Jul 18, 2009

Looking Back At Paul McCartney's Wings Over America Tour (Sept.1975- Oct.1976)

In 1975 Paul McCartney & Wings released the album Venus & Mars, a follow up to Band on the Run. Although not as successful, it was popular reached #1 and went platinum in America. The song Listen to What the Man Said hit #1, Rock Show hit the top 10 & Letting Go the top 40.
Wings had done three small scale Tours; a British Universities /European tour in ’72, and a 17 show Tour of England in ’73. In 1975 the Wings Over the World Tour was one of the largest of its kind to date. Wings set out on a massive 13 month road show, playing to over 2 million people in America, Europe, the UK & Australia.


The lineup of Paul & Linda McCartney, Denny Laine (guitars, bass), Jimmy McCulloch (guitar) &Joe English (drums) set out with a horn section of four musicians (Howie Casey, Steve Howard, Thaddeus Richard, and Tony Dorsey). The McCartney’s traveled with their children an rented out 4 sets of homes in New York, Chicago, Dallas & Los Angeles flying to the nearest one after each show. There was a convoy of tour buses & tractor trailers which carried the equipment sporting the name Wings Over America across their rooftops. The tour featured the classic Wings logo with the letter “W” in the shape of outstretched wings. During the tour Wings recorded & released the album Wings at the Speed of Sound, it reached #1 with two #1 hits Silly Love Songs & Let Em. Due to those two smashes & the tour it was Wings best charting US album, spending seven weeks at number one.

It was the first time Paul played live In America since the Beatles 1966 Tour, obviously highly anticipated and a tough ticket. Back in 1976 any time a Beatle was doing something, everyone expected a reunion. The possibility of a Beatles reunion was the only thing that overshadowed Wings performances. Paul insisted Denny Lane & Jimmy McCulloch also sing lead on a few songs to show Wings was a band, not just an all McCartney show.

The Wings Over America segment of the Tour began in Fort Worth, Texas on May 3, 1976. On May 26, Wings hit the New York area; Nassau Coliseum and two days later, two nights at Madison Square Garden. The tour stpped in Houston, Detroit, Toronto, Philadelphia, DCD, Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Chicago, St. Paul, Denver, the Kingdome in Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, & Tuscon. The tour ended with three celebrity filled shows at the L.A. Forum where Ringo Starr even made an appearance on stage.
Back then Paul trying to get away from the Beatle Paul image, but also felt he didn’t want to ignore some of his best works. He decided to include 5 Beatle songs on the tours set list.

Throughout the shows Paul played guitars, piano, and electric bass while singing most of the lead vocals. The show featured an acoustic set where Paul, Linda & Denny would sit in front of the stage and then Paul would take the whole spotlight doing Yesterday. Another segment featured Denny Laine dressed like an American Patriot playing a snare drum & flute during Let Em In,
in celebration of Americas Bicentennial. The show featured a now classic stage performance of Live & Let Die which has come to be the definitive image of a Wings concert, Complete with pyro explosions, smoke & laser beams.

The shows were recorded for an album set, released at Christmas time 1976 simple called Wings Over America. The album was extended to a three record set, just under 2 hours. It was a huge success, reaching # 1 in the US (taking over the spot held by the Eagles Hotel California). It was Wings last of five straight #1 albums and was the last to feature English & McCulloch. McCartney changed the Beatles songwriting credits to McCartney/Lennon and to just McCartney as opposed to early Wings tunes credited to Linda & Paul. A TV special aired on network television called Wings Over the World & a movie Rock show saw its premier at the Ziegfeld Theater in NY in November 1980; a video was released in 1981.

The set list through the whole tour was pretty much the same, with C-Moon, Juniors Farm & Call Me Back Again dropped by 1976.

1976 Wings Over America Set List
1. "Venus And Mars"/"Rock Show"
2. "Jet"

3. "Let Me Roll It"
4. "Spirits of Ancient Egypt"
5. "Medicine Jar"

6. "Maybe I'm Amazed"
7. "Call Me Back Again"
8. "Lady Madonna"
9. "The Long and Winding Road"
10. "Live and Let Die"
11. "Picasso's Last Words"
12. "Richard Cory"
13. "Bluebird"
14. "I've Just Seen a Face"
15. "Blackbird"
16. "Yesterday"
17. "You Gave Me the Answer"
18. "Magneto and Titanium Man"
19. "Go Now"
20. "My Love"

21. "Listen to What the Man Said"
22. "Let 'em In"

23. "Time to Hide"
24. "Silly Love Songs"
25. "Letting Go"
26. "Band on the Run"
27. "Hi, Hi, Hi"
28. "Soily"

10 comments:

nellie apple said...

Wow!
You have a great page! =)

Anonymous said...

I was at this concert in Atlanta in 1976.
Does anyone remember who the opening band was and specifically,if it was Fleetwood Mac?

Mitchell said...

I was at the 1st show in Ft Worth TX and there was no opening act!
Mitchell Summers 12-03-2009

Anonymous said...

I was at the concert in Cincinnati. There was no opening act. I was 16 yrs old and I remember being pushed around like crazy by the crowd. I was a pretty good athlete but thin and I felt I wasn't safe. It was years later at the Who concert in Cincinnati that 11 people died. The German "Love Parade" Concert Tragedy that killed 19 yesterday got me remembering...

Drew Freeman, RPh said...

I saw the Richfield show. There was no opening act. "An Evening With...".

Anonymous said...

Just saw the VH1 show of the tour. Was at the Fort Worth show. WOw!. Brought back great and lasting memories. If you say you didn't cry when Sir Paul sang Yesterday, you're lying to yourself. Just simply mesmerizing!

Anonymous said...

Just saw the VH1 show of the tour. Was at the Fort Worth show. WOw!. Brought back great and lasting memories. If you say you didn't cry when Sir Paul sang Yesterday, you're lying to yourself. Just simply mesmerizing!

Paul neves said...

I was at the the San Francisco show at the cow place, no opening act. Great show the tickets were 8.50 each what a deal

Jeff KY Bottger said...

My wife and I had only been married a year and attended this concert. I remember it like it was yesterday because the crowd massed outside the stadium waiting for the doors to open and when they did there was such a rush it was like being in a sea of people, almost like a river where you had no control and you were just moved into the stadium. It was pretty scary but the show was remarkable! I remember it was shortly after their that several people were killed at the Who concert at the same stadium under the same circumstances so I guess we were pretty lucky!

R Pratt said...

As a 20year old. I worked in the Fort Worth stagehand local and had the honor of working on the local crew for the wings over America tour. The band rehearsed in Fort Worth for two weeks. There's nothing like sitting in an empty venue being sung to by Paul as he played piano singing baby I'm amazed and then hearing the acoustic guitar set with them singing blackbird Richard Corey and I think there was one more song but that was overwhelming the band rehearsed at two venues one was will Rogers auditorium. A 1500 seat venue the other was the tar rant county convention center arena. Which held up to 20 thousand and since they were just starting the tour it meant the production company had to learn how to pack the semis to travel from venue to venue. This was my first big rock show to work I even managed to get my speed of sound album autographed by the band. As Paul took it to all the members for signatures. It now proudly hangs by my bed along with concert memorabilia Thanks for the memories
R. P.