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Wings -Last Flight (unreleased 1979)

After the Wings Over The World tour of 1975-76, Paul was back on top. Rave reviews for the tour, the cover of Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone etc….

The lawsuits and major tension between Paul and his Beatles had ended and all was at the least now civil between the four. This led to many rumors of a possible reunion for gigantic amounts of money.

After needed time off, Paul got the band back together to record his next batch of songs. Since BAND ON THE RUN (Lagos, Nigeria) his wanting to record in odd location continues. He made VENUS AND MARS in Nashville, New Orleans and Los Angeles. SPEED OF SOUND was done in England due to its time restraints.

No world class home studio or private studio as of yet. He decided to record what was to be called “WATER WINGS” on luxury boats in the Virgin Islands.

For a while things went swimmingly (tee-hee) until internal tensions again led to Jimmy and Joe leaving the band. Once again Wings was a trio.

LONDON TOWN was finished by the three in London and released to mixed reviews. Even with the hit singles “London Town” and “With A Little Luck” didn’t help make this one of Paul’s favorites. He released the album and music videos with hardly a mention of his two lost band-mates and has ignored it in his Archive Collections series.

Before recording their next album again he tried to flush out Wings with another lead guitarist (Laurence Juber) and drummer (Steve Holly).

Before this recording Paul had left Capitol records for Columbia in the biggest record royalty deal in the world at that time. There was much promotion by the label and pressure to live up to the monster contract.

They made an album, 1979’s BACK TO THE EGG, and the traditional Wings sound was influenced by the new wave and punk scene that was exploding at the time.

They worked very hard on the recording, making many videos (for a future TV special and promoting it heavily).

The reviews were not good on its release.

Paul is disturbed by negative reviews and he had worked so hard on assembling this 5th incarnation of the band and to see such a poor (compared to his prior sales) public and critical reaction must have deflated him.

Paul has also ignored this album on tour and as well in the Archive Collection (maybe in 2022????).

But Paul had already had started the wheels in motion pre-release to take Wings back on the road, starting in late ’79 in friendly U.K. sites, then kick it up in early 1980 with a tour of Japan, and then probably on to America.

But his heart must not have been fully into it and in retrospect wouldn’t have even began touring to support this album.

But the comfortable U.K. shows (even performing in Liverpool) went as well as possible on the outside, finishing 1979 with a topping the bill performance on New Years Eve at The Concert For The People Of Kampuchea.

After many of these shows, Steve and Laurence would come off, filled with excitement but would see Paul less than pleased by the performances.

McCartney later claimed that the band had not rehearsed enough for the tour and that he had bad feelings about going out on the road like this.

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This unreleased album is the complete show from Glasgow. Bootlegs also include the six song Kampuchea performance. They ended that show in gold jackets and some wore top hats with members of the Rockestra band (only Pete Townshend wouldn’t wear one). This would be the final Wings performance.

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Paul recorded these shows for another potential live album, but only the song “Coming Up” was released in its day. That live version was released in the summer of 1980, and placed as the b-side of the McCARTNEY II studio version. Ironically the b-side was a bigger hit in the states, the studio version bigger in the U.K.

“Wonderful Christmastime” also was performed by the band. It was released just before the tour, and was credited and done solo by Macca. Ironically, the entire band appear in the music video filmed while they rehearsed for the tour.

Coming into Japan on January 16th, 1980 with NINE ounces of weed led to… well we know what happened.

Paul’s explanation about the weed in his suitcase is bullshit. He claims “maybe subconsciously” he was trying to sabotage the tour… or maybe someone had put the weed in there??? Nonsense…… but Paul and Linda knew better. How much weed can you smoke in a country that had zero tolerance? His fame saved his ass…

The murder of John Lennon in December 1980 eliminated any thought as to a future Beatles reunion (maybe Paul had thoughts about this as tensions has mostly left between he and John) and this bust became the fork in the road for Paul.

He stayed at home and recorded and released the solo McCARTNEY II

Even if the band didn’t officially end until late 1981 (they did rehearse and record bits of TUG OF WAR material before producer Gorge Martin persuaded Paul to make it a solo record) , this was the end of the band.

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Statistical Analysis

# of Songs: 22

Songs of Paul (solo): 5 (22.7%)

Songs of Wings: 11 (50%)

Songs of Beatles (Lennon/McCartney): 4 (18.2%)

Songs of Others: 2 (9.1%)

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(Glasgow, Scotland 12/17/79)

“Got To Get You Into My Life”

-Before beginning the tour, Paul wasn’t sure he wanted to bring along the added expense of a small horn section, as he had on the Wings Over The World tour of 1975-76.

Convinced by band members that this would flush and fill out the bands sound, he agreed.

The horn section again consisted of Howie Casey, Thaddeus Richard, Steve Howard and Tony Dorsey.

It’s hard to imagine Wings opening a show with this song, the Beatles classic, that is horn driven, without one.

Certainly Linda’s modest talent on electronic keyboards wouldn’t be able to reproduce the horn sounds that the improved technology and amazing talent of his current keyboardist/musical director Wix does.

Interesting that Wings chose to open their shows with a Beatles song, but this is the slow direction Paul would begin from this point onward.

A sweet Horn intro leads us into the track. Paul is in fine voice, and the band is fine. The drumming is a tad weak. Rating – 8

“Getting Closer”

-The current single from BACK TO THE EGG album, which the band was promoting with the tour. Paul vocals are spot on to the record, even with a tiny bit of squeaking on the scream

Rating – 7

“Every Night”

-Acoustic with a bit of a rock edge with the electric solo and harder drum track. Released on The 1970 McCARTNEY I archive collection as a bonus track, even though it was recorded nine years later. Nice vocals throughout . Rating – 8

Again And Again And Again”

-The second EGG song, the Denny Laine written track. Not a great song to begin with, but played well, as are all the EGG period tracks, still fresh to the band. I always like the outro to this song, and it sounds great here, with Paul letting out some great howls. Rating – 7.5

“I’ve Had Enough”

-From 1978’s LONDON TOWN, which was recorded by just the trio, but oddly featured all of five of the current band in the music video. A simple 4/4 rocker, with the spoken words during the short instrumental quieting, reminiscent of those 50’s rockers.

