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Sunday, July 9, 1972


Concert • By Wings • Part of the First leg of the Wings Over Europe Tour

Last updated on July 19, 2024


  • Country: France
  • City: Ollioules
  • Location: Centre culturel Chateauvallon


  • Location: Centre culturel Chateauvallon


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Chantez a bit if you know les mots

Paul McCartney

For the first concert of the “Wings Over Europe” tour, Paul McCartney and Wings chose to perform in the small city of Ollioules (located in the South of France near Toulon), with an open-air Greek-style amphitheatre nicknamed Chateauvallon. Most of the press considered this concert as the very first live performance of Paul McCartney since the Beatles last performed in August 1966, forgetting the short unannounced university tour in February 1972.

The audience was composed of 2000 people, most of them holidaying in the area. The ticket price was 20 francs. There was no soundcheck or rehearsal prior to the concert. The concert lasted 95 minutes, with an interlude separated it into two halves.

The setlist didn’t contain a single Beatles song but was a mix of released songs (from “McCartney“, “RAM” and “Wild Life” albums) and unreleased songs (some of the songs, like “1882” and “Best Friend” would only be officially released in 2018). Only seven tracks of this performance are available on bootlegs.

Some books mentioned that “Long Tall Sally” was played as an encore, but according to French magazine EXTRA, only the audience in Arles benefitted from this performance: there was no encore for the other French concerts.

Many journalists were present to cover the event and Paul McCartney played the interview game.

The first question I’d ask you out here in the middle of nowhere, is why did you start here?

Well actually, we wanted to start at, sort of, quite a smallish place to play in. So this is quite a small, out-of-the-way place, but still get quite a reasonable audience.

Paul McCartney – Interview with Michael Wale, July 9, 1972

I want to know that I’m ready if there is a super-critical audience. This is no snub to Britain, but I don’t like going in when I’m not ready. Doing this tour is like playing Hamburg eight hours a day with the Beatles.

Paul McCartney – Interview for The Guardian, July 15, 1972

lf we’d gone back to the States and started to do the big stadiums, and get right back into it, I would have had to be convinced that we could really do it. But the main point is that I don’t want to do it too quickly, I don’t want to do it that it’s all over again. I quite like the idea of doing it steadily, building it step by step.

Paul McCartney – From interview with Sounds Magazine, July 15, 1972

We had no soundcheck, no rehearsal, no nothing, we had to go on “cold” you know?, so I had to warm up a bit – we were very hot second half.

Linda McCartney – Interview with Michael Wale, July 9, 1972

On Sunday July 9, 1972, I was at the outdoor Theatre Antique in Chateau Vallon, France, where Wings made their official debut. After the show I asked Paul “why no British dates?” Paul optimistically replied: “We will play there sometime or other, but not right now. The audiences are very critical in Britain and we’re a new band just starting out – no matter what we’ve been through before. We have to get worked in before doing any big shows in Britain or America.” Paul’s upbeat mood changed when he was asked: “Have you seen your former Beatle mates recently?” Paul bluntly replies: “No, I’ve got no particular reason to, and I don’t really want to. They’re into their things and I’m into mine.”

Linda asked me if I liked reggae to which I replied that I used to dance to ‘007 (Shanty Town)’ by Desmond Dekker at a disco in Ilkley, long before I joined MM. Then we talked about Paul Simon’s ‘Mother And Child Reunion’ and how this would help introduce reggae to the rock world.

Chris Charlesworth – Journalist at Melody Maker – From Just Backdated, April 2014

The next two dates for the tour were still in the South of France, at Juan-les-Pins on July 12, and Arles on July 13.

Chateuvallon’s open-air amphitheatre – From Espaces | Châteauvallon-Liberté, scène nationale (chateauvallon-liberte.fr)

Paul McCartney on tour

Paul McCartney returns to touring on Sunday for the first time since the Beatles’ last appearances in 1966 when he takes his group Wings on a 47-day tour of Europe, writes Ray Connolly. During the tour Wings will play 26 days in nine countries before an estimated 90,000 fans. The group fly from London to Marseille tomorrow where they will pick up a specially-converted and decorated open-top London Transport double-decker bus in which they will tour. At present, no British dates for the group are planned.

From Evening Standard, July 7, 1972
From Evening Standard, July 7, 1972

Paul’s song for Europe

Paul McCartney will give his first European concert since splitting with the Beatles when he appears tonight at the Cultural Centre of Chateauvallon near Toulon, with his new group The Wings and his wife Linda. The one night stand has been sold out.

