composition of rock, folk and pop, in March. This week he made the shortlist for the 2009 Polaris Music Prize.
Tickets for Saturday's McCartney concert range from a whooping $316 for reserved VIP seats to $136 for general admission. Tickets are also available through Coke Zero Family Pack, and those go for $272 for two adults and two children 12 years and under.
The concert staff have spent the past two weeks preparing for Saturday's show, working 14- hour days through thick fog and sometimes rain to turn the Halifax Common in to a Rock n' Roll venue.
The roof of the 30-metre-high stage will hold 60 tonnes of sound and light equipment for the rock concert. Organizers are also promising a fireworks display.
Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly, who took part earlier in the week in a re-creation of the Abbey Road album cover, playing the Paul McCartney role, inspected the concert setting Thursday.
"It looks phenomenal," Kelly said. "It's one that certainly stands out from what's ordinarily here."
The site will also be used again on July 18, when '70s glam rockers Kiss hit the stage, as part of the group's Canadian tour.
McCartney's "Not a Tour" swing through North America has been billed as a mini-tour, but he's been adding dates in recent days. The concert will feature a mix of Beatles, Wings and solo career hits.
He will also perform sections from his most recent album, Electric Arguments, released under his alias The Fireman.
After his show in Halifax, McCartney is off to play two shows on July 17 and 18 at Citi Fields in New York, which sold out in just under five minutes.