Wings Over Wembley (Misterclaudel mccd-42/43)
Wembley Arena, London, England – December 7th, 1979
Disc 1: Got To Get You Into My Life, Getting Closer, Every Night, Again And Again And Again, I’ve Had Enough, No Words, Cook Of The House, Old Siam Sir, Maybe I’m Amazed, The Fool On The Hill, Let It Be, Hot As Sun
Disc 2: Spin It On, Twenty Flight Rock, Go Now, Arrow Through Me, Wonderful Christmas Time, Coming Up, Goodnight Tonight, Yesterday, Mull Of Kintyre, Band On The Run. Bonus tracks, “Buddy Holly Week 1979”, Hammersmith Odeon, London, UK – September 14th, 1979: Raining In My Heart, It’s So Easy, Bo Diddley
From Wings’ final tour for Back To The Egg in 1979 there has been very few tapes to surface. The best sounding material is the officially released fragment from the Kampuchea concert. Unofficial releases include a fair audience recording of that show, plus Live In Tokyo (!) on RAM Records (RAM005) released in 1991 containing the November 25th concert and Liverpool Live on Ayatollah Records (ARC-011-50) with selections from November 26th. More recently the Glasgow show has seen many releases beginning with the Vigotone label.
The December 7th Wembley show was also released on vinyl twice. First on a 2LP set called Wings Over Wembley on Melvin/POD Records (MM-13) and this was copied in America on Wembley Arena. Wings Over Wembley on Misterclaudel is the very first release of this tape on compact disc. It is merely a fair to good audience recording but complete surprisingly listenable. Misterclaudel claim this is sourced directly from the master cassette tape. Unfortunately that is not true. This is a direct copy of the vinyl recording with evident surface noise and the occasional pop and click. Misterclaudel are a reliable label and have released sterling products but this claim is blatantly false.
The December 7th show is the first of four consecutive nights at the Wembley Arena right in the middle of the tour. Mick Brown of Rolling Stone wrote, “Everything about this performance seemed designed to take the spotlight off Paul McCartney and spread it among the rest of Wings…the impression given was not that of a deity with a boxful of thunderbolts, but a band on-stage for the hell of it.” The set list is one of the most radical with obvious tunes like “Jet” being dropped in favor of oddball choices like “Cook Of The House” and “Hot As Sun”.
Several Beatle songs make their live debut like “Got To Get You Into My Life” (an effective opener) and “Fool And The Hill”. But whereas the Venus & Mars Wings had the arena rock feel, this line up is stripped down with what in their minds is a punk mentality. The horn section is still present, but “Old Siam Sir” is one of the catchiest of the new tunes along with “Spin It On” which McCartney introduces with “any of you punk people who like to pogo? Yes, we know about that!” The tape also captures all of McCartney’s scripted speeches between songs and the “Baby Face” introduction to “Maybe I’m Amazed”.
The best part of the concert is on the second disc where they play a very swing-like arrangement of Eddie Cochrane’s “Twenty Flight Rock”. Denny Laine receives a warm ovation for the old tune “Go Now”. “Wonderful Christmas Time” was their latest single and very appropriate for the holiday season. “All the songs we’ve done tonight we’ve released in one form or another. Fancy hearing one that hasn’t been released yet? Good because we’re gonna do it anyway” McCartney says before “Coming Up” which would be released as a solo piece on McCartney II and a full band version of the Kampuchea LP.
Afterwards he introduces Robo “an automated rhythm thing” for the next song “Goodnight Tonight”. A very mellow version of “Mull Of Kintyre” closes the show and the encore is a compact version of “Band On The Run.” The bonus tracks are three songs from the 1979 “Buddy Holly Week”. This is an annual event established by McCartney in 1976 as a birthday celebration for the late singer. The three songs have surfaced before on 2 Buddies on Holly Days in 2000. They are sourced from a very good and enjoyable soundboard. Overall it is great to finally see this tape pressed onto compact disc by the Misterclaudel people. It is a disappointment their claim of using the tape source for the Wembley gig is not true.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)