From Newcastle Journal – Monday 10 July 1972
From Newcastle Journal – Monday 10 July 1972

PAUL McCARTNEY on tour in France

AT TEN O’CLOCK at night two bad-tempered gendarmes in the Village of Chateauvallon, just north of Toulon, decided to stop all traffic from winding up the one-village street into the hills above. It was, they explained, a matter of extreme security. What was happening up there was very important. Two miles walk farther on up a track through pitch black pinewoods, one of the oddest concerts in rock history was being held in a small outdoor amphitheatre. Paul McCartney was back on stage in public for the first time since 1966, when the Beatles gave their last concert in California. After a few secretive warm-ups at British colleges earlier this year he had decided to give the first tour by any ex-Beatle. It will take in obscure venues from France to Finland – but not Britain. So his new band, Wings, had their first airing an front of 2.000 non-hysterical tourists and villagers on a hot night in the South of France.

It was a surprising event simply because it was small-scale and peaceful – the sound mix was rough and the films projected behind the stage were amateur and irrelevant. One of the most important and influential entertainers of the century went out of his way to show that he is really quite straightforward.

He still looked like McCartney, boyish with shorn hair, but the spokesman for the greatest rock group in the world had become leader of a pleasant dance band—at least for that gig. Backstage, he stressed that he was out to enjoy himself and would play anything he felt like – Country and Western, reggae or rock. On stage, he bounded around in front of the microphones, playing attacking bass and musically dominated his wife Linda (Still obviously trying to master organ) and his guitarists.

McCartney, at his best with the Beatles, had a genius for the simple and memorable ; he loved nostalgic and popular song and knew how to transform it. Along with the other British reporters I missed the first Wings set (the usual PR nightmare of promised cars not arriving) but from the hour and a quarter that I did hear, it was clear that Wings were loving popular song, but hardly transforming it. They played anything, just as Paul said, and tackled it head-on. There was a very acceptable version of “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” a blues to show off Henry McCulloch’s guitar, their mawkish hit “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and some pleasing reggae and boogie., But there were few hints here of the best McCartney song writing – with the exception of “Maybe I’m Amazed” from his first solo album, and a hefty final rocker “Hi, Hi, Hi’.

Afterwards, someone whistled “Yesterday”. Of course, Wings made a ridiculous comparison with The Beatles. But at least, McCartney was back playing – and it was their first concert.

From The Guardian, July 11, 1972
From The Guardian, July 11, 1972

Chantez a bit if you know les mots

John did it in Toronto and on the streets of New York. George and Ringo chose Madison Square Gardens but Paul picked on a sleepy French village to get back to the people with his first publicized live debut since 1966. “Chantez a bit if you know les mots,” said Paul, but very few of the lucky French kids seemed to know the words to “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Maybe the 2,000 French fans who witnessed Mccartney’s return to the public platform were too amazed to sing for it was quite amazing to see the man who did so much for British pop music on stage once more.

Four sleeping hippies, two overworked roadies and an old man sweeping up with a broom were all that remained after the concert at Chateauvallon near Toulon on Sunday evening. It was the first time since 1966 that any Beatle had set out on the road in an open setting flanked by rocks and towered over by a small castle on a hillside, the man who wrote some of the most perennial songs of the sixties got up and played some funky rock n roll, aided and abetted by Wings.

Wings are Paul’s substitute for Rikki and the Redstreaks, the fictitious group Paul wanted the Beatles to play as when Beatlemania reached the proportions and touring had to stop. It seems as though now he never really wanted the fame that came with being a Beatle; but all he really wanted to do was to come on stage and play something to somebody, no matter what or where. The intricate recording techniques and musical innovations that the Beatles employed in their latter-day phase are a million light years away from Wings.

The crowd who flocked to airports, concerts and everywhere their majesties the Beatles trod won’t trouble Wings. Only a fraction of them will probably buy their records and curiosity is doubtless their main draw. A new rock generation has arrived since the Liverpool beat and they just may not remember how the four mop-heads from the town changed everything in 1963.

But it is despite what happened then, and not because of it, that McCartney is on the road again. Wings is a little different from most bands on the road today – pretty funky, PA problems and generating a feeling they’re enjoying what they’re doing. Their biggest problem, perhaps, is that one of their members just happens to be one of the biggest superstars of the past decade.