Rating – 7

“No Words”

-Gem from BAND ON THE RUN, sped up a bit, but features wonderful three part harmony by Paul, Linda and Denny. One of my favorite Wings songs, so it was nice to hear it here.

Paul’s voice is run through a filter on his brief lead vocal. Paul occasionally goes a tad off on the harmonizing, but again, I love this song. Rating – 8

“Cook Of The House”

-Linda’s lead vocal on this SPEED OF SOUND track. Paul describes this song as a rocker. It is as best a “4/4 50’s style shuffle”. Rating – 6

Paul yells nonsense at the crowd periodically when they scream things at him that he can’t understand…Ok…

“Old Siam, Sir”

-Another EGG track, with Linda’s keys not as effective as Paul did on the track. Paul’s vocals are great, squeaky and roaring at the same time. Denny and Lawrence double guitars make this one a rocker, and of course the song speeds up at the outro.

Rating – 8

“Maybe I’m Amazed”

-Another track that made its way on the McCARTNEY I archive release as a bonus track. Paul handles the keys, introduced by Steve. Paul Jokes and leads them into “When The Red Red Robin.” Paul must have done this at each show, as he ALWAYS repeats the same things when he feels they work. This can be jokes, stories, mistakes, etc. Everything is planned…at least from the second time on. The background vocals are nearly non-existent, as compared to OVER AMERICA. The same rock outro that from 1976 tour that is the only WAY he plays it to this day. Rating – 8

“The Fool On The Hill”

-The second piano song. He asks for Woo Hoo’s from the crowd, which he does to this day. Amazing vocals, as if we were listening to MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR. The horns play flutes, compare to the recorder Paul used on the studio track. He doesn’t change the outro as he does on all future shows, in which he has added MLK speech, had his piano light up, rise and spin. Instead, a nice simple ending. Rating – 8

“Let It Be”

-Wonderful version, played like the Beatles version with George’s lead guitar solo (handles brilliantly by Juber). Linda has some tasteful organ throughout. Backing vocals are brought up in the mix. Nice. Rating – 8.5

“Hot As Sun”

-The third and final track taken from this song and included as a bonus track on McCARTNEY I archive collection. Instrumental that is given a reggae retrofit with the horns giving it some flair. Why? Rating – 6.5

“Spin It On”

-Paul’s attempt to punk out on this EGG track. He invites any members of the audience to “Pongo” if they want to “Pongo.” This is not his comfort zone, and it falls well short of a home-run. Rating – 6

“Twenty Flight Rock”

-The song that got him invited to join John Lennon’s band back in the day. He loves this song and the band delivers. Rating – 8

“Go Now”

-Before Denny goes into his lead vocals, Paul leads them into “Tip Toe Thru The Tulips” when Laurence says this song inspired him as a kid…

Done very much like the 75-76 version, but a tad faster. Rating – 7.5

The crowd is certainly enjoying the show, and giving much love to the band and the horn section on their introduction.

“Arrow Through Me”

-Another failed single from EGG (there were three). The horns are real on this one, as they were synth’s on the album. A good effort from all but a tough song to do live. Rating – 7

“Wonderful Christmastime”

-Since it was almost Christmas time, they let fake snow fall, and gave it their best shot. Paul introduced it as “their” new single, but we know it was “his” new single. This song makes about $400,000 yearly for Paul’s bank account. He doesn’t bring out a children’s choir, which he will do at future shows, on future tours.

Rating – 6

“Coming Up”

-The b-side hit single Americans listened to as DJ’s turned over the studio version (because the studio version didn’t sound like Paul they said). Paul says the song “may come out next year, if it escapes….” Nice version, which we all know and like, but this crowd didn’t have a clue. The horns again replace all the electronica of the 1980 studio version. Not the final set of lyrics that he used on McCARTNEY II. Rating -8

“Goodnight Tonight”

-The non-album single was the first thing this band recorded together. Paul brings out “ROBO”… the electronic box that gives this disco laden hit it’s familiar beat…. Reproduced as well as possible. Rating – 8

“Yesterday”

-Paul and the horn section. Outstanding, as always. The crowd is given a verse to sing. Rating – 9

“Mull Of Kintyre”

-Single released prior to LONDON TOWN, recorded by Paul, Denny and Linda. Paul always pulls out the bagpipers when he plays this (usually in Scotland or Canada). Paul offers this as a sing-along….. and the crowd is shocked and delighted when they emerge on cue. I wish I could have seen him do this one once. They are too far off mic to be truly effective on this audio track, but I get it.. Rating – 8

“Band On The Run”

-Let’s end things with Wings most famous track in their catalog….

Chants and clapping to “We want Paul” and “Paul McCartney (clap clap clap clap)” to bring them back out for the encore……. Rating – 7.5

Overall this unreleased album rates as a 7.52/10. A proper release would have been a better mix (this wasn’t bad all things considered).

At the end Paul thanks all and thanks the band, “this is a new band, and I like them….”

Maybe by leaving your stash at home, and letting a roadie score for you discreetly in Japan would have been a better way to show them your thanks…. Just saying…..

Wings….. the last flight. The other side of the mountain for sure, but still a decent show and representation.

Next: 1990’s TRIPPING THE LIVE FANTASTIC. His first touring/recording band in his solo career.

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