It was the Internet equivalent of the Fab Four playing Shea Stadium: In the minutes leading up to Paul McCartney's web chat this afternoon, fans went crazy posting praise for the legendary rocker. The Beatle was taking time out from rehearsals for his ongoing Up and Coming Tour — which kicks off its next leg with a 60,000-capacity gig in Mexico City on May 27th — to answer questions from die-hard fans around the world. In the moments before his online arrival, a feed of ecstatic comments updated at a dizzying pace. As one of the more than 4,000 international fans who logged on noted, "Oh God! 8 minutos!!"
Once McCartney appeared onscreen (from his studio in Sussex, England), he was chatty, jokey and warm, answering queries that ranged from the legitimate to the ridiculous. Some revelations: McCartney's favorite book is Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickelby ("It's long but I really love it!"), he is hoping to expand his current tour to include stops in Toronto later this year ("That would be a nice positive answer!"), and the only Mexican instrument he knows how to play is a Mariachi bass.
McCartney also took time to urge fans to purchase the upcoming reissue of Wings' Band on the Run, which hits stores in August. "When you actually listen to them, like I did the other day at Abbey Road, the clarity is so good!" he enthused. And he hinted at the possibility of a performance at the White House. "There's been some rumors and I think we can give you a clue," he said. "Think white house. Think playing, white house. If there is an announcement mentioning the White House remember where you heard it first."
Some hard-core devotees posed legitimately interesting questions: If the Beatle were to create an instrument, what would it sound like? "It would consist of one long string and you'd hit it with a twig," he said, before making the high-pitched warbly sound of the hypothetical instrument. But there were plenty of wild and crazy queries: Where do you buy your milk from? Do you listen to Justin Bieber? Will you come to my wedding? Boxers or briefs?
The whole chat lasted nearly a half-hour and when McCartney logged off he was gracious to the fans who joined in: "Thank you to all around the world for sending in the messages. They're really pouring in!"