On stage, Paul has changed little from the Beatles days. His hair is cropped shot, but he still stands slightly kneed, his backside shaking and his face forced against the mike as if he was licking an ice-cream cone. He shakes his hips but the kids don’t scream anymore. His voice, whether screaming or singing, is everything it always has been, and his very presence commands a respect – even in France – few others could hope to receive.

And at the same time, there’s no doubt that he’s thoroughly enjoying himself. It was difficult to realize that the man on this platform wrote songs which are whistled across the world. One poster – there may have been more but I never saw them – advertised his presence and most of the tickets were sold on the door. A few outlaws climbed over a hill to get a free show from a distance.

The 2,000 who paid were enthusiastic but undiscriminating. McCartney was on stage and he warranted applause, no matter what he did. His main failing seemed to be a complete inability to speak French and only the English present knew what he was talking about for most of the time. He attempted to rectify this during the second half of the show and his attempts were greeted warmly.

Wings’ material is a mixture of the “Ram” and “Wild Life” album, songs from their next album and a few gems like “Maybe I’m Amazed” and Denny Laine’s “Say you don’t mind.”

The latter two songs were the highlights of the act. Despite problems with the amplification, McCartney sat at the piano and gave us a lesson on how to sing the single Faces’ have made world-famous. It’s probably the best song he’s written since his partnership with Lennon officially ended and he knows it, too.

Henry McCullough takes the lead solo which all the punch of Ronnie Lane’s version and McCartney’s keyboard tricks were tremendous.

Say You Don’t Mind” gave Denny Laine a chance to use the falsetto voice we haven’t heard since the early days of the Moody Blues. You can’t beat a man at his own song. Paul swops his bass for six strings for certain numbers but it’s McCullough who supplies most of the lead guitar. Denny Laine is what used to be known as rhythm guitarist, helping out on the vocal on just about every song. Linda vamps at the keyboard like Graham Nash and chirps in with vocals here and there. Unfortunately, her voice lacks both depth and power, a fact which McCartney must know all too well.

It was brought home demonstratively during Linda’s main number, a new reggae song called “Seaside Lady” which bore a marked resemblance to “Ob La Di, Ob La Da.” When Paul announced his mike wasn’t working properly, an American in the audience yelled back “Give it to your missus then.” Right on.

On drums, Denny Seiwell is a tower of strength and with McCartney as bass player, the rhythm section of Wings could become one of the best around. McCartney has received little credit for his bass work but some of his runs and ability to thump along to either rock rhythm or the more complex reggae numbers put him in the Jack Bruce class.

Other numbers in their repertoire included a country version of “Blue Moon of Kentucky” the amazingly banal “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and the title track from their last album which McCartney sang with all the emotion of someone who really cares about what is happening to our wild life. McCullough had an opportunity to throw out some Clapton-style blues in a new number “Henry’s Blues” which developed into a jam session with Paul playing a bit of lead guitar.

The whole show is backed by a movie screen and films of countryside birds flying, astronauts landing on the moon and waves crashing against rocks are shown throughout the second part of the act. They also have their own lighting system to pick out the individual soloists and a whole lotta brand new gear.

On stage they wear identical black suits with glitter on the lapels – a hark back to the days when Paul and Lennon disagreed over Beatle-stage attire.

In charge of the tour is now bearded John Morris, former manager of the Rainbow, who has put the itinerary together remarkably quickly but who has a million problems a night as a result. “We lost one plane and three cars today but the show started on time,” he proudly told me. When the concert ended, the usual volatile Continental audience filtered away remarkably quietly when it became apparent Paul had left.

From Melody Maker – July 15, 1972
From Melody Maker – July 15, 1972
From Disc And Music Echo – July 15, 1972
From Disc And Music Echo – July 15, 1972

Centre culturel Chateauvallon

This was the 1st and only concert played at Centre culturel Chateauvallon.

Setlist for the concert

The setlist for this concert is incomplete, or we have not be able to confirm in an accurate way that this was the setlist. If you have any clue, pls let us know and leave a comment.

  1. First half

  2. Second half

    1. Say You Don't Mind

      Written by Denny Laine

      Denny Laine : Lead vocals

      Album Available on Sentimental Jamboree

See song statistics for “Wings Over Europe Tour”

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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Paul McCartney writing

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