Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wings across the east coast

I have been following the stories of a group of fans who traveled around in the spring of 1976, going to Wings concerts and meeting John through several issues of MacLen magazine.  I recently bought the October 1976 issue and it has more of the story.  This part isn't as exciting as the other parts, but I might as well post it anyhow.   In case you missed the first parts, they are linked within the story.   In reading this story of the 1976 Wings concert, it made me think that the feelings you get at a Paul McCartney concert has not changed over the years.  If you didn't know the date this was written, you might think she had attended a Paul concert this past summer. And with Paul's make-up dates beginning in just a few days, it is fun to read. 

I am not totally sure who wrote this story, but I think it is a girl named Ann. 

With an interesting present backstage in Boston

Jimmy and Paul in Boston

Paul in Boston 1976
Wings forever!!  Linda in NYC '76

Paul in NYC '76

Paul NYC '76

New York May 23-25, 1976

At 8:30 Saturday morning Margie and I were up, packed and ready to board a train that would take us to Boston and to Paul’s concert.  We were lucky to get tickets for that night’s concert.   Through telephone calls between Tempy and us, we were informed that we would meet her at the train station, who would then take us to their apartment.  We also found out that two other friends were going to the concert and that they would be on the train.

At 10:35 we boarded the train, very nervous and extremely excited.  We knew this time we would see the whole concert without fear of being crushed.  This concert wasn’t general admission so we were assured seats.

Once on the train, Margie and I began looking through all the cars.  When we spotted Peggy S. and Marina S., we sat down in front of them.  The rest of the “normal” people in the same car must have thought that we were a bunch of loonies.  All we did for the three hour train ride was talk and show pics of the Beatles.  Margie thought she was a little outnumbered bring surrounded by three Macca-maniacs, her being a John fan.

At around 1:00 we arrived in Boston, met Tempy and walked to her and Deb’s apartment.  Later that day we were to meet some more friends, but until then we all made ourselves comfortable and day-dreamed about the even that was to happen that night.

At around 4:00, people began to arrive at the apartment the  Cincy Gang --- Barb C., Kay P., Stephanie G., Sue F., Kathy S,. and the Boston people Penn S., Tina and Patti G., George T., plus the Cleveland gang:  Pat S. Joy K., Marla R., and Kris S.  Imagine a tiny apartment with about 14 people in it who all had a certain man on their minds.  The conversations were funny and wild.  I thought to myself – what a completely different situation from what happened in Largo.

At around 5:00 we decided that it was time to leave.  The moment was finally here.  We all piled into the famous van and we were off to the Boston Gardens.  After quickly finding a parking space, we all piled out and ran to the ramp where Paul was to drive up in the limousines.  We waited nervous as hell and more people began to arrive.  Standing there I started to hear various conversations from other fans of when they saw Paul.  That didn’t help the nervous feeling in our stomachs; in fact it only made us worse.  As the words hit me -- “He’s arriving,” I tensed and as the limo drove by us, I saw a glimpse of him sitting in the back seat.  As I was doing, Margie was also straining to see him.  He was so close but yet so far away.  Cheers broke out and stopped as he disappeared into the arena.  We all knew that we wouldn’t see him again until the concert so we all walked over to a nearby McDonalds.  Margie and I ate our usual and sat down to gobble it up.  Inside we saw another friend, Lyndsey V., and we chatted for awhile.

An hour later we decided to get back to the arena and wait until the doors would open.  The scene inside the lobby was like a miniature Largo.  Everyone was pushing to get closer to the doors.  Margie and I had our tickets held tightly in our hands. We were ready along with everyone else.  We found out that Peggy and Marina would be sitting with us and once the doors opened, we found our seats.  Again poor Margie found herself surrounded by Macca-maniacs.  Kathy let Margie borrow her binoculars and I had my brothers, so we could see the stage beautifully. 

