Sunday, July 12, 2020
The tour begins
Continuing one with the story of the American girls that followed Wings on the 1973 UK tour as found in the fanzine called "McCartney Lovers and Friends" from Summer 1973.
May 11th started the tour. Ann and I decided to get rid of the car and enlist ourselves on the British Rail. I'm not exactly a whiz at maps and Sarah decided it would make her nervous if I followed her, so to avoid missing out on half the concerts and risking our lives, we decided to leave the driving to the train conductors. Oh, the night before, on May 10th "James Paul McCartney" was on. We stayed at the Park Court Hotel that night so we could see it. (You'd think for $14.00 each you'd get a color TV, but no...and the place had mice too! We didn't get a view of Hyde Park either. Grrrrr!). Anyway, it was nice seeing the special again -- especially at the end, where we were shocked to find out that instead of singing "Long Tall Sally" he sang "Hi Hi Hi" (which was rather shocking since it was banned here).
We arrived in Bristol. What a weird place. It used to be a big seaport. Lots of sailors. A dirty place. To make matters worse, we stayed in this haunted house. What had happened was Sarah called this guest house and was told that there were no vacancies, and two seconds later the lady changed her mind and said to come over, and maybe they'd have a vacancy when she got there. Sarah just mentioned that there were two girls. When they got there, this weird woman says "ooohhhh..are the other 3 like you too?" There was absolutely no one in the house, and she put them in this weird room on the top of the house. When the rest of us got there, we were the lucky ones who met up with her weirdo husband, who stuck us in a room next to Sarah. It was the type of place where you expected some eerie figure to come out of the wall. There was four different types of wallpaper in each room and he would not give us a key to the room. At first, we decided that he was a vampire but Vickie saw his reflection in a mirror and some of the wallpaper had crosses on it, so that theory was out. I was sure that he was going to lock us up in the rooms and make us prostitutes. When it came time for us to leave for the concert, we found out we'd have to wait 45 minutes for a taxi. Well, the owner decided we didn't have much of a choice. During the ride, he announced that he lost his way, but would soon find it again. the reason he lost his way in his own city was because "I was looking at you..." I just about jumped out the window!
We did get to the Bristol Hippodrome. Before the show, I spoke to the tour manager, Dave, and to make a long story short, he said that we would be able to attend a press conference at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford the next evening - so we were really looking forward to that! The show began with a group called Binsley Schwarz. At first, I thought, "Oh God, if I have to go through this every show, I'll crack up. " but, after a while, they really grew on us. They're a good band - quite popular in England. We became pretty friendly with them and made up nicknames for each one. The funniest thing was the drummer because he looked like our friend, Linda only with short hair. We called him "Mr. Moo" because one night he had a shirt on with the saying "Once in a Blue Moon."
During intermission, they would have a "novelty act" with these two old corny folks and their cute little poodle. It was really a terrible act, with this old woman trying awfully hard to be sexy and her husband wore this toupe and thought he was the greatest performer on earth (we all know he came on after) He would trill everyone by standing up on his wife's stomach and after he performed this great feat, would urge everyone to clap for him (Corny). His wife would come out dressed as a gorilla and attack people in the first few rows and drag up on stage (we got it a few times! How embarrassing!) We went practically crazy after sitting through this 15 times.
Finally, a few minutes after that act, the big moment would come. It's always so hard to put into words the feeling you get at something like this. how can you explain how you felt when he walked out on the stage -- the excitement, how he looked, and how proud you were of him. I'll TRY and tell you how it went -- all the shows were basically the same, so I'll just review this one in detail, and then tell you the special parts in each concert thereafter. Ok? The MC came on and said, "do you want to see Wings?!?!?!" and with that everyone clapped and cheered. Denny Laine walked on and the MC said, "do you know this fella, Denny Laine?" And then the whole group walked out! Paul came on giving the thumbs-up sign and grinning. He must have been awfully nervous, but that soon went away because the audience's reaction was tremendous! Before any word was said, Paul began with "Soily" a fabulous rocker, sort of an introduction song. "Now people gathered here tonight. I Want you to listen to me..." A great song! Straight into "Big Barn Bed", which is so great anyway, but even better in concert. After that Paul said, "Hello Bristol! How are ya?" After Big Barn Bed, Paul would stomp and dance over to Denny's drums, which you all know didn't bother us a bit.
We were in the 7th row, and much to our surprise, Paul really DID spot us and looked over a lot and smiled! Oh, before the show people were warned not to try and take any pictures or tape the show. We all have 35mm cameras and weren't going to use a flash anyway, but this man walked over and told us that no photography was allowed. We really had no intention of listening anyway, but a few minutes later he came back over and said, "Are you the five American girls that came all the way for the tour? Oh! I'm so sorry I told you you couldn't take any pictures. You can take as many as you want!" He kept apologizing. I just couldn't believe the special treatment. We kept hearing people say, "They're the ones -- going through the whole tour non-stop!"
