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Paul McCartney 9/11 concert in a Showtime film

Paul McCartney: The 9/11 concert now serves as the framework for a new film, "The Love We Make." Directed by legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, it captures McCartney's firsthand observations of 9/11 as well as concert performances and backstage preparations.

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"So I got in touch with Albert, and asked him, 'Is it still all round? Would it make a good film?' And I said, 'Come on, let's do it, then.' We were reawakened by the 10th anniversary."

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McCartney had worked with Albert Maysles and his brother and longtime partner David (who died in 1987) nearly four decades earlier. The brothers, who were pioneers in the cinema verite style of filmmaking all the Beatles admired, had proposed making a documentary about the Fab Four when they first arrived in America in 1964.

McCartney said he and his band mates asked the brothers, "What do you want us to do?"

The Maysles' reply: "We want you to just ignore us."

"We thought that was the best piece of direction we'd ever received," McCartney recalled, and when he hit on the idea of a film centered on the 9/11 concert, he said he asked Albert Maysles, then 74, "Will you just do it all again? I'll ignore you again."

"The Love We Make" reflects Maysles' signature black-and-white style and fly-on-the-wall unobtrusiveness.

"Albert has this great way of hiding," said McCartney, who spoke with satisfaction of his own lack of guardedness in the presence of Maysles' camera.

"There are backstage moments that are very intimate," he said. "I'm talking to Bill (Clinton) as if he's an old friend, forgetting that he was the president of America. And the guys in the Who — again, it's very intimate."

McCartney recalled that, just after 9/11, "there was fear in the air. I had never experienced that, particularly in New York, and this was where the idea of doing a show came about."

By Oct. 20, when the concert took place, "we were emerging from the fearfulness of the immediate impact," and in the audience "you were seeing the emotion releasing through music. ... We actually felt like we were doing a bit of good."

McCartney said the concert exemplifies his theory that "music can really be healing."

"I've lucked out to be in a profession where I can actually help heal, let people get in touch with their emotions," while, at the same time, he gets in touch with his.

"It's a magical thing. And I do mean that. People say, 'You believe in magic?' I really do. I have to."

McCartney said he thinks back to the early days of the Beatles, and those memories "are etched in my mind."

But he finds life, and music-making, better than ever at age 69.

"Whereas I would expect to have been jaded by now, it actually seems new every time I do it," he said, just hours before his Cincinnati performance, part of his On the Run tour. "It has become probably more exciting that ever for me."

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