Belgium 1972 (Voxx-0014-01/02)
Cine Roma, Antwerp, Belgium – August 22nd, 1972
Disc 1 (61:00): rock intro / Eat At Home, Smile Away, Bip Bop, Mumbo, Blue Moon Of Kentucky, 1882, I Would Only Smile, The Mess, Best Friend, Soily, I Am Your Singer, Seaside Woman, Say You Don’t Mind, Henry’s Blues, Give Ireland Back To The Irish, Cottonfields
Disc 2 (32:21): My Love, Mary Had A Little Lamb, Maybe I’m Amazed, Hi Hi Hi, Long Tall Sally. Bonus tracks: Best Friend #1 (acoustic guitar overdubs), Best Friend #2 (backing vocals / harmony / guitar overdubs), Best Friend #3 (alternate mix)
Wings’ Antwerp show is perhaps the definitive recording of the definitive show from their first line up. The audience recording has been in almost constant circulation for close to forty years, first pressed on Belgium 1972. “Best Friend” was used for the various incarnations of the Cold Cuts project that was never issued, and an incomplete, very good soundboard recording has been issued before on Cottonfields (GEMA 2325) in 1990, I Am Your Singer (Living Legend LLRCD 087) issued in 1991, Got Any Toothpicks? (Madman 72) in 1998 and most recently as bonus tracks on Birds On The Wings (Misterclaudel MCCD-65/66).
Voxx edited the soundboard recording with the audience to form a complete show. The edits are frequent since they edited all of the between-song banter not found on the soundboard tape, but they are very smooth and seamless and are not a distraction. The difference in sound quality between the two is also not an issue.
The show starts off with the audience recording which runs until the soundboard picks up with “Best Friend.” The soundboard picks up there and runs through “My Love.” The audience then picks up and runs to the end of the show.
Antwerp, along with the show from the Hague in Amsterdam, are among the best shows from the tour. Not only do the occur at the end where they are becoming a tight live act, but the band is aware they are recording the shows professionally for release and are determined to deliver a great concert.
The opening salvo is playful, getting the audience into a festive mood including a fun version of “Bip Bop.” It is an absurd song and one that McCartney would soon abandon and never play it again. The new song “1882” slows the show down, both for the slow tempo of the tune and for the surreal, depressing lyrics. Denny Laine’s “I Would Only Smile” is a nice pop confection which restores the energy level.
The soundboard recording thankfully preserves the best part of the show. “Best Friend” is good enough for consideration of an official release, but also “Seaside Woman” sounds tight, joyous and in tune. The soundboard also captures a very rare performance of Lead Belly’s “Cotton Fields.” In some shows they would play a bit of “Turkey In The Straw,” but they are lead into an impromptu performance of the classic. This is the only time Wings performed this number.
The show ends with “Hi Hi Hi” with “Long Tall Sally” as the only encore. Voxx include also the various versions of “Best Friend” from this show including extra overdubs. Belgium 1972 is packaged in a gorgeous cardboard gatefold sleeve made of glossy paper with extensive liner notes in the middle. This is the definitive version of one of the definitive shows from one of the first Wings’ tours.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)