Anyway, Paul sang "When the Night" and then said they were going to do a song off one of their old LPs -- "Wild Life". They used a blue spotlight and the stage was dark. HE sang it slower. Denny would then introduce Linda's song, "Seaside Woman," explaining that it was the first song she ever wrote and to give her some encouragement and sing along. They used bright yellow lights and Paul really bopped around. He really wanted people to join in, but no one knew the song, so it was a bit hard. He jokingly said, "ohhhhh c'mon! You're terrible!" There's a few lines in each verse which go like this, "Papa catches fish from the bottom of the sea, Momma sticks around, she keeps an eye on me. Crazy little mama smile all day. Papa comes home and at night they lay.. Ohhhhhhh seaside woman..." During the middle of the tour, Paul added aline which he spoke. I couldn't catch onto it too well, but he would say something and end it with "I only want to be with you." So, after that, Linda would get up from the piano and Paul would sit down. He'd drink water and say, "cheers!" He used to make a lot of nice little comments like "Sure is hot up here.." Then, if you remember the special, Paul sang "Little Woman Love" and then "C-Moon" (which everyone went crazy over) and then back to "Little Woman Love."
Then he would introduce "Live and Let Die" by saying it was the music he wrote for the new James Bond film and then he'd shoot up in the air with both hands and go "boom boom". If you think the record is great, you should hear and see it in concert. Amazing! They had psychedelic lighting during the fast chorus and it was really wild. Linda and Henry would dance and carry on while Paul pounded away. The lights made everything look like it was in slow motion and it was really cool. Every time I hear that song, I have a mental vision of those lights flashing on Paul's face, and Linda running across the stage in slow motion. by the way, at the end of the song, Paul didn't let it drift off like on the single -- he'd pause, and then there'd be a rousing one last boom on the piano. It was fantastic! Then Paul would do "My Love". He say something like this, "OK, now if there are any couples in the audience, you can kind of snug, cuddle up to this song..." Naturally, Henry, the big joker would make a couple comments or someone in the audience would make a remark and everyone laughed for a while. Then Paul would say, "It's called 'my Love.'" This, too, was remarkable! Then into "Maybe I'm Amazed." Beautiful. Paul was so proud -- really...
Then he'd introduce Denny Laine, who then sat down at the piano. Henry sang his little song, "There was a wee man and he had a wooden leg..."Then, Denny sang "Go Now." Fabulous, naturally. It was strange to hear Paul on that song. Denny is really talented. Then, Denny would sing "Saw you don't mind." I love this song and I hope they'll put it on one of their LPs -- it's really fantastic! During this, Paul would share the mike with Henry. Henry is a real character. He's really funny. Before Denny did this song, Paul would say, "You've been a good audience, you've sat there and enjoyed yourselves. But if you feel like clapping or shaking your bums a little big, then please do so." After Denny's song, Paul would again urge everyone to get up and believe me they did for "The Mess." This was my favorite part of the concert. Paul would really sweat this number out and there was not one person sitting down. Everyone was up clapping and dancing and having a great time! Then he'd introduce "Hi Hi Hi" by saying the song was banned. He thought because he heard it was "dirty." Everyone would go "ooooohhhhhh!!!!" and when he started that number, people went absolutely berserk! Paul would end the number and then wave and walk off stage. The audience would go CRAZY, thumping and stamping their feet, yelling, "more, more, more!" over and over. IT was too much. Paul would come back out and do "Long Tall Sally" as an encore, and then say "Thanks" and walk off again. Well, 99% of the time that just wasn't enough for the people and he'd have to come out again and say how great everyone was "I love you all!" and then explain that they had no more numbers to do, and they'd see everyone "next time." When Paul set out to give everyone a good evening out, he gave them a good evening out!
After the show, everyone was waiting outside the stage door. It was like 1964 again -- really scary. We were so nervous about what would happen when he came out. The bus was waiting for him, but then pulled away. The police were there, but no one would leave. The bus, by the way, wasn't the same one they had last year, rather a rented Valient Silverline bus. Then, a photographer told us that he was going to come out the front. Thank God there weren't too many people that knew that. But when he did come out, it was bad enough. I nearly turned gray within two seconds. Those animals literally attacked him. Pulled his hair, yanked at his jacket, screamed, and yelled. All I could do was say, "Oh God, please don't hurt him!" Paul didn't seem to mind all that much, but it really scared me to death. I just can't stand people treating him like that. Meanwhile, Paul got on the bus and sat on the left side. I was in such a rage. I could have killed all those people. Then it dawned on me that I should go over to the left and see him. There was about 7 people there, including Ann -- it as nice because he just sat there and waved at them for five minutes. Naturally, I missed most of it because I was too busy turning gray on the other side, but fortunately, he continued to ham it up for a while longer, waving and giving the thumbs-up sign. I stood away from the people, alone. When the bus took off, I waved and he waved back at me -- then he realized it was me! He took a double-take and looked back at me and gave the nicest smile and little wave, so I was extremely happy about that.
Meanwhile, we had to go back to the haunted house. The two girls next door froze to death in their room, and we scared each other to death by discussing what we thought was wrong with the house. We ended up staying up until 3, left the lights on, put a chair up against the door and all slept in the same bed. We were never so glad to leave a place as we were to leave Bristol! Now, onto Oxford. This was a big place -- for the press. There was only going to be one press conference and it was going to be that night. Luckily for us, we had front row seats! IT was really fantastic, being right in the center-right within his line of vision. He gave us a lot of nice looks and smiles and once winked and kind of waved. It was only the beginning of the great evening for me....