Monday, September 14, 2020

Wings in Fort Worth (1976)

This story written by the sweet Doylene was from the May/June issue of McCartney Ltd. 

Paul's long-awaited American tour, finally got underway May 3rd in Ft. Worth, Texas, and I'm sure that everyone who caught any of his shows will agree with me that it was well worth the wait.  It had been a long time (10 years!) since any tour had created such excitement or received so much coverage from the press and it must've been a very sweet success to Paul after the long, hard battle he'd fought to have Wings accepted. 

We (Cindy, Marry Ann, and I) arrive din Ft Worth at 2am on the morning of the 3rd and were met at the airport by George, Barb, and Joanna who took us by the hotel where the band was staying (in Dallas) and then drove us back to our motel in Ft. Worth.  After a few hours of sleep, we were off to the Community Center and were later joined there by Madeline (fresh back from the European tour!) and a group of girls from Ohio and Indiana.  As time passed the anticipation of seeing him again began to build steadily so that by the time he arrived with Linda and the kids in a large red car (yes, he was driving!) the knees were more than a little ready to tremble!  My first thought was that I'd never seen him look so good.  He was wearing the same shirt he had on when he posed for the photo with me in Glasgow and his faced was so tan.  He also looked thinner (not that he was at all heavy before) which became even more apparent when we saw him in concert and his hair was neatly layered and shiny.  As I said, he'd never looked better.  He looked so happy, too and I honestly think he went slowly on purpose so that people could take photos which I proceeded to do when he was right in front of me.  

After he pulled in, everyone was having the typical reaction -- ear to ear grins that couldn't be wiped away and knees that had forgotten how to hold themselves steady.   It is absolutely incredible what that man can do to people by just being in their presence. A girl later said in Kansas City that he was one of God's chose people and I truly believe that.  We passed the time until the concert by trying to eat and then made our way back to the TCCC.  Luckily, Cindy, Mary Ann, and I were able to swap our original $8.75 tickets for $9.75 ones in the loge so after the doors were opened we were all set to enjoy Paul's triumphant opening night.  I really had no idea how much more exciting his U.S. shows were going to be, as compared to his British ones.  I wouldn't have thought it was possible but I guess maybe it had a lot to do with this being the first time Paul and the American audience had had to get off on each other in 10 years!  The anticipation was incredible!  Paul played that hand tot he fullest, too by walking out onto a darkened stage so that it was just that much longer before people could see him.  

Then a dim light, smoke, and bubbles encircled him as he began the opening cars of "Venus and Mars" but it wasn't until "Rock Show" that the bright stage lights came on so that he could be clearly seen.  But once again, it was worth the wait.  He had on black satin pants with a matching black and white satin waist-length jacket which was definitely a vast improvement over the British tour outfit.  The lighting for several songs also proved to be a lot classier.  The first he spoke to the audience was after "Jet" where he came out with a hearty "Howdy Texas!" in his best Texan accent.  Then he went directly into "Let me Roll it" which he needed with two consecutive "Oh yeah's" said in the distinctive McCartney style, of course.

Then he continued on with "Now I'll hand you over to, ah, this is Denny Laine here"  (at which point Denny chimed in with "Hi, how are you Dallas?) "and this is Spirits of Ancient Egypt."  The end bit on this song was particularly good with Paul really getting into his bass.  Next Pau;l turned introductions over to Jimmy with "This is Jimmy" and Jimmy finished it with "Howdy! Nice to be here after the delay.  We're gonna carry on with a song I wrote off Venus and Mars, It's Medicine Jar."  This number went down really well with the crowd as always and after it as over Jimmy announced, "We're going to switch here.  Paul's gonna go on piano."  and then he said hello to the people up back.  Settled at the piano Paul went into a beautiful rendition of "Maybe I'm Amazed" with the painting of a candle used as a backdrop.  He received tremendous applause for that one and then announced his next song "Call me BAck Again" as being off the Venus and Mars LP (at later concerts he usually added that it had been recorded in New Orleans).  It was usually around this song that he threw in a lot of "alright, alright" said in that same voice used as the intro to "Listen to what the man said" on the LP.  

