Liverpool Holiday Box 1979 (Misterclaudel mccd-59/60/61/62)
Misterclaudel released a couple months ago a good recording from Wings’ final tour with Wings Over Wembley. They continue with the Back To The Egg theme with Liverpool Holiday Box 1979, a five disc set that collects three documents from the very first set of shows. These were the first live shows Wings had in more than three years and the first in Liverpool in four.
The Royal Court Theater, a part of Liverpool for centuries, was used for drama but had by this time invited musical acts to play and Wings were among the first. It is a smaller venue than the ones Wings were playing at that point and the tapes definitely have a small room quality to them. That is probably why they played four nights there.
November 23rd was an invitation only charity gig to raise funds for the theater and unfortunately only fragments of “Got To Get You Into My Life” and “Yesterday” are the only pieces to surface on the “Wings Over The World” documentary. The good news for the new Misterclaudel release is that most of the recordings, the complete tapes for the November 25th and November 26th shows, have only now surfaced and make their debut on a commercial bootleg.
The tape for the November 24th show receives its first release on CD in a long time and give collectors who love the final days of Wings more to listen to. The bad news is these news tapes are of poor sound quality. Not just poor, but the new tapes are bearly listenable and a chore to wade through.
The Royal Court Theater, Liverpool, England – November 24th, 1979
Disc 1 (75:52), November 24th: Got To Get You Into My Life, Getting Closer, Every Night, Again And Again And Again, I’ve Had Enough, No Words, Old Siam Sir, Maybe I’m Amazed, The Fool On The Hill, Let It Be, Hot As Sun, 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
The first disc contains the remaining tape from November 24th and the most well known of the three. On vinyl it was released on Liverpool Live! (ARC-011-50) and copied onto compact disc with the same name and label. A subsequent release titled Live In Tokyo (RAM005) on RAM Records followed. These three all gave this tape a November 25th attribution but Misterclaudel claims this is from the previous night.
Since there is no indication on the tapes which nights they belong to the label probably is taking the word of the taper. The label didn’t use the master tape for this show but followed the previous two cd releases by copying the vinyl. The recording is clear and suggests it was recorded by the stage on a reel-to-reel. It is distant and thin sounding and would rate about a six out of ten. It is also the best sounding of the three nights in this collection.
“Cook Of The House”, which is usually played after “No Words”, is missing but the tape is otherwise complete. It is said that later on in the tour the band became concerned about their performances but this night, being the second show, is very enjoyable with some of the rust showing in some bum notes. Paul sings a bit of “Maggie Mae” before “Yesterday”, and plays it again as an introduction to “Mull Of Kintyre” to much laughter. “Mull Of Kintyre” is complete with bagpipes and an audience sing-along. The mic cuts out at the beginning of “Band On The Run” and the vocals come in late but is otherwise a great version of the track with many screams by Paul.
The Royal Court Theater, Liverpool, England – November 25th, 1979
Disc 2 (44:34), November 25th: 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 3 (43:17): Spin It On, Go Now, Arrow Through Me, Wonderful Christmas Time, Coming Up, Goodnight Tonight, Yesterday, Mull Of Kintyre, Band On The Run
The second two discs contains the November 25th show. It is distant, dull and muffled sounding as if the microphone was hidden in the taper’s back pocket. The music can be made out with some effort and it sounds like a much more relaxed and energetic performance with none of the rust as the previous evening’s show.
“Twenty Flight Rock”, which is usually played before “Go Now”, is missing from the tape but it is otherwise complete and captures the band’s stage patter which for McCartney is always a lot of fun. After “Getting Closer” Paul says, “How you doin’, all right? It’s good to be back in town”. “Maybe I’m Amazed” has the “Baby Face” introduction, a game that McCartney plays frequently and will duplicate for the rest of the dates. Denny Laine says Paul will play guitar on “Hot As Sun” and dedicates it to someone named Martin before a very enjoyable delivery of the catchy number.
Paul tries to introduce “Spin It On” but is interrupted by hecklers (“This is another one from Back To The Egg and it’s called…” “Rock Show!”). His response is to quiz them on their favorite songs from the new album with someone close to the mic yelling “Getting Closer”. There is a cut in the tape after “Spin It On” and the sound quality improvs slightly while the band are still confronted by shouts. Laurence Juber introduces “Arrow Through Me” as another track from Back To The Egg and that song receives one of the loudest ovations of the evening but “Goodnight Tonight” brings down the house. It is a great performance showing little of the rust as the previous evening’s show.
The Royal Court Theater, Liverpool, England – November 26th, 1979
Disc 4 (43:65), November 26th: Opening announcement, 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
Disc 5 (46:48): Hot As Sun, 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
November 26th show is from the same taper as the previous evening and it has a similar timbre too. It is not as muffled but is more distant and is another challenging listening experience. “Twenty Flight Rock” is not listed on the liner notes but is present on the recording, and “Go Now” is tracked together with “Arrow Through Me”.
There are some tape wobbles in “The Fool On The Hill”, a small cut at the end of “Getting Closer” and a big cut in “Spin It On” leaving only forty-five seconds of the song. It begins with an opening announcement saying the band are “standing in the wings” before the trumpet fanfare leading into “Got To Get You Into My Life”. The band deliver a much tighter performance than the previous show with even Linda singing “Cook Of The House” on key. Juber tries to introduce Laine for “Go Now” but is interrupted by Paul singing “Tip-Toe Through The Tulips” in Tiny Tim style.
Liverpool Holiday Box 1979 is in a five way fatboy jewel case with an obi strip and insert listing all of the Misterclaudel, Non Plus Ultra, Picadilly Circus and Secret Garden releases. It is nicely packaged and the label didn’t attempt to fix the tapes with overzealous equalization leaving them in their normal, horrible condition. This is an important and exciting release since is reveals never-heard-before tapes from a generally poorly documented stage in Paul McCartney’s career. Listening to these tapes requires effort that will ultimately yield some insights and some enjoyment, but definitely are not easy listening.