Tripping The Live Fantastic (1990)

Album Cover

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After the unquestionable failure of the album Press To Play in 1986, followed by the musical interlude of the Russian album Back In The USSR, Paul recovers success by producing one of its major works, Flowers In The Dirt, whose quality is comparable with the one of Band On The Run or Tug Of War.

Flowers In The Dirt has the merit to rest on the collaboration of McCartney with Elvis Costello, but it also profits from the support of a whole bunch of skilful, experienced and well-known musicians. Paul knew how to gather these musicians around him to reform a solid group. It is this group who will enable him to connect the release of Flowers In The Dirt with a World Tour among the most prestigious. Indeed, this genuine team reconstituted around Paul, gives him all the bases to hit the road again 10 years after his lastest tour carried out with Wings (tour of the United Kingdom in 1979).


The "Paul McCartney World Tour " starts in September 1989 in Oslo, Norway, after a general repetition in Playhouse Theatre of Londres. It will last 10 months to be finally completed in Soldier Field Stadium of Chicago, at the end of July 1990.

07/89 London (repetition) England
08/89 New York City (press conference) THE USA (NY)
09/89 Oslo, Gothenberg, Stockholm Norway, Sweden
10/89 Hamburg, Frankfurt, Paris, Dortmund, München, Rome, Milan, Zurich Germany, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland
11/89 Madrid, Lyon, Rotterdam, Los Angeles Spain, France, Netherlands, USA (California)
12/89 Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, New York City USA (Illinois), Canada, USA (NY)
01/90 Birmingham, London England
02/90 Detroit, Pittsburgh, Worcester, Cincinnatti,
Indianapolis, Atlanta
USA (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio, Indiana, Georgie)
03/90 Tokyo, Seattle, Berkeley Japan, USA (Washington, California)
04/90 Temple, Irving, Lexington, Tampa, Miami,
Rio de Janeiro
USA (Arizona, Texas, Kentucky, Florida),
06/90 Glasgow, Liverpool, Knebworth Scotland, England
07/90 Washington, East Rutherford, Philadelphia, Hearts, Cleveland, Raleigh, Foxboro, Chicago USA (DC, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Illinois)

This gigantic tour will comprise
102 concerts given in 13 country in front of more than 2.800.000 fans. It is a true success: the spectacle is imposing, the quality of the sound is irreproachable and the performance of the group is exemplary .


Paul on piano. Paul proposes with his public all that it wishes:
  • new compositions drawn from its lastest album,
  • standards resulting from its Wings and solo period,
  • many traditional songs of The Beatles,
  • and some good old rock'n'roll titles from the Fifties.

And all this repertory delights several generations of fans whose collective memory is perfectly stimulated by the perfect restitution of these old standards of which Paul is sometimes the father, sometimes the legatee.

Paul on piano.

The tour is partly intended to support the "Friends of the Earth", an ecological association whose attachment with the defense of the environment is obviously shared by Paul:

" Save the Planet!"

does Paul declare Paul by stopping his concerts...

The tour will be rewarded with the title of "
International Tour of the Year" by Performance Magazine, a newspaper devoted to the concerts.

Linda successful tonight

Linda successful tonight

Paul at the bass Among the most memorable concerts of this tour, one will remember more particularly those given at  Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The first day, 132.000 fans go to the stadium to attend the show, one of the highest score for Paul. The second day, it is straightforwardly 184.000 people who come, thus establishing a new world record for the largest concert given in a stadium in the history of rock'n'roll.

One will also remember the concert of Liverpool, in June 1990, for which Paul makes his return on stage at his birthplace, and in which he covers an exceptional and memorable medley of some Beatles songs dedicated to his old brother John Lennon. The fans will thus be wondered by a rare interpretation of songs eminently "Lennonesque" like Strawberry Fields Forever, Help! and Give Peace A Chance.

Paul at the bass

Lastly, one will retain the participation of Paul and his group in the charity concert of Knebworth, in June 1990.


Linda McCartney on keyboards As already explained above, the concerts are perfectly interpreted by the same group who recorded Flowers In The Dirt.

Thus, apart from Paul (bass, piano, guitars) and Linda (keyboards), we are lucky enough to listen to Robbie McIntosh (electric guitar), Hamish Stuart (guitars, bass), Chris Whitten (drums) and Paul "Wix" Wickens (keyboards).

