Here is part 3 of the Wings in Holland story from Beatles Unlimited from March 1976. In this section, the BU Crew are at the concert and telling what happened. Apparently, they are not fans of Linda's singing.
Sitting In the Stand Of The Sports Arena
The show was due at 20.00 hours, so at half-past seven we walked into the Ahoy Sports Palace, and with the house lights on we could take a close look at the impressive equipment Wings had on stage.
The cruel, sadistic, mean, vicious security men of Acket-Mojo (the agency that promoted this gig) were already flocking together in front of the stage ad telling any photographer with a flash to watch out as flashing was not allowed during the show.
We were glad to notice Paul’s bodyguard Koos right in front of Paul’s place on the stage. He apparently seemed to be in charge of this gang of bouncers, but he knew us and had a nice chat with us once again.
As our seats had not such a favourable position as promised (some 20 metres away from the stage) we decided to sit in the aisle right in front of the stage and stay there for the rest of the show. At ten past eight the moment was finally there: the house lights went down and the electronic score-board of Ahoy read “Paul McCartney and Wings.”
There they were: Paul in black trousers and silk yellow and black jacket, Linda in what seemed to be an undergarment that had been put together in the wrong way, Denny in a white suit, and Jimmy and Joe in unpretentious clothes.
Tuning of guitars, plunk-plunk, and some deep bass notes – boom boom – then the intro of “Venus and Mars” with Linda on synthesizer. When Paul started singing the first line the audience cheered and clapped loudly. As on record, this song went straight into “Rockshow.” Paul seemed to be a little bit hoarse but that didn’t matter. The band was really cooking. Paul’s bass was very prominent and those deep sounds went right through your body. “Rockshow” went into “Jet” without pause. Loud cheers again. Paul crooning as if he were 22 instead of 33. “Yeah yeah yeah” he screamed into the mic. The harmonies were not always as tight as on record (Linda?), but it sounded great, it sounded real!
“Thank you, how are you doing? Alright?” Paul said after this long first number. Then the intro of “Let me Roll it.” Paul’s voice had a lot of echo, but his voice didn’t sound half as much like John Lennon’s compared to the record-version. After the first chorus, something seemed to go wrong, for Paul looked angrily at Jimmy and Denny, and the latter walked to the mike grinning and said “That was different.”
The brass section sounded very good in this song. Denny introduced the next song: “Rotterdam, nice to see you again. This is a song from Venus and Mars and it’s called ‘Spirits of Ancient Egypt.’”
Followed by the first alteration of the programme as compared to the British and Australian tour: Medicine Jar,” in the other tours played in the third part of the show. Jimmy introduced it as an “a song I wrote” and they rocked away with some great guitar-solos by Jimmy.
Paul went to the piano and went into “Maybe I’m Amazed” with Jimmy beautifully soloing around Paul’s original solo. Paul sounded a bit “husky” again, but sang very soulfully. Denny whispered some indistinguishable words into the mic and introduced “Call me Back Again.” Paul switched from bass to piano again and said, “Listen, if anyone wants to clap their hands or stomp, or…here’s a good tune to do it to.”
And the audience went completely berserk as they heard the song “Lady Madonna”. Beatlemania revived around me and in me. The Beatleiest Beatle singing “Lady Madonna.” After the song the people shouted and stamped until the band did a small encore of the last bit.
Jimmy, who had played bass on “Lady Madonna” stayed on bass for the next song, again a Beatle song: “The Long and Winding Road.” Again, thunderous reactions from the audience. Although Wings are a very good band. It is clear that the majority of the audience had come to hear the old Beatles songs, sung by the mast himself. “Like to hand you over to my wife over here, Linda,” Paul said after this beautiful song. Loud cheers. “Thank you very much,” Linda said. “This next song I guess you all know. It’s from the James Bond movie. It’s called ‘Live and Let Die.’” This song was truly one of the highlights of the show. Not only was it a perfect rendition, but the show element was also very prominent: smoke bombs exploded perfectly time and in that fast instrumental interlude the stage lights went out and a stroboscope lighted the group. Denny (on bass this time) made all sorts of movements, which gave an odd effect. Sometimes it looked like an old silent movie. Great!
The audience got the chance to recover from this spectacle for a few moments, for full stage lights went on and the band exchanged electric instruments for acoustic guitars. Denny sang lead on the first lines of “Picasso’s Last words.” Again the harmonies were not always perfect, but Paul’s showmanship and the musicianship of the rest of the band gave the overall impression of the most professional band I’ve ever seen.
“Drink to me” went straight into “Richard Corey” which still seems an odd choice for Wings, but Denny’s vocal was great and everyone enjoyed it, so why bother?
“Speed of Sound” someone called. “You’re a bit too early,” Denny said. “Hasn’t been released yet!” “Ja ja schon” Linda said, probably trying to speak Dutch, but ended up in German.
“Have you heard a rhythm box?” Paul asked. “This is a rhythm box” and through the huge speaker, you heard a soft Latin-American rhythm. Jimmy joined in on the guitar It was the introduction to “Bluebird.” This version, although again not perfect in the vocals, sounded much better than on the record! Howie played a wonderful solo and got a thunderous ovation for it. “That’s Howie Casey on saxophone!” Paul said. And introducing the next song: “Listen, do you wanna stomp your feet? D’ya wanna do that?” you just clap your hands, stomp your feet, you just rock away.” Skiffle rhythm and cheers from Linda and Denny: it’s ‘I’ve Just Seen a Face,’ the oldest Beatle-song in the show together with “Yesterday”. Denny played the solo on twelve-string guitar, standing up from his chair, Jimmy played bass on this one, while Joe came back to add a bit of drums.
