Wings Over Sweden 1972 (Beatles Master Works BMW 021 A/B)
Scandinavium Halle, Gothenburg, Sweden – August 10th, 1972
Disc 1 (61:00): Introduction / Eat At Home, Smile Away, Bip Bop, 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 (53:37): Wild Life, Mary Had A Little Lamb. Bonus tracks, Kungliga Tennishallen, Stockholm Sweden – August 7th, 1972: Introduction, Eat At Home, Smile Away, Bip Bop, Mumbo, 1882, I Would Only Smile, Give Ireland Back To The Irish, Blue Moon Of Kentucky, The Mess, Best Friend
Paul McCartney’s arrest for the possession of marijuana in January 1980 in Japan all but ended Wings. It was the most high profile of several arrests relating to his use of marijuana. In 1972 he was busted on two occasions. The second time was on September 20th he was busted for growing cannabis on his farm in Scotland.
But the first was a month before while on tour in Europe. Wings played in Gothenburg, Sweden on August 10th. At the end of their performance the PA system was abruptly cut off by the police. Paul and others were taken in for questioning after officials intercepted seven ounces of marijuana at the hotel. They were fined US$1,200 and released and although Paul joked that it would “make good publicity” for the tour, this arrest would cause him much trouble trying to gain visas for future tours.
Wings Over Sweden 1972 contains two audience recordings. The main recording contains about two-thirds of the Gothenburg show, from the beginning though “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” The finale of the show, which was most likely “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Hi Hi Hi” and “Long Tall Sally” is missing along with the police interference.
The sound is fair to good but slightly distorted in the bass frequencies and is a bit distant from the stage. It’s not great but is good enough to appreciate the atmosphere of the performance.
As the tape opens the band are in the middle of the fast tempo instrumental heavy metal introduction to “Eat At Home” which had been installed as the set opener that week. After the rockabilly salute of “Smile Away,” with McCartney addressing the people at the back of the auditorium, he tells them: “Good evening, welcome to the Scandinavium. We’d like to carry on with ‘Bip Bop.'”
“1882” is referred to as a song from the upcoming album which McCartney says at every show from when it was introduced on the university tour in February though this summer tour of Europe. It would never appear on a Wings or McCartney LP, however, and would never again be played live after this tour. “Give Ireland Back To The Irish” is introduced as the song the BBC banned because they hated it. The first half of the set ends with “The Mess.”
The unreleased rockabilly “Best Friend” starts off the second half of the show. This portion of the show contains several very long numbers such as “Henry’s Blues” and “Wild Life” stretched to almost eight minutes long (very long for McCartney). Gothenburg cuts out right at the end of “Mary Had A Little Lamb” unfortunately.
The bonus tracks claim to be from August 7th Stockholm show, but they really are from the following week’s show in Groningen, Netherlands on August 19th. A more complete edition of the tape can be found on Live In Groningen (Darthdisc DD 009). It would have been a great addition if it were legitimate, but it seems no tapes circulate from the Stockholm show that are genuinely available.
The artwork contains several photos from the Wild Life era photo shoot and a live shot of Paul in the insert. Overall this is a good release for the McCartney and Wings completist for an interesting historical event. However the sound quality, and the tape’s incompleteness, really prevent this from being recommended for all.