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Back On The Road

(The Paul McCartney 1989-90 “Get Back” World Tour)

The Paul McCartney World Tour was a worldwide concert tour by Paul McCartney during 1989 and 1990.

It was McCartney’s first major tour outing in ten years, since Wings UK Tour 1979, and his first world tour in thirteen years, since the 1976 Wings Over the World tour.

It was also his first tour under his name.

While the tour coincided with the release of his Flowers in the Dirt album, it was thematically more about finally embracing his Beatles past, including for the first time, in any of his tours, a substantial number of Beatles songs in the set list.

The tour was documented by the 1990 live albums Tripping the Live Fantastic and Tripping the Live Fantastic: Highlights!, and the 1991 concert film Get Back.

Incredibly, the Paul McCartney ‘Get Back’ Tour of 1989-90 – his first since 1979 – travelled 100,331 miles, with Paul playing to a total of 2,843,297 fans in 13 countries with 104 gigs. At the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on April 21st 1990, Paul even set a new world record, performing to the largest stadium crowd ever gathered in the history of rock and roll at 184, 368.

Unsurprisingly, this tour was the most successful of Paul’s illustrious career.

The tour started on September 21st, 1989 (Warmup show in London) and ended on July 29th, 1990 (Soldier Field, Chicago).

In America, Paul became the artist with the most ticket sales in 1990 (an average of 49,209 per gig), beating the likes of Madonna, The Grateful Dead and Janet Jackson.

The highlight of the tour for Paul was when he played to over 50,000 on the banks of the Mersey – his biggest ever gig so far in his hometown of Liverpool – and, at the end of a medley dedicated to John, the band stopped playing ‘Give Peace A Chance’, only for the crowd to carry on chanting the lyrics, forcing Paul to restart the song. “That,” he said “was one of the greatest moments of my career. That was what you do it all for, really”.   

As I wrote previously, I bought two tickets thru a promotion of local rock station in Las Vegas, and we went by bus to L.A. and saw Paul and his band on November 28th, 1989 at The Forum. I went with my girlfriend at the time and we had fair seats, second level and to the right of the stage about halfway back in the venue. It was very exciting and I enjoyed myself very much as we returned home early in the next day. But Paul was not in the best of voice that night, still at a time when he smoked cigarettes. So there was more than a few struggles to hit notes. Paul was still a pleasure to see with his amazing attitude and crowd control, and my second concert for him will always be a great night. We received a tee-shirt in the package.

The only regret was that the next night Stevie Wonder was brought on the stage for an impromptu “Ebony and Ivory,” and Ringo was brought out to give love and the delight of the crowd.

So…. It was now 1990. Not much was done after the tour that year. A song Paul recorded during the CHOBBA B CCCP sessions, “It’s Now Or Never,” The classic Italian song “O Solo Mio” which was given words in the early 1960’s for Elvis to have a hit with.

This track never made it to any version of The Russian Album, so Paul gave it to a British release titled, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF ELVIS, a compilation of Elvis songs designed to benefit the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre in London. Executive producer and NME journalist Roy Carr landed some big names – Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, and Robert Plant all showed up – and some even bigger tonal shifts. The album careens from rock to a capella to parody to metal and ends up with the King himself performing “King of the Whole Wide World.”

Later in 1990 he released a special package of FLOWERS IN THE DIRT for the Japanese market. The second disc consisted of a special message, unreleased tracks, studio rehearsals and the dreaded P.S. Love Me do.

Finally, That year, he released the triple album Tripping the Live Fantastic, which contained selected performances from the tour.

Next up…. 1991…..

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