The band left Paul alone on the stage who exchanged his twelve-string acoustic for a six-string acoustic, played a few riffs, and went into “Blackbird.” After the first verse, someone broke the silence with a loud scream, followed by other loonies who started clapping along And Paul the eternal crowd-pleaser even joined in by stamping his feet, which altogether ruined this beautiful song. Enormous crowd reaction again, Paul strumming his guitar a bit, saying “Thank you!”
Then the long-awaited highlight of the evening: “Tell you what, see if you remember this one.” The first chords of “Yesterday” followed by the first line caused an indescribable roaring ovation of the 8000 in the hall. Paul was appropriately accompanied by a string ensemble (a keyboard sounded like lots of violins) and the horn section A beautiful song, and as far as I’m concerned, the show might have ended here.
But the show must go on and the band returned. Pau went to the piano playing the intro of “You gave me the answer,” getting what sounded like a rather luke-warm applause after the reactions to “Yesterday” and “I’ve Just Seen a Face.” The horn section played the parts just like on the LP, which made this rendition almost perfect, but for me, the spirit seemed to have disappeared.
“Are you having a good time anyway?” Paul asked the audience. Of course, we did. Then Denny introduced the next song “Magneto and Titanium Man” a good clap-along song.
Paul stayed behind the piano for the next song, which was received with loud applause: “A song for the lovers in the audience. I hope there’s lots of you out there, alright?” and then he sang “And when I go away….” It was “My Love.” Jimmy again HAD to play the solo Henry McCullough HAD to play on the original record, but he improvised some nice licks around this solo. And although Paul’s introduction to the solo “O.K. Jim” sounded sympathetic, it would not do Jimmy much harm if he had the freedom to play his own solos, he is very capable of that, I’m sure.
The next three songs were actually the most interesting for those who knew the British and Australian concerts, for here were three new songs from “Wings at The Speed of Sound,” put together in one block. The songs they replaced were “Junior’s Farm” “Go Now” and the “C’moon/Little Woman Love” medley.
“We like to do a couple of tunes now, from our new LP. And its’ call, the LP is called “Wings at the Speed of Sound” and uh this here tune is called “Let ‘em in.” Paul said. And there was the ding-dong bell, just like on the new LP. The song was played well and especially the horns sounded very good, with Tony on trombone and Stevie on flute. For the show-effect Denny played drum-band tympani, which was inaudible at the back of the hall. I heard from people who sat at the back, not strange since Denny was not standing near a mic. But close to the stage you could hear him drum a military-like rhythm.
Paul came from behind the piano and took up the bass again. “This one’s from the new album. Wanna shake your bum?” Paul murmured, “Get up and let’s see you.” Linda shouted, “This one’s call ‘Silly Love Songs’” Paul said and off they went with a very prominent bass-sound. After the song Paul and Linda urged the audience to stand up and dance. Denny introduced the next song as “Beware my love” and at last there was some real action in front of the stage. The bodyguards had to allow the people a bit closer to the stage and dance to the rocking “Beware my love.”
It was strange to see the two groups you could divide the audience in: people of over 20 or even 30, obviously the “original” Beatle-fans, but also many teenagers, the new Wings fans. But it didn’t matter, everybody was shaking now, old or young. Jimmy was almost pressing his wah-wah pedal through the floor. Joe almost broke his ticks and Denny played a great rock n roll piano.
The Paul introduced the horn section: “First of all, starting first on the left over there we have Mr. Thaddeus Richard (Dixieland Sounds). And then coming this way from the banks of the Mersey in Liverpool we got Howie Casey (Rawhide western tune). And then swinging to our right a bit, we have from Texas, the one and only Slow Steve Howard (Thirties music and a low ‘Thank You.’). And then last but not least we have Mr. Tony Dorsey! (church-bells). OK we’re gonna play a little tune which is entitled “Letting Go.” Jimmy played a great guitar again on this one, unfortunately, Linda was not capable of a controlled vocal (again…). The next song “Listen to What the Man Said” was played a bit too fast but Thaddeus’ soprano-sax and Linda’s synthesizer sounded great.
“Listen, we got one more song, so thank you, you’re a nice audience, Rrrrrrrrotterdam” Paul said while Jimmy was fooling around in the back playing “Blackbird.” The last song was “Band on the Run.” Alas Linda sang out of tune again, but things got better as the song got faster. There was a nice film projected on the screen behind the band, first showing the cover-photo of “Band on the Run,” which later had the people on the picture moving. IT was just a short film of the photo-session for the LP.
“See you, thank you, bye bye” Paul shouted after finishing “Band on the Run,” but everyone knew that after a few minutes of clapping and “more more more” the band would return. And yes, there they were “Do you wanna rock a bit” and Jimmy played the slide-guitar intro of “Hi Hi Hi.”
Again, the band left for the dressing room but returned some minutes later for another encore. “Alright you got on more,” the Maestro said. That song was the expected “Soiley,” a very heavy rocker and a great closer for the concert.
Although the house lights didn’t go on, the audience didn’t massively ask for more, but the preservers knew Paul would return with flowers if they kept shouting after a few minutes the clapping, stamping and shouting got louder again and finally the group returned: “We haven’t got any more songs, but we got some flowers. We’ll see you next time!” And they threw flowers and pictures into the excited audience.
The end of a very memorable concert, great music, great show. But I must say one thing: although Linda turned out to be a very charming woman, who acts very natural to the fans, I still don’t’ understand why she is in this band. Especially her singing is below par. Sorry, but it’s true.