The first Beatles song of the evening was introduced by Paul with, "Listen if anyone feels like having a stomp around or urge to surge...I'd like to hear you clapping your hands or doing something similar.  It's an old tune, this one."  Not unexpectedly the familiar opening bars of "Lady Madonna" brought a great round of applause from the crowd who continued clap along throughout the song -- which finished once, then went into again to the delight of everyone there.  Then he slowed down the tempo and went into the hauntingly beautiful "Long and Winding Road."  (which he usually introduced "Now that we've speeded you up, we'll slow you down" but he let it go without intro on this first night.  I don't think the flawless voice he displays on this song could ever be equaled by any other performer.  Next, Paul turned us over to Linda with "I'll turn you over to my Mrs. now."  (later in the tour adding "and friend.") to introduce the next song -- take it, girl."   Linda carried on with "This next one was written for a British citizen #007, it's called 'Live and Let Die.'.  As everyone knows who read any of the press clippings or been to any shows this song was the show stopper as far as stage theatrics were concerned.  The end of the first verse was met by explosions which were followed by strobe lights and climaxed again with explosions.  This was the thing the American audience, in particular, seemed to really go for.  So with this song, he managed to satisfy that taste without ever having to sacrifice the music because of it. yes, for this tour had thought of everything. 

After the excitement of the last number, there had to be a change of pace so it was here Paul announced, "This is where we have a sit-down and play our acoustic guitars awhile."    "Picasso's Last Words" and "Richard Cory" passed without introduction, then for "Blue Bird" came the so familiar "Does anybody know what a rhythm box is?"  (by now it's a household word) to which he added, "Well, this is it" as the rhythms began.  Next "I've Just Seen a Face" which he   brought  on with "Anyone fancy a stomp?"  Then finally there was "Blackbird" and "Yesterday"-- always the sentimental moments of the evening.  As "Yesterday" was ending I heard a guy behind me exclaiming "Oh God that was beautiful" which pretty much summed up the feelings of everyone as they stood to give him a ten-minute ovation.  If I remember right he held the guitar above his head and flowers were thrown to him -- if not the first night it certainly occurred on most following nights.  The next song was "You Gave Me The Answer" which Paul almost always dedicated to Fred Astaire (or Gene Autrey as in Atlanta and Tucson) but he went straight into it without intros in Ft. Worth.  This is one song where the new lighting was really dramatic, the whole area below the piano, and Paul flashed on like a red theatre marque with yellow lights outlining.  

Denny introduced the following song "Magneto" by saying "This next one is from Venus and Mars and it's all about some comic book characters you grew up with" and alikeness of them was used as a backdrop.  "Magneto" was followed by "My Love" with Paul, "Listen, we want to do a song for all the lovers in the audience -- I've think we've got a few here tonight!"  with him added a "Wo! Let me hear you say Wo."  Listen to What the Man Said with Paul saying, "Let me hear you clapping and stomping to this one."  He usually introduced the latter by saying it was one you could shake your bums to but he was a bit subdued this first night I guess.  After the song was over Paul paused to say, "As a lot of you probably know this is the first night of our tour."  (mucho applause) so listen I wanna tell you were just having a good time, you know?  So we hope you are too!"  "Let 'em in" was next with Paul saying,  "A tune from our new album "Speed of Sound."  It was almost unbelievable the way the sound of the record was duplicated on stage for this one -- from door chimes to the marching snare drum that Denny carried onto the stage.  ?At this point, Paul took up the bass again and Denny introduced "Time to Hid" by saying, "This is another one from the sam record -- whatever you call it -- it's s song which I wrote."  I really, really loved this one in concert.  It was exhilarating and it was a real joy to watch and listen to Paul's bass playing on it.  He was into it all the way.  Next came "Silly Love Songs" with Jimmy introducing it as "another one from the new album" to which Paul usually added "and our current single."  This turned out to be another real treat.  I'd always thought it was a nice song but I had no idea how exciting it could be in concert.  But, I'll tell you when he started strutting back and forth across the stage whenever there was an instrumental bar the old blood pressure rose another couple degrees!  IT was incredible! now all I needed to totally drive me pas the point of no return was for Paul to launch into "Beware my love" which I decided was my all-time favorite song the first time I heard it.  That's exactly what he proceeded to do, with a "Listen, if any of you feel like getting on your feet and bopping that's okay by us."  Then leave out the first few bars he started right off with the "Wo, wo, wo, no-no, NO!" and I was gone.  I couldn't believe it--one my 30th concert and I still couldn't get used to him or stop the tears from coming to my eyes.  The song kept building, through, too -- it's one of the most climactic songs I've ever heard until, by the end, Paul was just letting out one scream after another.  