 At 8:15 the lights dimmed and the cheers were deafening.  Everyone was standing up and clapping.  We had our binoculars ready as Paul came on stage.  He was gorgeous.  Margie and I kept nudging each other, we couldn’t believe it.  The binoculars brought him up so close it was like he was standing right in front of us.  Flashbulbs were being fired and the whole place was lit up.  The crowd was welcoming Paul with open arms.  You could feel the electricity that was being bounced off of him and everyone.   You could tell he loved it too and gave us exactly what he wanted.  With each song he rocked, moved and bounced along.  He was fantastic.  And when he sang “Yesterday,” the crowd soaked up each and every note.    It was the only time the audience was quiet.  It was like a historical moment which everyone wanted to plant in their minds.  When the song ended, the audience went crazy.  We all stood up and clapped, cheered, whistled and Paul loved it.  He threw his hands up and smiled.  The biggest smile I have ever seen.   It was beautiful.  It made you cry for yourself and for him.  With the final number, “Band on the Run” almost for yourself and for him.  With the final number, “Band on the Run” almost over, Margie and I knew it was the end.  Only two more songs and then we would have to wait to see him in New York.  (But Paul only did one encore).  After he finished “Band on the Run” someone threw a shoe at Paul and it hit him on the shoulder.  Being the professional that he is, he amused everyone by putting it up to his nose and made a face as if to say “Phew this stinks.”  It was so cute; we ate it up – Paul’s expression not the shoe.  Then suddenly out of the wings, this guy came up and grabbed Paul’s hand.  He kept shaking it and screaming into the microphone how much he loved Paul and how fantastic he was.  Paul was taken by surprise and reacted to the situation by yelling back, “Yes I love you too.”  He had a quizzical look on his face as to say “Who is this guy?”  Several guards then came on stage and escorted the man off.  Paul walked off.  The crowd wanted him back and cheered, clapped and lit matches and lighters to let him know that.  It was deafening and lasted a good 4-5 minutes.  With a final cheer Paul came back on stage and played “Hi Hi Hi.”  We danced, clapped and with the end of the song, Paul walked off again.  The audience reacted the same way by Paul didn’t return.   The lights went on.  Margie and I just stood there.  I wanted him to come back on.  As the crowd started to file out Margie and I talked about the concert – how beautiful Paul was and now good it was.  The electricity was still flowing.  How to turn it off?  That was impossible.

We all met back at the ramp and waited for Paul to come out.   We were told that he wasn’t going to come out there so we ran to the doors in the back of the arena.  As we got there we saw several limos, a lot of guards and even more fans.  This was it.  Paul would come out this exit.  Were we to be surprised.   After waiting quite a while, a limo drove off.  Was it a decoy to get us away or was it really Paul?  Those questions kept going through our minds.  We decided to stay.  We later found out that the limo was for Paul.  He left from a different exit.  What we did see though were some of the members from the band.  We were so mad for missing him.   

We left Boston Gardens about an hour later and went back to the apartment for much needed sleep.  Sunday would bring us closer to New York City and Paul.

Sunday morning found us up early, a good breakfast at a Howard Johnson’s and into the van for a six hour ride to New York City.  There was Margie and I, The Cincy Gang, Tempy and George T.
We arrived in New York City at around 6:30 Sunday evening.  After checking into the Statler Hilton, we all piled into the van to go to the famous Stanhope Hotel.  What happened that evening has been writtenup in an article which appeared in a previous newsletter.  I met Paul along with everyone else butMargie, Kathy and George.  I won’t’ gointo it again. 

Monday it was up early.  Margie left to go to the Dakota with Kathy S.  I came there later that afternoon and what happened to us will always be remembered.  We met John for the first time.  This adventure was also written in a previous newsletter.  

After John left us, we piled into a taxi and went to the Stanhope.  A lot of people had the same idea as us so we found ourselves among approximately 30 fans.  We all knew that Paul would eb out between 5-7 o’clock so we planted ourselves near the front of the hotel and waited.  The majority of the people were going to Paul’s concert that night, so the conversations were about that.

At around 5:30, the staff from the hotel started to get fidgety.  Paul was in the lobby.  His limo was out front, ready to leave.  Suddenly this big man pushed open the front door with Paul right in back of him.  The crowd surged forward and immediately surrounded Paul.  There were screams and cheers.   Paul’s name was shouted.  Paul was quickly pushed into the limo.  All I remembered was seeing his beautiful face when he first came out.  He looked surprised to see us all and he loved what was happening.  As the limo pulled out of sight we decided to go find a place to eat near Madison Square Garden.  In a few more hours, we would be seeing Paul on stage again.

