Fly Over Britain (Beatles Master Works BMW019A/B)
Hippodrome, Bristol, England – September 10th, 1975
Disc 1 (43:03): Venus And Mars, Rock Show, Jet, Let Me Roll It, Spirits Of Ancient Egypt, Little Woman Love / C Moon, Maybe I’m Amazed, Lady Madonna, The Long And Winding Road, Medicine Jar, Soily
Disc 2 (67:52): Picasso’s Last Words, Richard Corey, Bluebird, I’ve Just Seen A Face, Blackbird, Yesterday, You Gave Me The Answer, Magneto And Titanium Man, Go Now, Junior’s Farm, Old Man River, Letting Go, Live And Let Die, Call Me Back Again, My Love, Listen To What The Man Said, Band On The Run, Hi Hi Hi
After Wings spent several days in Elstree studio rehearsing for their biggest tour, they opened in Southampton on September 9th. The following night they played the Hippodrome in Bristol. The sound quality is merely poor to fair being very thin, distant and distorted at certain points. There are a few minor cuts between some of the tracks and “Band On The Run” cuts out after four minutes, right when Paul sings “well the night was falling as the desert world…”
Like with the Southampton show, the playing is good but very cool at the outset. There is more emphasis upon playing the songs accurately than upon showmanship. McCartney keeps his comments to a minimum as they go through the early part of the set.
“Venus And Mars” begins the set. There is a very strange transition from “Rock Show” into “Jet.” Someone dropped a few measures and they come in too early. “Let Me Roll It” follows and, even in the mediocre recording, sounds devastating.
While Denny Laine is introducing “Spirits Of Ancient Egypt” Linda accidentally plays the synthesizer part. The audience are very enthusiastic however, and give a loud ovation throughout. “Maybe I’m Amazed” goes off well, but the two Beatles tunes that follow “Lady Madonna” and “The Long And Winding Road” receive an even bigger cheer.
The acoustic set has some uneasy hesitancy. The transition from “Picasso’s Last Words” into “Richard Corey” is a bit uneasy. Nobody responds when Paul asks Bristol if they know what a rhythm box is before “Bluebird.” He and Laine get a bit confused on the duet in the beginning, playing different melodies before the vocals come in. The string of Beatles tunes which finish the interlude are well received, especially “Yesterday.”
Singing “Yesterday” breaks the ice and everything warms up nicely. It’s almost as if the audience can relax and enjoy the rest of the show because they got what the wanted, and Paul can relax because he got it out of the way. Nevertheless, “You Gave Me The Answer” is called “old fashioned pop” and, instead of being dedicated to Fred Astair, is dedicated to someone named Jeff (it’s really unclear what’s going on).
Following “Junior’s Farm” the band encounter tuning problems with the equipment. One of the guitars goes out of tune and while it’s being fixed Paul sings a bit of “Old Man River” to entertain the crowd. Their latest single “Letting Go” follows but there is another delay with the guitars. Paul laughs in embarrassment as they again fix the guitar before they can play “Live And Let Die.”
The rest of the show continues with the guitar going out of tune for the third time in “My Love,” effectively ruining the solo in the middle. The rest of the tunes, “Listen To What The Man Said,” “Band On The Run” and the encore “Hi Hi Hi” continue with no problems.
Fly Over Britain is packaged in a double slimline jewel case. Overall it is an interesting release. It was produced when labels cared more for historic interest rather than profitability and is aimed for the hard core collector. This will probably be the only time to hear this rare and interesting concert unless a better sounding tape were to surface. The sound quality isn’t the best, but it is an important show in the history of Paul McCartney and Wings and is worth having.