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Paul McCartney Surprises New Yorkers With Afternoon Times Square Show

Holly Bailey, Yahoo News
Maximum Performance

Tune in Monday, October 14 at 6pm PT/9pm ET to see Paul McCartney's Frank Sinatra School of the Arts concert stream EXCLUSIVELY on Yahoo

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photo: Kevin Mzur/WireImage

Emily Allison thought she was in the clear when she quietly walked out of her Manhattan office shortly before 1pm Thursday and made her way a few blocks away to Times Square.

Her destination: A surprise concert from one of the world's most famous rock stars, Paul McCartney. The Beatle had just announced his impromptu gig on Twitter, which then spread through various New York blogs. Allison found out about it on Gothamist.

It was the second surprise stop in New York by the legend, who is in the city to promote his new album, "New," set to be released next Tuesday. The day before, he'd played an unannounced concert for lucky students at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. (Tune in Monday, October 14 at 6pm PT/9pm ET to see that show stream exclusively on Yahoo.)

But when Allison, an accountant, joined several thousand other people already gathered on a plaza near 46th and Broadway, she was surprised to find her boss and several other coworkers — who had apparently sneaked out of the office, too.

"I guess this can't be counted as billable hours," she joked.

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photo: Cassie Carothers

McCartney played his set from the back of a tractor-trailer truck — the tarp rolled up on one side. He arrived onstage several minutes late — to the relief of many who had started to question whether the surprise concert was a hoax.

"OMG! I have never seen a Beatle before!" one woman shrieked as McCartney took the stage.

Nearby, people climbed statues and trampled over freshly planted flowerbeds to get a better look at McCartney. Thousands of iPhones waved in the air, as members of the audience tried to snap physical digital proof that what was happening was really happening.

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photo: Cassie Carothers

McCartney immediately launched into a three-song set of material from the new album — to which one man exclaimed, "New album? Nobody wants to hear that!"

But the crowd stuck with McCartney anyway — bobbing their heads to songs they didn't know. Soon McCartney told the crowd he had to go — the city had given him permission to play for just 15 minutes.

He laughed and added, "Mr. Andy Warhol predicted I would only get 15 minutes of fame."

"But let's do this again tomorrow, OK? No, I am just kidding," McCartney continued. "Just kidding."

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