Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Paul McCartney returned to where it all began for The Beatles by performing at the Cavern Club in Liverpool on Thursday afternoon.

When the 76-year-old took to the stage in the famous venue on Mathew Street, some of the lucky fans were in tears.

Opening the show, McCartney said: "Liverpool. Cavern. Those are words that go together well."

Fans had been told to turn their phones off as they entered the gig, but McCartney also paused mid-song to ask them to stop taking photos.

"It's, like, putting me off and I don't want to get put off," he said.

The Cavern Club is credited as being the birthplace of the Fab Four, who played there in their early years, before they signed to Parlophone records and the planet went Beatle crazy.

The cellar bar, which is now located on the other side of the road to where the original venue once stood, last played host to McCartney in 1999.

"I can't come back here, to Liverpool but to the Cavern particularly, without flashing back to some of the early days when the group was just started really and this was the big gig," McCartney told the crowd on Thursday.

"I was standing there, to my left John and to my right George and Pete Best and then Ringo. It was like magic.

"The truth is, when Ringo joined, the first time he played with us, I remember looking at John and George and saying, 'What?' because it really changed things, it made everything come together.

"Here's to them. Let's hear it for John and George." 

Fans outside The Cavern on Thursday

The former Beatle dropped a hint about the gig in his home city during a Q&A session on Wednesday at his old school, now the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (Lipa).

He told Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, who was hosting the event: "We are playing the Echo Arena in December but the thing is we also have, tomorrow, we have a little secret gig somewhere in Liverpool."

During the session, held in an auditorium named after McCartney, he paid tribute to his bandmates when asked about the best musicians he had ever worked with.

He said: "Out of all the ones I've worked with it would be the fellow Beatles. It would be John, who was pretty cool, and George and Ringo.

"Having worked with John so one-on-one I got to see his brilliance before the world did."

After taking questions from students at Lipa - the performing arts school was founded by McCartney - he performed a set onstage with his band.