Thursday, July 13, 2017

McCartney Wings His way home (part 1)

In 1979, a group of American Wings fans flew to England and followed Paul McCartney and his group around the UK for the small tour.   They wrote about it for the Fall/Winter 1979-80 issue of the McCartney Observer.     There is a lot of information about this tour from this fanzine and so I am going to share it one concert at a time.     

I think this story was written by Marie, but I am not 100% sure because no one is given credit.   It all starts in Liverpool.

McCartney Wings His Way Home
By Marie?
McCartney Observer
Fall/Winter 1979/1980

Liverpool, November 23, 1979
First note:  The people are SO nice.  Every time I’m up in Liverpool, I’m ready to move there.  The people are incredible.   We found the Royal Court Theatre (almost directly across the road from the Lime Street Station) and passed the time away chatting with the people and making friends with the police.   The show was scheduled to begin at 5pm as it was held for the kids form Paul’s old school (Liverpool Institute) as well as for handicapped and blind children from the area (they came in busloads later!)

Paul with some of the school kids 

We queued up and were told that our vouchers (which we got from MPL) would be exchanged for tickets at 3:30.  We also heard that Paul was already inside the theatre, having arrived at 1:00 (apparently, he had been rehearsing there for a few days).  We did get our tickets at 4:00, and had first row balcony.  The stall seats were reserved for the kids.  Still, the balcony was great because the theatre was so tiny (It wasn’t much bigger than an American movie theatre).  We met some other friends from the States (and Canada), Jennie S., Madeleine S., and Laurie R.   We were all in the same row for the show that night.  We made another new friend, Martin, (who was sitting next to me and is forever immortal on my tape of the show) and he told me that he heard the band rehearsing and that Paul was going to do “Let it Be,”  “Fool on the Hill,”  “Back in the USSR” and “Hey Jude”!!!  We were on pins and needles waiting for him to do “Hey Jude,” but he never did that one.
Before Paul came on stage, I honestly felt as though I was dreaming – a feeling I am sure we all had – but I was really feeling it because I had had less than four hours sleep in the last two days.  However, when everyone started cheering and clapping for the show to begin, my heart began to race and I wondered what he was going to sing, what he was going to wear, how he’d look.

When the curtains finally rose, and the horn section began playing a very dramatic entrance, I thought I’d jump right out of my seat from the anticipation.  The stage was still dark when Steve Holly began playing a very familiar beat, and out emerged the man himself to surmounting cheers and screams.  “I was alone, I took a ride, I didn’t know what I could find there…”  The three of us just grabbed each other’s hands.  It was incredible to hear him do “Got to Get you into my Life” as an opening number and even more surprises were to follow.  I recall not taking any photographs during the first number.   I was totally mesmerized and felt so happy.  He wore a long-tailed 1800’s style black frock jacket, a black tee-shirt, nice blue jeans and tan suede boots.  His hair was a little short, but grew to a nice length during the next two week that we saw him.  The rest of the band (including Linda) wore the same outfit.  He swung right into “Getting closer”, and then asks the audience “how are ya doin’?  It’s good to be back in town anyway.  This next one is called ‘Every night.’”  (In the concerts that followed the announced “the next one is from the McCartney album, and it’s called “Every Night.”)  That was a real shocker, totally unexpected.  It is a slightly slower, more soulful version than on the original record.  The simplicity of the shows reminded me so much of the 1973 tour, no special effects (aside from Christmas trees and snow during ‘Wonderful Christmastime’), just down to earth enjoyment, and only 90 minutes this time.  Quite a contrast to the 1975-76 world tour!  Next follows “Again and Again and Again,”  “I’ve had enough,”  (which he always announced with a cockney accent), “Now Words,” and then (get ready) “Cook of the House.”   It wasn’t a complete loss, because Paul always went over to Linda (who was on keyboards) and shook his bum.  So, I can honestly say that we looked forward to hearing that tune.  Linda’s voice was really deep, and she kept yelling out “Rock on Tommy!” in a fake Liverpudlian accent (It’s a Liverpudlian expression).  Paul once said, “In case you’re wondering, that’s my wife.  She used to be American, but some funny things have happened to her since she came over.”   Next came another favorite of ours, “Old Siam Sir.”  Not only is it’s a great rocker, but the movements that man made during this song had to be seen to be appreciated.   First it reminded us of a “Frankenstein” walk, and he’d put both fists in the air to the beat of the drums in time.  He perfected it to a very sexy dance.

