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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.

Paul McCartney is seen in concert in 2011.

Newscom/File

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Paul McCartney experienced 9/11 through the window of a jet plane on the tarmac of New York's JFK airport.

He was on his way back to England after a visit to America, he recalled for reporters on Thursday.

"But out of the window on the right side of the airplane you could see the twin towers," he said. "You could see one plume of smoke. Then you could see two, shortly thereafter. And I said, 'That's just an optical illusion.'"

It wasn't, of course. The plane McCartney was on, like every other, was grounded. And before long, he was trying to think of how to respond to the attacks, and what he could do to help.

The result was a "Concert for New York," which McCartney helped organize. He was joined onstage a few weeks later by David Bowie, Elton John, Billy Joel and many others for the event at Madison Square Garden, which served as a benefit for the city while celebrating its resiliency in a time of crisis.

That 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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