AUSTIN — "I've got a feeling in Texas," was one of the first lines Sir Paul McCartney spoke to the thousands of fans who packed Zilker Park Friday night for the 2018 Austin City Limits Festival.
To just about any music fan, the sheer bragging rights of being able to say you've seen a founding member of The Beatles perform live was enough to dole out the big bucks for an ACL wristband. Which is why it came as no surprise that McCartney attracted a massive crowd to his performance during Weekend 2 -- despite having played the same stage only a week prior.
As they say, the Brit hopped the pond yet again for another historical moment on the ACL stage, performing songs of his own and those that brought The Beatles to international fame and hysteria.
As he sang what he called "old songs, new songs and some in-between songs," he gave the ACL crowd a little history lesson along the way.
The first came after he gave tribute to American guitar legend Jimi Hendrix with a riff from the Hendrix song "Foxy Lady." McCartney said he was very lucky to meet Hendrix in London in the 60s -- this was during the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" era. He said when Hendrix began wailing on his guitar, it fell out of tune. He knew fellow legend Eric Clapton was hiding in the crowd, so McCartney said Hendrix proceeded to ask him to tune it. He also mentioned Clapton was hiding because of that fact.
Speaking of instruments, McCartney also paid tribute to fellow Beatle George Harrison -- a star ukulele player. Before opening into a ukulele version of "Something," he took a moment to explain how the late Harrison was a uke expert. In fact, he said the very ukulele he was playing was a gift from Harrison himself.
Later on in the show, he recalled one of The Beatles' earliest moments in recording at Abbey Road. That song was "Love Me Do." He explained that when asked to sing the words "Love Me Do" along with the harmonica, he got nervous.
"I can still hear the tremor in my voice," McCartney said before jumping into the song. "But not tonight."
Soon after, he gave an important lesson on one of the biggest Beatles hits, "Blackbird." McCartney remembered writing it during the Civil Rights era with the hopes of giving people in southern cities like Little Rock, Arkansas -- home of the historical "Little Rock Crisis'' -- hope to keep pressing forward.
Another history lesson came after the performance of "Back in the U.S.S.R." He recalled performing in the actual U.S.S.R, now Russia. Top leaders with the Kremlin were backstage hoping to speak with the band. One of those officials told him he learned English listening to The Beatles.
"He looked me right in the eye and said, 'Hello, Gooodbye,'" McCartney laughed.
Another important history lesson seemed to be learned by McCartney himself.
After a photo of McCartney waving around a Chilean flag during his performance at Weekend 1 of the festival, it seems the rock legend, or a member of his crew, corrected the mistake. When the crowd gave him an encore, Sir McCartney came running out with the remarkably similar -- and correct -- Texas flag.
We'll forgive you, Paul.