Phoenix, Paul McCartney Play Surprise High School Concerts

Here’s a trend that I can’t imagine anyone getting pissed off about: Star musicians playing unannounced shows for high-school kids. Rappers have been doing things like this for a long time: special shows for kids with perfect attendance in disadvantaged areas, or for the one high school in a poor district that had the highest average test scores. And in the past week, a couple of massive pop acts have gotten in on it, as well, with both Paul McCartney and Phoenix playing surprise shows in a couple of different American high schools. (And sure, they were both performing for media outlets as much as they were for kids, but still.)

As Rolling Stone reports, McCartney played yesterday for 500 students at Frank Sinatra School For The Arts, a performing-arts school in Astoria, Queens that Tony Bennett founded. Bennett was on hand to watch the show, where McCartney played a bunch of solo songs, as well as Beatles classics, and took questions from kids in the audience and from New York rock-radio DJ Jim Kerr. The show was filmed for iHeartRadio, and it’ll stream at Yahoo next Monday. You can see the setlist here.

Meanwhile, the Austin radio station KUT reports that Phoenix played a secret show for 450 students with perfect attendance at Anderson High School. The show wasn’t, strictly speaking, some extracurricular benefit. It was for the PBS show Live From The Artists Den, and the gym was so small that it could only accommodate a fraction of the school’s 2,000 students. Kids were reportedly psyched.

Next up: Katy Perry, who may play at Verrado High School in Buckeye, Arizona, as ABC reports. Perry put out a call for students to perform versions of her song “Roar,” and students made a video for the song that starred Megan Squire, a girl with Down syndrome who’s on the school’s cheerleading squad. If Verrado High School wins the contest (which, let’s be honest, how is Verrado High School not going to win the contest), Perry will perform there 10/25, and Good Morning America will broadcast it.