Then finally it was over and I could almost breathe again.  It was here that Paul paused to say, "alight, alight, alight, tonight" several times and then went on to say, "I suppose you've noticed these fellas standing in back of us, well, I'd like to introduce them to you," which he proceeded to do starting with Thadeous (when the audience applauded Paul asked for more because Thadeous loved it!), then Howie, Steve (introducing him as the hometown boy) and Tony ("last and sometimes least!").  Then Paul added "They're going to help us do the next song, "Letting Go!"  I still don't mind that song in concert at all, either!  Really so much more dynamic on stage than on record, which is what can be said about ALL Paul's material actually.  Finally, or should I say before we knew it, Paul was saying, "Listen, we're getting near the end of our show, here, so listen, you've been a lovely audience, that's for sure.  It's been a pleasure to play here in Texas, let me tell you."  And with that, they began "Band on the Run" accompanied by the film of them making the cover of the album.  Then they left the stage to thunderous applause which seemed to go on forever.  Finally, they returned for the first encore which was "Hi Hi Hi" and was introduced by Paul with a "Feel like rocking a bit?"  Then they were gone again for another round of seemingly endless applause.  But everyone knew they ere going to return one more time as the house lights were still down and there was eerie green smoke beginning to rise from behind the stage.  The final encore turned out to be "Soily" and the new lighting for it was another addition which was most striking.  After the group returned to the stage, they played a long instrumental intro, and then as the vocals began a beam of light was projected across the total length of the stadium's ceiling and smoke came oozing out over it, making all kinds of marble patterns as it went.  All the lighting was still green except for a red spotlight on Paul.  It was a fantastic concert!  Then the band left the stage for the last time with Paul and Linda being the last to leave as they walked off stage with their arms around each other. 

A couple other points of interest that happened during this concert but that I've forgotten in just with sequence include a guy running up on stage to shake hands with Paul ( I have a movie film of them).  also, there are a lot of sound effects used off and on during the show -- a voice saying "everyone is so suspicious" and a pig grunting!  

After the show, we hung around the theater a bit and finally ran into Sarah, but still being a bit "hungover" from the concert we didn't have much opportunity to communicate intelligently!  We hadn't planned to see the Houston concert, only Ft. Worth.  But after that performance, we KNEW we had to do it.  So I looked up Kay, who had told me she had one extra ticket earlier, bought it, and vowed that we'd find two more tickets and a late flight out of Houston the next day.  With that decided, George took us to the band's hotel again and this time we had something to eat in the restaurant where Joe English, Robert Ellis, and others were dining.  Then it was back to the motel, supposedly to sleep, but someone Mary Ann, Cindy, and I ended up listening to almost the entire tape of the concert so it was quite late before we finally did! 


  1. My wife Bev and I attended that May 3rd show in Fort Worth, which had been postponed from April 8th due to Jimmy McCulloch breaking his finger in Paris a few weeks earlier. It was the first time Paul had stepped onto an American stage since the Beatles' last-ever concert at Candlestick Park ten years before. After the concert, we were on our way back home to Dallas when a car from the band's hotel whizzed by us on the highway. We drove to that hotel and were waiting in the lobby when Denny, Jimmy and Joe were dropped off. I got the three of them to sign my program. Found out that the car that had passed us at high speed on the freeway was carrying Paul and Linda to their rented house in a Dallas suburb. I didn't get to meet Paul and Linda for another 14 years -- backstage in Cleveland, Ohio before the concert there on July 20, 1990. A photo of me and four friends posing backstage with Paul and Linda was up for sale last week on eBay as part of Paul Goresh's collection. Great memories!

  2. think his first love has always been performing live

  3. I'm not sure how I feel about this. It seems that the adulation became so excessive it became addictive for Paul, like another drug in itself almost. Perhaps Paul lacked a sense of self-worth after the breakup fiasco, I don't know. I'm glad people enjoyed themselves but when I see the old footage of the Beatles performing live with just them and their music and their fans without all the stage showiness it makes me feel a little sad. Nothing will replace the magic the Beatles had.

  4. Wow, I had forgotten about the rhythm box on that tour. Those things were around even back then!