- Nikki Denett filed this report for Beatle Brunch, after she saw Sir Paul on The Colbert Report Wednesday afternoon:
The experience began after a very long late morning/early afternoon wait on line outside the Colbert Studio. I found out the Colbert normally tapes much later but we were on Paul’s schedule (clearly) so the appearance was going to be taped earlier. No biggie. I can skip a Starbucks trip for Paul. Paul showed up around 12:30 and a little while after that, we were all checked in and ready to go, going through security and then being told to chill out in this Colbert-ified room right outside the studio.
After we were told for the umpteenth time that we were forbidden to use our phones or cameras inside (ok, studio lady) and after another very long wait, we were finally allowed inside the studio, where I immediately locked eyes with the famous psychedelic piano in close proximity! Ok, Now we knew we were in the right place. Funny thing, upon walking in the studio, we were asked if we would like ear plugs (they were actually serious). I thought, “Are you kidding?” and that was pretty much the last coherent thought I had before I actually realized just how small the studio was and how close we would be to Paul. I kept asking “Is this a joke?” for a good ten minutes.
I really dig the Colbert atmosphere. First we had a warm-up comedian whose main purpose was to get us all hyped (like we needed it?) and then after a rousing chant of “Stephen! Stephen!” our host made his grand entrance and we had a quick little question and answer session with him “out of character” (as they call it) and then it was onto the show. Stephen explained to us that the segments would be ordered differently on the broadcast but that for the taping he was going to do all the news stuff first, then have the chat with Paul and then have songs, songs, songs and hey, he had me at the first mention of “songs” so I was a happy (and very excited) camper.
After the news segment during the “commercial break”, Paul casually strolled out, unannounced on the set and after a rousing ovation in his honor, the real fun began.
Paul and Stephen’s banter was the best. Some of the highlights were when Stephen makes fun of the way Paul says “schedule”, when he asked about when The Beatles decided to stop writing songs for other people and start writing for themselves and Paul simply answers “drugs” (lol). They discussed plenty of Wings stuff, and when Stephen asked Paul what’s one song he wished he’d written before his time, Paul responded with Fred Astaire’s “Cheek to Cheek” and then he and Stephen proceeded to sing that song together. Paul was singing “Heaven…I’m in Heaven…” and at that moment I I thought “Um, Paul I’M in heaven!” (editor’s note: Steven also asked veggie Paul about claiming to like roast beef, as shown in the above Beatle card from the 60’s)
A few bits of the interview that didn’t make the air was when Stephen quizzed Paul on how much a gallon of milk was to see just how and Paul replied right away, “In English or American?”
The best bits though were in between the breaks that were supposed to be for commericals. Paul bobbing his head to White Stripes and Passion Pit music, there was a brief moment when he was called away from the stage and the band and then returned a minute later and he dramatically announced to us “I’ve just been fired!” and he put this like mock-upset face on and we let him know “Awww Paul it’s okay”.
We were told that Paul would be doing six songs at first, but he ended up doing nine (five of which were broadcast and one which was held for a website “exclusive”). Apparently he decided what songs to play when he got there that morning.
Paul’s Colbert Set List
Matchbox (not broadcast)
Let Me Roll It (not broadcast)
Listen to What the Man Said
Letting Go (not broadcast)
I’ve Just Seen A Face (He started the intro and then stopped halfway through, saying, “We’re going to try that again” and then we all droned and then he mentioned “hey, it’s my band! I can do that if I want!”)
Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite
Hi Hi Hi (Paul introduced this song, noting “This song is about getting high ON LIFE!
Birthday (web exclusive). Paul dedicated this one to everyone who was having a birthday and apparently forgot to acknowledge his own. Good thing he had me there to remind him !
Afterwards he thanked us for coming out to “this lunchtime session” and after a few more waves and kisses blown to us he made his graceful exit.
This topped even last year’s SNL appearance for the closest I’ve ever witnessed Paul perform his music. He was just THERE hanging out on the set mere feet in front of us and it was amazing to be able to just sit there and watch him. That sounds weird, but I loved that the Colbert crew was only a few guys and the studio was so small because it made it even more intimate and special, even though millions of people would probably be watching this.
It was an absolute dream and I feel extremely grateful/lucky/blessed/fortunate to once again be able to write a post like this. Every time Paul comes here I walk away loving him even more. I’m amazed that’s still possible at this point.