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Paul McCartney returns to Liverpool's Cavern Club for surprise gig

Rather than the stadiums and arenas to which the former Beatle is accustomed, the venue holds just 350 people.
Image: FILE PHOTO: Paul McCartney performs during the "One on One" tour concert in Porto Alegre
Paul McCartney performs in Brazil last year.Diego Vara / Reuters file

LONDON — Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney plays such big gigs that even if you get a ticket you'll probably have to watch him through binoculars.

So it was unsurprising that he sparked a frenzy Thursday by treating a very, very select group of fans to a rare, symbolic and altogether more intimate experience.

McCartney, 76, played a surprise show at the Cavern Club, a cramped cellar venue in Liverpool where the Fab Four made their name more than 50 years ago. He announced the gig via Twitter.

Fans of Paul McCartney make their way inside the Cavern Club as the singer plays a one0off gig at the legendary venue on Thursday in Liverpool, England.Richard Martin-Roberts / Getty Images

In comparison to the stadiums and arenas to which McCartney is accustomed — around 184,000 people watched him perform in Rio de Janeiro in 1990 — the club holds just 350 people.

The club was crammed to nearly full capacity during McCartney's performance, The Guardian reported, and the singer interspersed his songs with cheeky banter and earnest sentiment

And during a rendition of "Twenty Flight Rock," he stopped to admonish attendees recording on mobile phones.

"It's purrin' me off," McCartney said, according to The Guardian.

Tickets were handed out "on a first-come, first-served basis" from 10 a.m. local time (5 a.m. ET) and the concert was due to start at 2 p.m. (9 a.m. ET).

"Space is EXTREMELY limited!" his account tweeted.

The Beatles first played at the Cavern while they were still making their name in 1961.

The original club closed in 1973 and was eventually knocked down. The bricks were saved and used to build the venue that now stands in its place.

Earlier this week, McCartney was filmed visiting another historic Beatles site, walking across the pedestrian crossing the group made famous on their “Abbey Road” album cover.

Last month, he joined James Corden for a spot of “Carpool Karaoke” on "The Late Late Show" on CBS.

The pair sang a selection of hits including “Let It Be” and, of course, “Baby You Can Drive My Car.”

Reuters contributed.