Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ger Your Wings!!

Tonight I have a story from the 1976 Wings Over America tour.   It is from the May/June 1976 issue of the Harrison Alliance.   Several fans from this fanzine who lived out on the east coast did a mini-tour of concert dates during the tour and got to see Paul outside his hotel in New York a few times.   The best part for me is when the fan in Boston got on stage.  Funny!   This story was written by Jennie Swenton.

Paul performing in Boston.  Photo:  Blue Packard

Get your Wings!
Jennie Swenton
Just a week and a half after the Philly show we were off again – bound for Boston this time.  The show in Boston was tremendous, the best of of the give I went to.   There’s no doubt that Boston absolutely loves Wings, which of course helped the band put on an even better show.  The excitement was tremendous throughout the show.  We were all up on our chairs for the first three numbers, and many of us were up on our feet at many points through-out the show.  Towards the end of the evening, Patti, Jude and I managed to work our way up front of about the 5th row where I ended up standing on a chair along with two guys, while Jude and Patti squirmed up a couple more rows.  Things were pretty wild by this time.  Someone threw a sneaker up on stage, hitting Paul’s guitar.  Something else flew up on stage and nearly clipped him in the head.  Very close to the end of the show some guy ran up on stage and hugged Paul.  Paul had his back to the guy and the guy hugged him from behind and Paul turned around really surprised, his eyes open wide.  I couldn’t see all that was going on, but I remember seeing Paul shake the guy’s hand.  (Though I must say, to my eyes Paul looked a bit scared through all of this).  Then this fellow grabbed the mike and shouted, “I love Paul McCartney!!  I love this man!”  Paul’s reaction was hysterical – he shrugged his shoulders and with the funniest 
expression on his face, said, “I love him too!”   The band returned for the 1st encore, “Hi Hi Hi” but didn’t come back for “soily,” apparently because things were getting rowdy.  I can’t say I blame them, especially after that fellow got up on stage.  I’m sure he didn’t mean any harm, but when things like that happen it must get rather frightening for the band!

After the gig in Boston it was off for home a day’s stopover in beautiful scenic Terryville, Connecticut (home of the Harrison Alliance).  We left Monday for New York City.  The stay in New York was to turn out much more exciting than we ever imagined.  After we’d arrived in the city and checked into our own hotel, we went up to the Stanhope, where Paul was staying (the rest of the band was at the St. Regis hotel).  We knew he had to come out in late afternoon as he had been arriving at the various arenas around 5 or 6 o’clock.  By late afternoon quite a crowd had gathered, all of us waiting for Paul.  Round about 5:00 Paul’s limo pulled up and “the big moment” was approaching.  I’d never seen Paul close up before, just at the concerts, and had only seen him going by in the limos in Philly and Boston, so this also was something I’d been waiting for a long time for.  I didn’t actually see Paul come out other door but did see  him once he was outside, and his eyes went WIDE open when he saw all the people waiting.  He looked genuinely surprised at how many people were waiting for him.  Blue was off to his side and he recognized her, having seen her in the front row in Boston; he looked at her and gave her a big smile,  stepped back and threw up his hands in surprise.  Then everyone crowded around him as he tried to make his way from the hotel door to the car.  Patti tells me he was looking all around saying “where’s the car?  Where’s the car?” and I know he did look a bit scared.  I was near the edge of the sidewalk and he passed right near me – just a bodyguard between him and me.  Linda was there near him and someone called her name and she turned in my direction.  She really is beautiful; her photos simply don’t do her justice.  The same is true for Paul, 100 times over – I still can’t get over how handsome he is, how dark his hair is and how lovely his eyes are.

After the gig that night we all went up to the Stanhope to wait for Paul and Linda.  Once again there were quite a few of us waiting.  I figured we’d have a long wait, but Paul and Linda arrived at around 1:30am.   Paul looked terrific – very tanned from his vacation in the sun before the tour.  He was all smiles and was wearing the jeans, dark print shirt and brown leather jacket he’d had on that afternoon, as well as a black and white tweed cap (like the one he wore in one of the pics in the “People” article done last year).  There were a lot of people around him near the car but Jude, Patti, Blue and I were near the hotel door.  I was trying to see everything at once, trying to get a really good look at him in the short time it took for him to walk from the car to the hotel.  Just before he opened the door to go in, Jude somehow got in front of him and managed to give him a little kiss on the cheek, and he sort of went “ahh” as he went into the hotel.  We watched Linda and him through the glass door until they went upstairs, then waited for Rose (housekeeper/nanny from their home in London) and bade her goodnight as she left for her hotel.

Both the concerts in New York were terrific – Paul’s voice was a little hoarse the first night but the 2nd night he sounded better.  There were a few technical flaws in the show the first evening but no one really seemed to notice.  The show was being filmed the 2nd night so Paul was hamming it up a bit more than usual.  Wings seem to have an endless amount of energy and they generate such excitement.  I was very glad to see people accept Wings as a unit.

Wednesday (May 26) Paul was leaving New York to move on to Chicago, so we were once again at the Stanhope to try and see him one last time.  We waited there all day, worried that we’d have to leave for home before he came out.  About a half hour before we were to leave, though, Rose arrived, and someone who had been down at the St. Regis told us it looked like the band was about ready to leave there.  Then and there we decided to take a later bus home.  We really didn’t think we’d see him though.  We’d been waiting for so long, and couldn’t believe our luck would hold out for one more time.  It was an agonizing wait, those last couple hours, wondering if he’d come out before we had to go.  After a while all the luggage was brought down and put into a rented van, so we knew it would be soon. 

Finally, Paul came out – in front of him, someone from the tour staff was carrying Mary, and then came Paul carrying Stella.  I didn’t get a very good look at the kids (just the backs of their heads), but Patti and Jude assure me they’re beautiful.  I certainly saw Paul – he looked very good in a pinstripe blue suit with a red carnation in his lapel.  I stood there looking at him and trying to remember his every feature, again marveling at how handsome he really is, realizing this was the last time I’d see him in a long time.  As he put Stella in the car he noticed Linda wasn’t there with him and he was looking around, a concerned look on his face – then he saw her coming and waiting outside the limo until she reached the car, too.  Heather was also there someplace, but with the crowd of people there, I didn’t see her.  Once the whole family was in the car, off they went, with a few people running down the block after them.  Right after they left, we headed towards home; delirious with happiness, knocked out that so much had happened in those three short days. 

photo:  Blue Packard


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