HALIFAX, N.S. – The premier of Nova Scotia busted out a ’70s-style wig and did his best Beatles saunter across a Halifax street on Wednesday to drum up enthusiasm for a concert on Saturday by pop icon Paul McCartney.
Premier Darrell Dexter and Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly re-created the iconic Abbey Road album cover in anticipation of the concert on the Halifax Common – McCartney’s only Canadian performance this year.
Dexter, 52, said he was pleased to take part in the event, even if it meant wearing a wig.
“When you get into these jobs you never know where it’s going to take you,” he said. “It’s a bit of fun for the concert. It’s designed to help promote what’s a very big event for the city and the province.”
Kelly said he was trying to showcase the city as well as boost tourism.
“It’s good exposure for the concert,” he said.
Dexter played Ringo Starr while the mayor went barefoot as McCartney. Members of a Beatles tribute band, Abbey Road, rounded out the foursome.
The premier described the Abbey Road album as a “theatrical production” at the time.
“It was part of building the mystery of what the Beatles were,” he said of the famous photograph. “That’s what was playing on the jukebox every day. There is a bit of nostalgia (here) as well.”
Neighbours dropped by to take pictures and Beatles tunes blasted from a strategically placed silver Volkswagen Beetle, which was given same licence plate number as the car that appeared on the original cover. When the album first came out, there was speculation about the symbolism behind the image.
Posing at a crosswalk, the would-be rock stars tried to re-create the scene as accurately as possible, right down to foot placement and a cigarette in ‘Paul’s’ hand.
The mayor was quick to point out that the cigarette was fake and actually made of bubble gum. “It’s not smokable but it is chewable.”
Kelly joked he might resemble McCartney, “if you really stretch it.”
Dexter said he’s been a fan of the Beatles all his life but never imagined McCartney would come to Halifax.
He said he hoped he was chosen as Ringo because he is one of the band members who is still alive. Though he declined to sing, he did reminisce about owning one of Ringo’s records.
Dexter said there are no plans to stage a similar event when KISS plays on the Halifax Common next week.
“I think I’ll stay a long way away from that one,” he said.