- United Kingdom
- Royal Court Theatre
More from year 1979
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The first date of the tour, and also the first of four performances at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool. From Wikipedia:
The site of the Royal Court Theatre was originally that of a water well constructed in the 12th century. A circus owner, John Cooke, bought the site in 1826 for his circuses, plays, operas and concerts, and it became known as ‘Cooke’s Royal Amphitheatre of Arts’. During this time Pablo Fanque, the black circus performer and proprietor immortalised in the Beatles’ song “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!“, performed here as a part of William Batty’s circus. In 1881, the building was redesigned by Henry Sumner as a regular theatre and it was re-opened as the Royal Court.
The first show on the 23rd was a benefit for the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys, Paul McCartney’s old school.
First note: The people are SO nice. Every time I’m up in Liverpool, I’m ready to move there. The people are incredible. We found the Royal Court Theatre (almost directly across the road from the Lime Street Station) and passed the time away chatting with the people and making friends with the police. The show was scheduled to begin at 5 pm as it was held for the kids form Paul’s old school (Liverpool Institute) as well as for handicapped and blind children from the area (they came in busloads later!).
We queued up and were told that our vouchers (which we got from MPL) would be exchanged for tickets at 3:30. We also heard that Paul was already inside the theatre, having arrived at 1:00 (apparently, he had been rehearsing there for a few days). We did get our tickets at 4:00 and had first-row balcony. The stall seats were reserved for the kids. Still, the balcony was great because the theatre was so tiny (It wasn’t much bigger than an American movie theatre). We met some other friends from the States (and Canada), Jennie S., Madeleine S., and Laurie R. We were all in the same row for the show that night. We made another new friend, Martin, (who was sitting next to me and is forever immortal on my tape of the show) and he told me that he heard the band rehearsing and that Paul was going to do “Let it Be,” “Fool on the Hill,” “Back in the USSR” and “Hey Jude”!!! We were on pins and needles waiting for him to do “Hey Jude,” but he never did that one.
Before Paul came on stage, I honestly felt as though I was dreaming – a feeling I am sure we all had – but I was really feeling it because I had had less than four hours sleep in the last two days. However, when everyone started cheering and clapping for the show to begin, my heart began to race and I wondered what he was going to sing, what he was going to wear, how he’d look.
When the curtains finally rose, and the horn section began playing a very dramatic entrance, I thought I’d jump right out of my seat from the anticipation. The stage was still dark when Steve Holly began playing a very familiar beat, and out emerged the man himself to surmounting cheers and screams. “I was alone, I took a ride, I didn’t know what I could find there…” The three of us just grabbed each other’s hands. It was incredible to hear him do “Got to Get you into my Life” as an opening number and even more surprises were to follow. I recall not taking any photographs during the first number. I was totally mesmerized and felt so happy. He wore a long-tailed 1800’s style black frock jacket, a black tee-shirt, nice blue jeans and tan suede boots. His hair was a little short but grew to a nice length during the next two week that we saw him. The rest of the band (including Linda) wore the same outfit. He swung right into “Getting closer”, and then asks the audience “how are ya doin’? It’s good to be back in town anyway. This next one is called ‘Every night.’” (In the concerts that followed the announced “the next one is from the McCartney album, and it’s called “Every Night.”) That was a real shocker, totally unexpected. It is a slightly slower, more soulful version than on the original record. The simplicity of the shows reminded me so much of the 1973 tour, no special effects (aside from Christmas trees and snow during ‘Wonderful Christmastime’), just down to earth enjoyment, and only 90 minutes this time. Quite a contrast to the 1975-76 world tour! Next follows “Again and Again and Again,” “I’ve had enough,” (which he always announced with a cockney accent), “Now Words,” and then (get ready) “Cook of the House.” It wasn’t a complete loss, because Paul always went over to Linda (who was on keyboards) and shook his bum. So, I can honestly say that we looked forward to hearing that tune. Linda’s voice was really deep, and she kept yelling out “Rock on Tommy!” in a fake Liverpudlian accent (It’s a Liverpudlian expression). Paul once said, “In case you’re wondering, that’s my wife. She used to be American, but some funny things have happened to her since she came over.” Next came another favourite of ours, “Old Siam Sir.” Not only is it’s a great rocker, but the movements that man-made during this song had to be seen to be appreciated. First, it reminded us of a “Frankenstein” walk, and he’d put both fists in the air to the beat of the drums in time. He perfected it to a very sexy dance.
