Paul McCartney & Wings – Birds On The Wings (Misterclaudel MCCD-65/66)

Birds On The Wings(Misterclaudel MCCD-65/66)

KB Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark – August 1st, 1972

Disc 1 (61:46):  Bip Bop, Smile Away, Mumbo, 1882, I Would Only Smile, Give Ireland Back To The Irish, Blue Moon Of Kentucky, The Mess, Best Friend, Soily, I Am Your Singer, Seaside Woman, Henry’s Blues, Say You Don’t Mind

Disc 2 (66:59):  Wild Life, Mary Had A Little Lamb, My Love, Maybe I’m Amazed, Hi Hi Hi.  Bonus tracks, One Roma, Antwerp, Belgium – August 22nd, 1972:  Best Friend, Soily, I Am Your Singer, Seaside Woman, Say You Don’t Mind, Henry’s Blues, Give Ireland Back To The Irish, Cottonfields, My Love

Wings’ first tour of Europe in the summer 1972 took a short break after the July 22nd show in Montreux in Switzerland.  During the break Paul and Linda flew to New York to attend Mick Jagger’s birthday party concert on July 26th in Madison Square Garden before the tour resumed on August 1st in Copenhagen, Denmark.  The break was beneficial because Paul’s voice was becoming strained under the stress of his most prolonged touring is six years and the tape from the Montreux show confims how poor it was.

Birds On The Wings is the silver pressed debut of the audience recording documenting this very rare show.  The sound quality  is fair but listenable and gives a good indication of the atmosphere of the event.  “Mumbo” sounds a little bit more distorted than the rest and about ten seconds in “I Am Your Singer,” between 2:50 and 3:00, sound like another tape source or another show entirely.

The setlist played in Copenhagen resembles those from the first leg, beginning with the catchy “Bip Bop” followed by the rockabilly “Smile Away.”  Paul greets the audience before “Mumbo,” asks if anyone speaks English, and wants them to start clapping in rhythm.  After “1882” Denny Laine is given his slot with “I Would Only Smile.”  Like other stops on the tour the first half of the show ends with “The Mess” before an short intermission. 

The second half starts off with “Best Friend” followed by a quick and heavy version of “Soily.”  While Paul is introducing Linda and her tune “Seaside Woman” someone relatively close to the tape recorder shouts “we want Beatles!!”  McCartney ignores all such requests and the show proceeds as planned.  

“Mary Had A Little Lamb” is dedicated to Ian Holmes, one of the roadies who was celebrating a birthday.  “My Love” sounds pretty even without the famous guitar solo that would be recorded the following month when the song was finally recorded in the studio. 

Before the last song Paul tells the audience “we have one song left … get off your bottoms and do a jig … this is called ‘Hi Hi Hi'”  Two versions of the songs are played:  a mid-tempo heavy rocking version followed by the more upbeat and quicker version that would be recorded.  “Long Tall Sally” was the encore for the tour and what sounds like the opening notes to that song are audible on the tape before it cuts out.

Misterclaudel include bonus tracks from the August 22nd Antwerp, Belgium show that have been issued previously on I Am Your Singer (Living Legend LLRCD 087) issued in 1991 and Got Any Toothpicks? (Madman 72 ) in 1998.  This is a very good soundboard recording which yielded “Best Friend” to the various incarnations of the Cold Cuts project that was never issued. 

The tape opens with Linda asking “got any toothpicks?” before a performance of “Best Friend.”  Of course Linda’s question was edited out of the final edit.  For the only time on the tour, Paul and Co. performed the Leadbelly standard “Cottonfields”, a huge European hit for the Beach Boys in 1970.

Birds On The Wings was announced in 2007 as a new release, receiving publicity on the Misterclaudel catalogue inserts but then disappeared for reasons unexplained.  The packaging is in a fatboy duel jewel case with thick inserts and photographs from the Wild Life sessions on the front and rear.  Because this is a newly found show in a listenable recording, it is worth having.      

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