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There was thunder, there was rain, but the music still rang loud and true over Kiev on Saturday night, when Sir Paul McCartney played what is being billed as the largest concert ever held in the Ukraine.

The former Beatle – who turns 66 next week – opened with his 1965 song “Drive My Car” in front of 350,000 people who turned up in the city’s Independence Square. The venue was the site of the Orange Revolution in 2004, when peaceful mass protests overturned a fraudulent election and brought a pro-Western opposition leader to power, and the concert reminded attendees of their freedom.

Although the concert was free, organizers asked for donations to be put towards diagnostic equipment for Ukraine’s National Cancer Institute’s children’s department. Many children now seek treatment abroad because the Ukraine lacks the necessary equipment. Contributions have already reached $600,000, with more to come in.

The concert follows a similar concert by Elton John in the city last year which raised awareness for the country’s AIDS problem.

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