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McCartney dedicates song to church victims

Paul McCartney has dedicated a Beatles ballad to the victims of the Charleston church shootings as he voiced hope for peace among races.

The former Beatle enjoyed a rapturous welcome by thousands on Friday night as he played the Firefly Music Festival in the eastern US state of Delaware.

Early in a two-and-a-half-hour set on a steamy night, McCartney played The Long and Winding Road - the melancholy 1970 song that spoke of The Beatles' breakup - in tribute to the nine African Americans gunned down at a historic Charleston, South Carolina church by a suspected white supremacist.

McCartney called on the momentarily hushed audience to "take a moment to pray for peace and harmony among the people of different colours."

He returned to the theme with The Beatles' Blackbird, with its call to "take these broken wings and learn to fly".

McCartney recalled that he recorded Blackbird in 1968 as he looked at racial tensions engulfing the United States and added: "It has echoes today."

McCartney also dedicated songs to his late bandmates John Lennon and George Harrison and played a cover of "Foxy Lady" by Jimi Hendrix, as he spoke fondly of his time with the late guitar visionary.

McCartney, sweaty but with unmistakable stamina, turned 73 on Thursday. He was starting the latest US leg of his "Out There" global tour that opened more than two years ago.

Some 90,000 people are attending this year's four-day event in Delaware, the first time Firefly has sold out.

AAP

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