FLASHBACK: Paul McCartney Kicks Off First North American Tour After 13 Years
It was 24 years ago tonight (November 23rd, 1989) that after a 13-year-stretch, Paul McCartney returned to the North American concert stage for the first of a five-night stand at the L.A. Forum. McCartney's band featured wife Linda McCartney on keyboards, Average White Band co-founder Hamish Stuart on guitar and bass, Former Pretenders lead guitarist Robbie McIntosh, keyboardist Paul "Wix" Wickens, and drummer Chris Whitten.
McCartney's last North American trek had been the blockbuster 1976 Wings Over America tour, and Wings' 1979/1980 tour was canceled after only 20 UK shows following his infamous January 1980 pot bust in Tokyo. Following the Japan debacle and John Lennon's murder the following December, McCartney continued to record and wrote and starred in the big budget, big screen flop Give My Regards To Broad Street, which was universally panned.
By the time of the 1989 tour, McCartney had released four studio albums -- Pipes Of Peace (1983, #15); Give My Regards To Broad Street (1984, #21); Press To Play (1986, #30); and Flowers In The Dirt (1989, #21) -- which, to that date, marked his worst charting releases. McCartney also hadn't racked up a Top 20 single hit since 1985's "Spies Like Us" scored him his last Top Ten hit to date. His 1987 double-album solo retrospective All The Best! only rose as high as a dismal Number 62.
For the 1989/1990 world tour -- which kicked off with a 28-date European leg on September 26th, 1989 in Oslo, Norway -- McCartney, in response to his dwindling chart appearances -- packed the comeback show with 50 percent Beatles classics -- most of which the "Fab Four," who retired from the road in 1966, never got the chance to play live.
Among the Beatles classics getting their first-ever live airings on the 1989/1990 world tour were "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Good Day Sunshine," "Eleanor Rigby," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Birthday," "Back In The U.S.S.R.," "Hey Jude" and the Abbey Road closing medley -- "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End."
The shows also featured McCartney's first-ever solo performances of "Can't Buy Me Love," "Things We Said Today," and a short-lived dance medley of "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You" -- as well as "McCartney's first-ever North American performances of "The Fool On The Hill," "Got To Get You Into My Life," and "Let It Be."
McCartney's 1989/1990 world tour is his most extensive to date, taking in a total of 108 concerts in Europe, North America, Japan, and South America.
McCartney's full setlist was represented on double-disc live set Tripping The Live Fantastic, which was released on October 29th, 1990. The album's single CD releases featured bonus live and soundcheck tracks from the tour.
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