Wings 1979 UK Tour

From Nov 23, 1979 to Dec 17, 1979 • By Wings



On November 23rd 1979, Wings began a 19-date concert tour of the United Kingdom to promote their album Back To The Egg. The shows were massively successful and even produced a Number 1 hit in the US with a live recording of ‘Coming Up’ from a Glasgow date. The tour had a crew of about forty (modest when compared with previous tours), together with the indispensable four-man horn section of Tony Dorsey, Thaddeus Richard, Howie Casey and Steve Howard. The setlist followed the successful McCartney pattern – a selection from the latest album, Back To The Egg, plenty of Wings classics, some surprise oldies (including a stupendous live version of ‘Live and Let Die’), and, somewhere along the way, a quiet moment or two, with Paul alone at the piano or strumming quietly on an acoustic guitar. By this stage in their career, Wings didn’t have to prove anything – on this tour, it was time to go out and play simply for the pleasure of the thing.

This Wings UK Tour was supposed to be followed by a planned Japan tour in January ’80, and there were unplanned ideas to extend it in more countries (China, US were rumored). But plans were changed when McCartney was arrested in Japan, and this Wings UK Tour became the final tour by Wings.

From Club Sandwich, N°17, 1980:

The reception for Paul in his home town couldn’t have been warmer and the cheers, claps and foot-stamping are still going strong after a tremendous set by the band as they leave for the hotel and another, more informal engagement.

Paul has arranged a family get-together and more than 70 relatives have gathered for a knees-up. Mike McGear, of Scaffold (Paul’s brother) is there, his hair now a distinguished silver and the pair of them join cousins, aunties and nephews in massive sing-songs. After the Liverpool gigs the band agree that their Sunday night set was the best. They were loose, relaxed and because of it had fun on stage.

From there the band on the run had Britain at their feet, everyone remarking that Paul still had so much enthusiasm, as if this were his first tour.

For Laurence and Steve this was their first tour, after eighteen months with the group they had finally broken out from the studios to stare their public right in the eye. But they weren’t worried about that aspect of performing.

“When we got out there the first night we felt nervy because we were on stage with Paul, one of the greatest composers and musicians ever,” Steve says. “Trying not to let him down was the worry. After that the packed venues were no problem.”

Biggest of the venues was Wembley, where 10,000 people packed in every night. Despite playing in a hall which could easily accommodate a whole flight of Jumbo jets Paul felt this was the most intimate gig. “I was really close to them,” he said afterwards. “We could have been in some little club with just a handful of people. It was really great. How could we ever stop touring. It’s what we all love. Contact with the fans, doing our best for them and having fun. That’s what it’s all about.”

Wings’ last tour took them round Britain in 1979. For the first time since 1973, when Brinsley Schwarz were on the bill, they had a support act. This was the drily humorous Earl Okin, an acoustic guitarist whose repertoire of antique jazz included an excellent vocal interpretation of a trumpet. Unfortunately, this party piece sometimes received the old-fashioned British raspberry from audiences impatient for Paul and co. Comedian Max Wall had the same problem once when Ian Dury asked him on for a bit of variety

From Club Sandwich N°40, Spring 1986
From Daily Mirror – Thursday 08 November 1979
From Liverpool Echo – Tuesday 04 December 1979
From Liverpool Beatles Auction: Paul McCartney And Wings Photos
From Laurence Juber on Twitter: Wings 1979 UK Tour – Photo by Graham Juber – Not Kampuchea. One of the London shows on the tour
From New Musical Express – November 10, 1979
From SOUNDS, November 10, 1979
From Melody Maker – August 4, 1979
From Melody Maker – November 10, 1979
From Melody Maker – November 24, 1979

Last updated on December 26, 2022

19 concerts • 1 country

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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