The Paul McCartney World Tour



"Ephemeral in their dimensions of time, space and sound, mobile in venues as far afield as Wembley, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, made under direction by a team of painters in hired studios, these rolled translucent canvasses, some three stories high, defy the traditional boundaries of stage sets or paintings – they are closer to a transient and nomadic architecture." – Norman Foster

Brian Clarke first made his set designs for The Paul McCartney World Tour as scale designs in acrylic and collage, his signature grid and amorphic elements cut by hand, with the full-size stage sets executed by set painters on first on canvas and on acoustically transparent scrim. The tour, McCartney's first under his own name, played to 2,843,297 people between '89 and '90, and promoted the album Flowers in the Dirt, for which Clarke had designed the cover in collaboration with Linda McCartney. The paintings were at the time Clarke's largest ever, superseded a few years later by his painted sets for McCartney's The New World Tour (1993).

"A dramatic example of the versatility of Brian Clarke's skill can be found in his execution of the stage sets for Paul McCartney's world tour. The rock (and folk) concerts of the 60s were multimedia 'events', and the interplay of light and sound were inducements to the loss of self in transcendent ecstasy, a modern Dionysian rite. In his world tour (1989-1990) Paul McCartney recreates the concept of the light show, but introduces an architectonic element in the form of the huge stage sets created by Clarke: "The stage design is a first for me. Paul and Linda conceived the whole as a real art event.""  Paul Beldock in the essay Into Architecture, from the book Brian Clarke: Into and Out of Architecture.