Paul McCartney transforms concert hall in Brasília into Cavern Club
Ex-Beatles performed surprise event in Clube do Choro concert hall
Published on 29/11/2023 - 11:50 By Pedro Peduzzi - Agência Brasil - Brasília
In a remarkable surprise, approximately 500 fortunate individuals in Brasília had the unique opportunity to witness a special concert by Paul McCartney, reminiscent of the legendary Cavern Club where the Beatles first captivated audiences in the 1960s in Liverpool. On Tuesday (Nov. 28), McCartney, along with select members of his Got Back tour in Brazil, took the stage at the iconic Clube do Choro concert hall in Brasília.
The concert served as an unexpected gift to the residents of the Federal District. A limited batch of tickets was sold for BRL 200 by the promoter, while a few dozen more were generously distributed free of charge to eager attendees hoping to witness what many consider one of the most historic performances ever held in the Brazilian federal capital.
Public servant Ellen Pozzebom described the experience as "historic and unexpected." She stumbled upon news of the performance while at the beauty salon and impulsively decided to attend, resulting in a serendipitous encounter with an intimate Paul McCartney concert—for free. "It was the luckiest thing of my life," she exclaimed as she exited the Clube do Choro.
Described as a "megashow in a soft format" by her, the performance featured significant interaction between McCartney and the audience, with acoustics that differed markedly from larger-scale shows.
Musician Diogo Vanelli left the venue feeling privileged to witness his idol in a Brazilian setting, noting a profound connection between the Clube do Choro and the Cavern Club. "It felt like I was welcoming him into my home," he remarked.
Events professional and composer Adalberto Rabello shared a similar sentiment. “There was a clear blend of universes between the Cavern Club and Clube do Choro. It was fascinating to experience it without the structure of larger-scale shows,” he conveyed to Agência Brasil.
The choice of Clube do Choro was no coincidence. Despite having a scheduled concert for next Thursday (Nov. 30) at the grand Arena BRB, a stadium worthy of rock stars, where he himself played in 2014, McCartney opted to acknowledge the tradition of Clube do Choro. Upon learning about the venue's significance in the city's music scene, he decided to honor it by transforming it into an English pub for a single night.
The prevailing sentiment among those leaving the performance was one of closeness and intimacy. Even those who arrived late, like Lucas Nobre, attested to the exceptional positioning that allowed everyone to fully engage with the show. Nobre emphasized the “remarkable interaction and intimacy between the audience and the artist”, recalling McCartney expressing in good Portuguese, "show de bola" (awesome) after the crowd joined in singing during the performance of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.
Despite a fractured vertebra and at the age of 79, Elza Coelho, a retired teacher from the American School of Brasília, made it a point to attend the show. She described the experience as a nostalgic journey, reliving her youth when she first heard the Beatles on the radio. Hearing McCartney sing was very special for her.
Outside the concert hall
Outside the concert hall, approximately a hundred people, while unable to be inside, could still hear the muffled sounds echoing from within the Clube do Choro.
"The frustration of not being inside was eventually eased by the opportunity to listen to the music from the lawn, in this place so rich in meaning for Brasília, and especially for me, as I frequently visit Clube do Choro," said 50-year-old civil servant Luciano Maduro.
Jorge Brasil, a musician from Duo Mandrágora, recognized McCartney's initiative as a testament to his friendliness. Despite not securing one of the extra tickets distributed for free, Brasil praised McCartney's character and considered him a “spectacular person.”
Clube do Choro concert hall
The “temple” of choro or chorinho, a genre of Brazilian popular music, was founded in 1977 in Brasília by musicians who met at the home of Brazilian-born French flutist Odete Ernest Dias.
Today, in a building designed by Oscar Niemeyer, Clube do Choro also houses the Raphael Rabello Choro School—the first of its kind in the country. Over a thousand students learn various musical instruments such as cavaquinho, mandolin, tambourine, guitar, saxophone, flute, accordion, harmonica, and violin.
Translation: Mário Nunes - Edition: Marcelo Brandão