(237) McCartney and Wings Over America, 1976

I received the phone call at work, quite unexpectedly, on May 10, 1976.  It was my brother John.

“Do you want a couple a tickets to the Paul McCartney concert?”

Of course my answer was yes, and I scrambled to find someone to take one of the tickets, as the concert was that night.  My friend Debbie was available, and we made the sojourn to Richfield Coliseum.

To put in perspective, the Beatles had only been broken up for 6 years.  John Lennon was still very much alive. McCartney’s tour in America was highly anticipated. Why I had not bought tickets myself, I’m not sure. At the time I was an avid concert attender. I had fallen deeply in love with the Band on the Run album, playing in incessantly in 1974. Paul was the first Beatle to tour America. Why I didn’t pay more attention, I don’t know.

But the spontaneous nature of attending the show definitely had an impact.

After dealing with tons of traffic, we got to the concert hall and immediately hit the bathroom, which was jammed. When Debbie and I went to find our seats, the concert was about to begin. The lights had already dimmed and the early strains of “Venus and Mars” were starting. We hadn’t quite found our seats — which were horizontally placed not too far right of the stage up in the bleacher area — when we froze. Something overcame me in that moment. The entire Coliseum was ROARING. I had been to many concerts there, but had never heard this before.

It was Beatlemania.

The band hit the stage and were were mesmerized and screaming ourselves. The usher came and shuffled us to our seats. Once seated, I was able to catch my breath, but the mesmerized feeling lasted. My favorite part of the entire show was McCartney’s acoustic set where he sang “Richard Cory,” “Bluebird,” “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” “Blackbird,” and “Yesterday.” We were thrilled by the unexpected explosions during “Live and Let Die.” At the time stage shows like that were just coming into vogue, so this was a new and unexpected twist.

All in all the concert lasted two hours. I felt he had given us everything he had to give and more. Paul McCartney could have done the simplest show and it would have been great. We felt that his showmanship — and the band’s as well — took it to an extra level. We loved it.

Above is a link to the concert video called Rockshow that was produced in 1980 from the show. It includes the set list. Watching the video simply cannot capture the intensity the audience felt being in the presence of the great McCartney. Yet, I am grateful for this video that mirrors the show I saw on May 10, 1976.

Here is the set list from the show:

  1. Venus and Mars” +
  2. Rock Show” +
  3. Jet” +
  4. Let Me Roll It
  5. “Spirits of Ancient Egypt” (lead vocal Denny Laine)
  6. “Medicine Jar” (lead vocal Jimmy McCulloch)
  7. Maybe I’m Amazed” +
  8. Call Me Back Again” *
  9. Lady Madonna” * +
  10. The Long and Winding Road” *
  11. Live and Let Die
  12. Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me)” *
  13. Richard Cory” *
  14. Bluebird” +
  15. I’ve Just Seen a Face
  16. Blackbird
  17. Yesterday
  18. You Gave Me the Answer
  19. Magneto and Titanium Man
  20. Go Now
  21. My Love” *
  22. Listen to What the Man Said” +
  23. Let ‘Em In
  24. Time to Hide
  25. Silly Love Songs
  26. Beware My Love
  27. Letting Go
  28. Band on the Run
  29. Hi, Hi, Hi
  30. Soily
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