McCartney fans everywhere rejoiced when Paul announced plans for his
1989 - 90 World Tour. McCartney fever overtook the media who announced that this
would be Paul's first series of live gigs since Wings celebrated 1975 - 76 World Tour.
Say Say Say what! The pundits seemed to forget that Wings undertook
a nineteen date tour of the United Kingdom in the Winter of 1979. What you have in
your hands is evidence of that forgotten tour, a complete chronicle of Wings performance
at the Apollo Theatre in Glasgow, Scotland on December 17, 1979.
After the Christmas holidays, the group reconvened for a charity
performance, The Concerts For The People Of Kampuchea, highlights of which round
out this package. Rehearsals for the upcoming Japanese dates followed, as plans for
American and European legs were set into motion all to go up the the proverbial puff of
But back to the performances at hand. Following the immensely
successful Wings Over The World Tour, Paul and Co. entered the studio, and
commenced sessions for a new album. Over a year later, and following the departure
of guitarist Jimmy McCulloch and drummer Joe English, London Town hit the racks.
Replacements were found in a pair of unknown British studio musicians.
The first to be contacted was drummer Steve Holly, who had made the
acquaintance of Denny Laine through musician/actor David Essex. Fresh off of
sessions with Elton John, Holly's first appearance with Wings was in the video for
"With A Little Luck." Lead guitarist Lawrence Juber was added following
auditions held in the basement of MPL headquarters. Like Holly, Juber's first public
appearance with the group was in a promotional film, this time for the rocking "I've
A tour to promote London Town took a backseat to Paul's desire to
spend time with his new son James, and the need to record and rehearse with the new Wings
lineup. Sessions for Back To The Egg began in the summer of 1978,
culminating with the release of the album in early June, 1979. Despite lukewarm
reviews and lackluster sales, Paul felt there was still plenty of life in Back To The
Egg to warrant a heavy promotional push from the concert stage. Rehearsals
started shortly after Buddy Holly Week, during which Paul, Linda, and Denny Laine made a
brief appearance onstage the the Crickets at the Hammersmith Odeon.
Tickets for the tour went on sale in early November and sold out rapidly
as most of the venues were of a minimal capacity. The set itself was also scaled
down, running just over an hour and a half. There was little duplication of material
from the previous tour, resulting in an interesting collection of material from the new
LP, a handful of Beatles numbers, hits from Wings and a few obscurities. Most
notable was the previously unreleased "Coming Up," which originated from a
series of solo McCartney sessions that summer. In fact, it was the performance from
Glasgow that was released as the B-side of "Coming Up" in April, 1980. The
live version was so popular in the States, that radio programmers opted to air it in lieu
of the gimmicky studio track.
The tour opened with a benefit concert for the Liverpool Institute on
November 23, 1979 at the Royal Court theatre in Liverpool. This was indeed the same
institution that was restored and re-christened over fifteen years later as the Liverpool
Institute For The Performing Arts; LIPA for short. The tour continued for just over
a month, with no variations in the set list. It was this, the final performance of
the official itinerary that was committed to tape, and according to those involved, it was
the best show of the tour. An unsatisfactory performance at the aforementioned The
Concerts For The People Of Kampuchea followed, and would in retrospect, be
rationalized by Paul as his reason for taking a ten year vacation from touring.
The 1979 UK dates undoubtedly featured the most interesting and eclectic
set list since Wings' 1972 European Tour. It offered a different perspective of
McCartney's talents, by not relying heavily on the hits of yore. It proved to be his
last attempt to distance himself and emphasize his merits as a solo performer, quite the
opposite of the McCartney of today, ever anxious to reinforce his place in Beatle history.