Wings live: Wembley Arena, London

Wings performed at Wembley Arena in London, England, on 8 December 1979.

It was the 12th night of the 19-date Wings UK Tour 1979, and the second of four consecutive nights at Wembley.

Wings were Paul McCartney on vocals, guitar, bass guitar, and keyboards; Linda McCartney on vocals and keyboards; Denny Laine on vocals, guitar, and bass guitar; Laurence Juber on guitar; and Steve Holley on drums, plus a horns and brass section consisting of Howie Casey, Tony Dorsey, Steve Howard, and Thaddeus Richard.

Back to the Wembley Conference Centre auditorium. Denny, Laurence and Steve are on stage, checking levels and jamming and loosening up. And Paul is halfway down the hall behind the mixing desk, the mainman mucking in to get the best sound possible.

‘I wasn’t entirely happy with the sound we got here yesterday,’ he explains in an aside, as he picks up the desk mike and suggests that Laurence alters his volume a wee bit. It’s called caring.

During the concert, Paul announces ‘Here’s a number by Eddie Cochran’ and gives one of Rock’s most important figures a fine verbal promo. And yet the Wembley audience – and remember folks a Wings concert embraces the young and the younger to the old and the older – didn’t appear to ‘know’ who this Cochran cat was. Weird. Was he not probably the first social-political commentator in r ‘n’ r with lines like ‘I’d like to help you son but you’re too young to vote’ — ie: ‘I don’t give a damn because you’re just a kid, you’re in no position to put me into power so get lost’, lyrics written even long before Dylan failed his audition to join Bobby Vee’s band. And didn’t dear Marc Bolan record a fine interpretation of that very same Cochran song, ‘Summertime Blues’? And didn’t Sid Vicious, unconsciously or not, translate Cochran’s ‘Somethin’ Else’ superbly with Steve ‘n’ Paul Pistol? Ah well.

Rock ‘n’ Roll elitists may scorn McCartney and Wings’ more gentle recordings, but, when the band pulled the trigger on ‘Twenty Flight Rock’ with Paul vocalising ‘oodh, I got a girl with a record machine…’ those so-called critics have either got cement in their ears or are bigoted beyond redemption. On a number like this Wings steam more than all the sauna baths in Japan.

BP Fallon
Club Sandwich #17, 1980

The Beatles played at the Empire Pool, as Wembley Arena was then known, on 21 April 1963, 26 April 1964, 11 April 1965, and 1 May 1966.

Wings returned to the venue on 19, 20, and 21 October 1976. Paul McCartney performed solo concerts there on 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, and 26 January 1990.

Wings 1979 UK Tour poster

Concert setlist

Wings UK Tour 1979 dates

Last updated: 11 January 2024
Wings live: Wembley Arena, London
Wings live: Wembley Arena, London
Also on this day...

Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.

Leave a Reply