Wings 1979 UK Tour

From Nov 23, 1979 to Dec 17, 1979 • By Wings
First date:
Nov 23, 1979
Last date:
Dec 17, 1979
Number of concerts:
Number of countries:

Master release

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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

Wings, Queen and Moodies: tour talk

WINGS, the Moody. Blues and Queen have U.K. tours lined up for the autumn, which looks like being a busy one for British bands.

Others expected to take to the road during the same period are Elkie Brooks, who will be releasing a new album at the same time, Steve Harley and the new band he is putting together, and Darts, who begin an extensive British tour in September.

Queen are expected to make their first major British tour since last year during November. They are recording at the moment in Germany, though no new album has been scheduled as yet.

Wings intend playing live again soon, possibly later in the autumn. It is not yet known whether they will arrange surprise gigs or a tour of major venues, or combination of both.

Following their inability to get gigs together last year, the re-formed Moody Blues are expected to play six to eight concerts here later in October, including possibly two nights at Wembley Arena at the end of the month. The band got back together last year to record “Octave” and have just finished a tour of the U.S. They have no new album planned, though singer Justin Hayward has been in the studios working on a new solo album.

From Melody Maker – August 4, 1979
From Melody Maker – August 4, 1979

Wings tour

WINGS have finally confirmed the full details of their fourth British tour — the first UK shows the band has played for three years. The tour kicks off in Liverpool, and features five London concerts including three at the Wembley Arena in early December.

The 16-date tour starts at the Liverpool Royal Court on November 25 and 26, and is followed by Manchester Apollo (28, 29), Southampton Gaumont (December 1), Brighton Centre (2), Lewisham Odeon (3), London Rainbow (5), Wembley Arena (7, 8 and 9), Birmingham Odeon (12), Newcastle City Hall (14), Edinburgh Odeon (16) and Glasgow Apollo (16, 17).

Tickets for the Wembley shows are £5.50 and £5, and prices for all other concerts are £5.50, £5 and £4.50. They are available from Sunday from the relevant box offices, restricted to four tickets per person. Liverpool tickets will be available from midday on November 11 at the Radio City reception desk.

Wembley tickets are available by post from PO Box 4TL, London W1A 4TL, until November 15. Applicants should send a sae and postal order — not cheque. The envelope should be marked Wings Concert. Tickets for Lewisham, the Rainbow and Wembley are also available from Virgin’s Megastore ticket machine in London’s Oxford Street.

From Melody Maker – November 10, 1979
From Melody Maker – November 10, 1979

Touts blamed for Wings rumpus

THE TURMOIL that hit the lengthy queues for Wings’ tickets last week when touts and other queue-jumpers moved in, was caused by two factors, according to promoter Harvey Goldsmith — the short notice he was given to arrange the shows, and the willingness of the public to deal with touts.

A number of disappointed Wings fans complained to MM about poor arrangements for ticket hunters at Brighton, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Lewisham. They blamed the theatre managers for making no attempt to control queues, and Goldsmith for not organising a postal application system.

Goldsmith said there was not enough time to deal with applications by post — tickets might have been delayed — and that where possible touts were dealt with.

“The trouble is that being a tout is not illegal. At the Virgin store in Oxford Street there were so many touts we called the police, but there is nothing they can do. The touts were going away, turning their coats round and coming back for more. We had ten extra security men, but when touts pay people to stand in line for them, there is nothing you can do. Certainly no-one got more than four tickets, to my knowledge, and in Liverpool tickets were limited to two a person”.

Touts have been reported as asking between £70 and £100 for tickets in Liverpool. Wings have added an extra show in Liverpool at the Royal Court Theatre on December 28. It will be a free concert for the Liverpool Institute, Paul McCartney’s old school, and tickets are being distributed by the school.

From Melody Maker – November 24, 1979
From Melody Maker – November 24, 1979

Wings: tour on

WINGS HAVE finally substantiated rumours about a tour this year by announcing a series of British shows from mid-November to mid-December, which will combine smaller, more intimate venues with the large halls regarded as economically necessary for such big tours.

No dates have yet been announced, but it is expected that details will be available next week. The shows will be Wings’ first British tour for three years, and will also mark the debut of new members guitarist Lawrence Juber and drummer Steve Holly.

From Melody Maker – November 3, 1979
From Melody Maker – November 3, 1979
From Record Mirror – November 10, 1979
From Record Mirror – November 24, 1979

Last updated on July 25, 2023

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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