After eating a rushed down meal, Margie and I made our way for the Garden’s entrance.  Mulling through the crowd outside we heard scalpers selling tickets and people selling t-shirts. People were lining up to go inside.  The electricity was beginning to flow again.  New York was ready to receive Paul McCartney.

Once inside we were ushered t our seats where we were greet by Vicki McCartney.  She got us our tickets for the two nights.  Madison Square Garden has always amazed me by its size.  When the place is filled by clapping, whistling people the grandeur of this immense place comes through even more.  As the lights dimmed, everyone was up out of their seats, cheering and when the spotlight hit Paul in the beginning of Venus and Mars, the cheers grew even louder.   The electricity and response was amazing.  The audience was ready for Paul and he was ready for them.  Again he gave us what we all wanted.  Despite a few technical problems, Paul’s performance was fantastic.  He rocked through every song and sang a completed version of Yesterday.  I my opinion, Paul seemed to be a bit nervous throughout the show though.  He gave the audience everything he could but he wasn’t as loose as he was in Boston.  

After finishing “Band on the Run”, Paul left the stage.  The audience clapped and stomped so hard that you could feel the arena shaking and the cheering got louder when he came back on stage and did “Hi Hi Hi.”  Leaving the stage, the audience again cheered.  Firecrackers, cherry-bombs and other assorted fireworks went off.  Matches and lighters were lit and suddenly smoke started to come up from behind the drum set.  With flashbulbs going off, Paul came back on stage to do “Soily.”  Margie and I were at this point totally mesmerized by the show.  We wanted to hear “Soily” so bad and when Paul started the song our appreciation was screamed from our lungs.  The song was fantastic along with the smoke and laser beam.  We love it!

With a good-bye from Paul, the show was over.  Again we just remained in our seats.   It was beautiful.  He was beautiful.  Oh god I don’t believe it.  Leaving the Garden, we went back to the hotel.  After everyone was in the room, we each told each other our impressions of the concert.  And our dreams were of that beautiful event also.

Tuesday Margie and I were up early and we went to the Dakotas again.  After seeing John getting into a taxi, we decided to go back to the Stanhope Hotel.  Again we piled into a taxi along with Karen B. of Delaware.   Upon arriving at the hotel we again waited.  There were more people waiting for Paul.  In fact, the crowd grew so much that the hotel called the police.   Shortly afterwards, a patty wagon and several policemen drove up equipped with riot helmets and billy clubs.  It was humorous to see that but yet it angered me a little.  We weren’t going to tear the place down to see Paul.  In fact, we weren’t that troublesome.  It was like they were expecting 500 people to rush the hotel.
This time Paul was late in leaving.  At around 6:30 Paul came out of the hotel along with his body guard.  People surged forward and Paul was actually pushed to the awaiting limo.  At one point I saw him clearly in front of me and I touched his arm.  From what I could see, he was wearing a shiny jacket somewhat like his “Macca” jacket.  He was gorgeous.  After his limo pulled out of sight, I met Margie again who informed me she saw him too.  We rambled on ad on of how good he looked.
We left the hotel to find ourselves treated to a good meal by Sue F. and Kathy S.  After eating, we split and Margie and I took a cab to the Garden.  We were getting excited but all we kept thinking was that it would be our last time seeing him.  We wanted tonight’s concert to come but then again we didn’t because we knew it would be over soon.

We were dropped off at the entrance to the Garden and quickly got in line.  After finding our seats, we waited for the concert to begin.  At around 8:20, it started and the audience reaction was the same as Monday.  But Paul seemed different.  He was rocking more, bouncing more, especially during Silly Love Songs.  I’ll never forget how he danced completely across the stage, really getting into the song.  He made you dance with him.  Paul gave us everything he could that night.
With the ending of “Soily,” Paul gave us a quick wave, said goodbye and disappeared form the stage.  It was over.  It was all over, from Maryland to New York.  Excitement was replaced by al ittle depression.  When would we see him again?

As Margie and I boarded the train home we kept thinking of all the concerts, of Paul and how fantastic he was.  We thought of John too and of how we met him.  We thought of each song and how it was performed.  Our thoughts kept bouncing around from one thing to another.  It was the month of May and we would never forget the events that took place and the happiness we felt.  Who would?

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