McCartney recalls fear after 9/11, says music heals

British pop star Paul McCartney performs on stage alongside other artists at "The Concert for New York City" held at Madison Square Gardens on October 20, 2001 in New York.

Paul McCartney on Thursday recalled the shock and fear that engulfed New York in the aftermath of the Sept 11 attacks and what he called the magical power of music in helping to heal those wounds.

Speaking ahead of the television broadcast of his 9/11 documentary “The Love We Make”, the former Beatle said that the concert he helped organize after the attacks was one of the most worthwhile moments of his career.

Shot in black and white, “The Love We Make” chronicles McCartney’s personal journey in the devastated city immediately after the attacks on the World Trade Center, and preparations for the “Concert for 9/11″ six weeks later.

It will be broadcast on cable channel Showtime on September 10 as part of a slew of U.S. television programs marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

“The whole mood of the world, of America and New York had changed. There was fear in the air and I had never experienced that in New York,” McCartney told television journalists gathered in Los Angeles for a bi-annual meeting of critics.

McCartney said he organized the concert in a bid to help New York let out the fear. “We were emerging from the fearfulness of the immediate impact, and now you were seeing the emotion releasing through music — it’s one of the reasons I am in music.”

“It was a great feeling. We actually felt like we were doing a bit of good,” he said of the concert.

McCartney was on a plane on the tarmac in New York on the morning of September 11, 2001 which was grounded when hijacked planes were flown into the World Trade Center towers. He spent the next few days stranded on Long Island and immediately came up with the idea of staging a concert for the city.

McCartney said he was a big believer in the transformative powers of music. “I have come to the conclusion that it is magical…One of the things I am most proud of is that I have lucked out and am in a profession like this that can help heal and help people get in touch with their emotions.”

The documentary features footage of McCartney rehearsing for the concert, talking with New Yorkers on city streets and backstage. The film features the likes of David Bowie, Mick Jagger, former President Bill Clinton, Leonardo DiCaprio and many others.

McCartney said he had done nothing with the original footage for years, until the 10th anniversary of 9/11 began to loom. “The documentary was reawakened by the anniversary,” he said.


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