After “Old Siam Sir” the piano was wheeled out, Paul sits and put his “tails” over the bench and begins the famous “Maybe I’m Amazed” which he has performed in every concert since he began touring again. With the audience still applauding “Maybe I’m Amazed,” Paul says, See if you remember this one” and begins the notes we all first heard during “Magical Mystery tour” As he sat there at the piano, I visualized that beautiful film of “Fool on the Hill” from Magical Mystery tour – the close-up of his face, the lovely scenery, Paul running down the hill, a nice feeling of peacefulness – fantastic. A definite highlight of the show, with another highlight to follow. Denny tells us that a religious number is coming up and that they are going to pass the basket around for offerings. Paul does “Let it Be” (goosebumps) and gives the tune a bit of a gospel flavouring. He goes back to the centre of the stage, and now comes another surprise, “Hot as Sun”, New Orleans style. Paul with a pic in his mouth, making cute expressions, raising his eyebrows, scrunching his nose, and as Doylene would say, “he was a rabbit completely!” “Spin it on” follows and then Paul announces a number original recorded in 1957 by Eddie Cochran, “Twenty Flight Rock.” It was incredible to see Paul do his Elvis imitation during this rocker. The piano was wheeled out once again and Denny shows us that he is a potential Olympic champion by running full speed from the opposite side of the stage and leaping over the piano, rolling over the bench, and then casually sitting down. A perfect introduction for “Go Now.” Afterwards, Paul joins Denny to do “Arrow Through Me.” During the show, Paul would ask the audience to cheer the famous “woah-woah-woah-woah-woah!!” (as only he can do it) and after we all did (great fun) he’d say, “just checking.” He asked the kids, “How do you like it, it’s better than school, isn’t it?” Paul now joins Linda at the synthesizer and Linda announces their new Christmas single “Wonderful Christmastime” accompanied by falling snow (which Paul referred to as dandruff) and Christmas tree and lights! Very enjoyable during the concert. One night all the “dandruff” came down at one time and fell on top of poor Lawrence. Paul goes to the front of the stage again and announces a new single to be released in February, “Coming Up,” which is very good and very catchy. Some of the words are as follows: “You want a love to last forever, one that will never fade away. I know you’re searching for an answer, well I can tell you right now babe, it’s coming up….”
Paul then announces a new friend, “Robo” who is a cute little robot, and Paul explains that “Robo” is in fact a rhythm box who needs precise, gentle tuning and “would you please excuse me for just a minute while I go tune him…” He casually walks over and gives “Robo” a good kick! “Robo” starts the disco beat for “Goodnight Tonight,” moving his arms up and down to the beat. I personally never cared much for the song, but it is fantastic in concert and easily became one of my favourites. Everyone jumps up, dancing and clapping. You can’t help but have a good time and sing along, “don’t say it, don’t say it, don’t say goodnight tonight…” But Paul does say “goodnight” and runs off the stage.
Paul emerges for the first encore alone (waving a blue towel) and picks up an acoustic guitar. It’s not hard to guess what follows…”Oh Maggie, Maggie Mae!” “No? Well, see if you remember this one…Yesterday….” There’s not a dry eye in the house when all the kids join in. Another emotional highlight was when he sang “Mull of Kintyre,” which he dedicated to “Blip” (his old schoolmaster who was in the audience). The entire audience reacted as though “Mull of Kintyre” was their national anthem! The kids joined in right away and they sounded just like a choir. It was incredibly beautiful, and a moment I’ll never forget. They even had a bagpiper up there, dressed in full highlands garb, and Paul and Denny would dance and lift their guitars up to him. (We later found out that he wasn’t playing the bagpipes, it was Lawrence on the synthesizer). The second and final encore was “Band on the Run” and by now the house was up on its feet and at the stage (or fighting to get to it anyway). The spotlights are on the audience as the band chants, “Band on the run, Band on the run…” You can’t believe it’s over so quickly but 90 minutes have already passed – the curtains go down and the house lights are turned on (we were all spoiled by the 1975-76 world tour and it’s 2 ½ hour show!) Outside at the stage door was the waiting tour bus and the waiting mob. We managed to see Paul leave, but only from a distance.
Doylene, Susie and I stayed with friends in Birkenhead (on the other side of the Mersey). The children were fascinated by us because we were so “foreign” (to them). Our friends really helped us because we couldn’t possibly have afforded five days in a hotel in LiverpoolFrom McCartney Wings His Way Home, from the McCartney Observer, Fall/Winter 1979/1980
From Club Sandwich, N°17, 1980:
Dear Paul, Linda, Denny, Laurence and Steve,
Hi. I would simply like to say a very big THANK YOU for the most memorable day of my life. Through the club we were invited to the dress rehearsal at Liverpool. I have been a Paul fan since I was twelve – that’s 17 years -and that was the first time I’ve seen him live so you can imagine how much it means to me. But come on fans, what about Linda, Denny. Laurence and Steve? We all love them but do we really show our appreciation for them as wo do Paul. I think the line-up now is fantastic. I would like to let those fans who so far haven’t seen you live know that they definitely will not be disappointed at all. Individually and as a group they are exactly as they appear on telly and in photos only more so. Also I would like to thank the other fans there. What a really great bunch of people of all age groups, some from Liverpool, others as far afield as Scotland, Redcar, America and ourselves from Cumbria. We all felt as though we knew each other. What a fabulous day that was. Many, many thanks and all the best to you all for Christmas and the New Year.
JULIE KNIGHT, Cockermouth, CumbriaFrom Club Sandwich, N°17, 1980
Last updated on April 24, 2022
Setlist for the concert
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.