Newcastle upon Tyne • Sunday, February 13, 1972

ConcertBy Wings • Part of the Wings University Tour
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United Kingdom
Newcastle upon Tyne
Havelock Hall, Newcastle University

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After their first three dates as a live band (on February 910 and 11), Wings had taken a day off on February 12 and had stayed in Scarborough.

On the morning of February 13, they left Scarborough and drove to Durham. As they couldn’t find a place to play there, they went to Newcastle and played at Havelock Hall.

On Sunday we arrived at Newcastle. I’m sorry we had to play to just university students. I’d as soon play to people – people, like the ones we met in the Chinese restaurant.

Linda McCartney – From the “Wings Over Europe” tour book

I couldn’t believe my luck. Paul asked if a spot could be found for his new band, Wings , in the Sunday folk night at the hall. They just turned up out of the blue in a big van full of equipment. We were only too happy to oblige.

Steve Dresser, chairman of Newcastle University’s entertainment committee – From Chronicle Live

That Saturday [Sunday ?] night we couldn’t believe our eyes when Paul, Linda and the kids came out of the Queen Victoria pub on the High Street, where Paul had bought a bottle of whisky. They went into the Chinese restaurant next door to the chippy, where he and Linda talked to us for about 15 minutes while they waited for their meal. He signed autographs for us, which I still have.

18-year-old Ian Armstrong, of Gosforth (in the suburbs of Newcastle) – From Chronicle Live
From Chronicle Live – Paul McCartney and Wings, Newcastle University, February 13, 1972 (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)
From Chronicle Live – Paul McCartney and Wings, Newcastle University, February 13, 1972 (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

They spent the night at Newcastle and would leave the following day to Lancaster. Linda McCartney wrote the following notes in her diary summarizing this day:

Next day…
To Newcastle (no go at Durham)
Castle Lear halls of residence
Small hall 400
good gig. Heather came.
Ian recorded on cassette
Back to hotem modern Gosforth Park
(chinese meal + autographs)
Ian Smith on T.V. Listen to tape of group under auditorium (hotel drawer – “we’re giants”)

Linda McCartney’s diary – From “Wild Life” deluxe edition book, 2018

PAUL McBAGGYPANTS! With his daughter, wife and Wings on a flying Tyneside visit

And so it came to pass that on the thirteenth day of February 1972, Paul McCartney’s magical mystery tour stopped off at Newcastle.

To the 400 students crowded into the small ballroom at Havelock Hall, Castle Leares, last Sunday, it must have seemed a latter-day miracle.

Instead of the usual folk insight, there was McCartney himself on stage, looking anything but a superstar in a pair of baggy brown trousers which must have been thrown out by a circus clown.

With him was wife Linda, shapeless in a long flowered frock, her eight-year-old daughter Heather, and the rest of Wings, blasting out a solid rock sound through a battery of speakers.

Outside was the big Avis truck that had brought the McCartney travelling roadshow north from Notthingham and York, where they played their first unscheduled concerts at colleges last week.

It was a strange, not to say obscure way to launch the live debut of his new band. Speculation has been rife for the past fortnight that some surprise performances were imminent, but McCartney shunded all publicity.

On Sunday, he simply turned up at any prior warning, looking for somewhere to play. The organisers of the Havelock Hall folk night could hardly believe their good luck.

He wanted no fee – just a percentage of the takings at the door – and word of mouth publicity was sufficient to ensure that there was no shortage of customers when he took the stage at 9 pm. They sat on the floor, applauding generously at the end of each number, but above all they were just plain curious.

McCartney himself was boyishly inscrutable, restricting himself to the odd “thank you” but at least he seemed to be enjoying it. At times he swapped places with Linda and took a turn on the electric piano with Denny Laine helping out on vocals and Denny Seiwell making the drums jump.

He refused to explain the motives for these secretive sorties into the provinces and this week his office in London was equally sphinx-like. Clearly, it is experience on the road he is seeking, rather than cash returns, because he could fill the biggest halls in the country if only he would agree to advertise big tour.

When he left Newcastle on Sunday night, all he would say was that his next step would be Scotland, but exactly where was anybody’s guess.

Phillip Crawley – From The Journal, Newcastle, February 17, 1972
From The Journal, Newcastle, February 17, 1972

About the setlist

The exact setlist for this concert (and for most of the concerts of the Wings’ university tour) is unknown. Only two audience recordings surfaced on bootlegs (one for the first concert of the tour, in Nottingham, on February 9, 1971; the other one for the concert in Hull, on February 11, 1971), even if all the concerts had been taped by the band.

The gigs were pretty much the same. We taped them all.

Denny Laine

We didn’t have many songs. To be precise, we had eleven, which – at about three minutes a song – is a 33 minute act. They wanted longer so we repeated things. ‘We’ve had a request to do Lucille. We did it earlier but now we’re gonna do it again for Jenny Babford on the science course’. Whatever. We just repeated things, especially our new single Give Ireland Back to the Irish. The gigs went quite well but it’s funny to look back and realise that we had such little material.

Paul McCartney – From “Wingspan: Paul McCartney’s Band on the Run

The setlists were a mix of new songs, oldies and some blues jams. Paul McCartney made sure to not play any Beatles song. It’s likely the setlist of this concert was similar to this:

Last updated on March 20, 2022

Havelock Hall, Newcastle University

This was the 1st and only concert played at Havelock Hall, Newcastle University.

Too bad, there is no song listed for this concert. If you've been there, help us fill the set list for this concert by writing a comment!

Going further

Wings Live - On tour in the 70s

This is the first detailed study of Paul McCartney's Wings on tour in the 1970s. It covers every single concert from the University Tour of 1972, ending with the abandoned tour of Japan in January 1980. A wide variety of primary sources have been consulted, including all available audio and video recordings; press reviews; fan recollections; newspaper reports and tour programmes.

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Maccazine - Volume 47, Issue 1 - The birth of Wings

"Maccazine is a hard copy magazine (a bound paperback) about Paul McCartney. It is published twice a year. Due to the fact that the Internet has taken over the world and the fact that the latest Paul McCartney news is to be found on hundreds of websites, we have decided to focus on creating an informative paper magazine about Paul McCartney."

"In this issue we take you back to the early days of Paul McCartney’s solo career when he decided to form a new group. With Wings he proved there was life after The Beatles. This Maccazine features a detailed timeline of ‘the birth’ of the band with interesting entries including many new facts and unpublished photos. Follow-up timelines will be published in the upcoming years."

If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.

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