After “Old Siam Sir” the piano was wheeled out, Paul sits and put his “tails” over the bench and begins the famous “Maybe I’m Amazed” which he has performed in every concert since he began touring again.  With the audience still applauding “Maybe I’m amazed,” Paul says, See if you remember this one” and begins the notes we all first heard during “Magical Mystery tour”  As he sat there at the piano, I visualized that beautiful film of “Fool on the Hill” from Magical Mystery tour – the close-up of his face,  the lovely scenery, Paul running down the hill, a nice feeling of peacefulness – fantastic.   A definite highlight of the show, with another highlight to follow.  Denny tells us that a religious number is coming up and that they are going to pass the basket around for offerings.   Paul does “Let it Be”  (goosebumps) and gives the tune a bit of a gospel flavoring.   He goes back to the center of the stage, and now comes another surprise, “Hot as Sun”, New Orleans style.  Paul with a pic in his mouth, making cute expressions, raising his eyebrows, scrunching his nose, and as Doylene would say, “he was a rabbit completely!”  “Spin it on” follows and then Paul announces a number original recorded in 1957 by Eddie Cochran, “Twenty Flight Rock.”  It was incredible to see Paul do his Elvis imitation during this rocker.  The piano was wheeled out once again and Denny shows us that he is a potential Olympic champion by running full speed from the opposite side of the stage and leaping over the piano, rolling over the bench, and then casually sitting down.   A perfect introduction for “Go Now.”  Afterwards, Paul joins Denny to do “Arrow Through Me.”  During the show, Paul would ask the audience to cheer the famous “woah-woah-woah-woah-woah!!” (as only he can do it) and after we all did (great fun) he’d say, “just checking.”  He asked the kids, “How do you like it, it’s better than school, isn’t it?”  Paul now joins Linda at the synthesizer and Linda announces their new Christmas single “Wonderful Christmastime”  accompanied by falling snow (which Paul referred to as dandruff) and Christmas tree and lights!  Very enjoyable during the concert.  One night all the “dandruff” came down at one time and fell on top of poor Lawrence.  Paul goes to the front of the stage again and announces a new single to be released in February, “Coming Up,” which is very good and very catchy.  Some of the words are as follows:  “You want a love to last forever, one that will never fade away.  I know you’re searching for an answer, well I can tell you right now babe, it’s coming up….”

Paul then announces a new friend, “Robo” who is a cute little robot, and Paul explains that “Robo” is in fact a rhythm box who needs precise, gentle tuning and “would you please excuse me for just a minute while I go tune him…”  He casually walks over and gives “Robo” a good kick!  “Robo” starts the disco beat for “Goodnight Tonight,” moving his arms up and down to the beat.  I personally never cared much for the song, but it is fantastic in concert and easily became one of my favorites.  Everyone jumps up, dancing and clapping.  You can’t help but have a good time and sing along, “don’t say it, don’t say it, don’t say goodnight tonight…”  But Paul does say “goodnight” and runs off the stage.

Paul emerges for the first encore alone (waving a blue towel) and picks up an acoustic guitar.  It’s not hard to guess what follows…”Oh Maggie, Maggie Mae!” “No? Well, see if you remember this one…Yesterday….”  There’s not a dry eye in the house when all the kids join in.  Another emotional highlight was when he sang “Mull of Kintyre,” which he dedicated to “Blip” (his old school master who was in the audience).   The entire audience reacted as though “Mull of Kintyre” was their national anthem!  The kids joined in right away and they sounded just like a choir.  It was incredibly beautiful, and a moment I’ll never forget. They even had a bagpiper up there, dressed in full highlands garb, and Paul and Denny would dance and lift their guitars up to him.  (We later found out that he wasn’t playing the bagpipes, it was Lawrence on the synthesizer).  The second and final encore was “Band on the Run” and by now the house was up on its feet and at the stage (or fighting to get to it anyway).  The spotlights are on the audience as the band chants, “Band on the run, Band on the run…”  You can’t believe it’s over so quickly but 90 minutes has already passed – the curtains go down and the house lights are turned on  (we were all spoiled by the 1975-76 world tour and it’s 2 ½ hour show!)  Outside at the stage door was the waiting tour bus, and the waiting mob.  We managed to see Paul leave, but only from a distance.

Doylene, Susie and I stayed with friends in Birkenhead (on the other side of the Mersey).  The children were fascinated by us because we were so “foreign” (to them).  Our friends relaly helped us because we couldn’t possibly have afforded five days in a hotel in Liverpool

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