Linda McCartney on keyboards

Before working for McCartney, Robbie McIntosh, native of London, had particularly played with Chrissie Hynde within the band of The Pretenders.

Hamish Stuart, had not only played in various groups like the Average White Band, but had also composed some titles for Diana Ross, The Temptations and Jeffrey Osborne.

Chris Whitten, for its part, had already made its appearance at the side of Paul before the production of Flowers In The Dirt. Indeed, it is Chris who held the drums on the majority of the titles from the
Back In The USSR album, recorded in 1987.
Robbie McIntosh at the electric guitar

Robbie McIntosh at the electric guitar

Lastly, this whole group is joined by Paul "Wix" Wickens who will hold the keyboards. Wix did not take part in the sessions of Flowers In The Dirt, but its competence clearly refers to his past as a studio musician by the side of big names like Status Quo, Barry Manilow, The Pretenders or Paul Young.


The songs played during the tour are the matter for a double-CD heading Tripping The Live Fantastic, which gathers 37 titles recorded throughout the 102 concerts given by Paul and his band. The album comes out in November 1990 and is remaining in the US charts during 16 weeks, reaching the 26th best place during one week.

Electric Paul

The album starts with Showtime, a sound mixture of the backstage noises with those of the ritual through which the band goes every evening to recover all his energy before re-entering on stage.

Then, the album proposes all that made the repertory of Paul during the tour : 6 solo or Wings' songs, 15 traditional Beatles' titles, 6 extracts of Paul's lastest album, 7 old rock'n'roll standards, and 2 new compositions signed by the band.

Electric Paul...

Among the extracts of the lastest album, Flowers In The Dirt, first of all, one finds Figure Of Eight, an ideal piece to warm the audience at the beginning of the show.

Rough Ride, and especially the very electric We Got Married, are also there for quickly projecting the crowd into the universe of the  "McCartneysian" rock.

Put It There, one of the best pieces of Flowers In The Dirt, is the ideal acoustic song to let the public have a rest and feel the romantic and nostalgic happiness inspired by this typical ballad of Paul.

This One, a happy ballad, and My Brave Face, a rock song with some Beatles echoes, are two more titles which carry the crowd into the meanders of Paul's lastest studio album.

Rockin' Paul

Rockin' Paul...

Chris Whitten in a drums solo for Coming Up Paul also covers the repertory resulting from his twenty years in solo and with Wings.
One thus finds some of the titles traditionally interpreted on stage by Wings at the time of the '75 and '76 tours, like
Band One The Run, Maybe I'm Amazed, Jet and Live And Let Die.

Coming Up, which made its appearance in the repertory at the time of the '79 Wings tour, is also selected for this '89 tour. Lastly, an innovation with Ebony And Ivory, another number one obtained by Paul in the charts during the Eighties.

Chris Whitten in a drums solo for Coming Up

Beyond his solo titles, Paul grants a significant share of the repertory to his Beatles' compositions towards which he returns more willingly than at the time of his preceding tours. The 89' World Tour thus includes 15 Beatles titles, that is to say almost half of the repertory. Many artists currently cover Beatles' songs written by Paul: why he, their author, might not do it?

One thus finds some of the titles played on stage by Wings in 1975, like The Long And Winding Road, The Fool On The Hill or Yesterday. Paul also performs Got To Get You Into My Life and Let It Be, titles which appeared in the repertory during the '79 Wings tour.

One also finds a cover of Eleanor Rigby, already recovered in studio for the creation of the album Give My Regards To Broad Street a few years ago, as well as Get Back and I Saw Her Standing There, two titles covered on stage by Paul at the Prince's Trust Concert in 1986.

Paul rehearsing before the show.

Paul rehearsing before the show.

Electric improvisation on Sgt. Pepper's... The true Beatles "innovations", introduced by Paul in this repertory of 1989, come now, with in particular Things We Said Today, sublime ballad from 1964 that has not aged at all, and that benefits from the strongest interpretation on behalf of the band.

Let us add four devastating rock and roll songs to that, with Birthday, Can't Buy Me Love and Back In The USSR, which carry the public into a positive euphoria, as the mythical Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which gives place to a long electric improvisation on three guitars (Paul, Robbie and Hamish), during which musicians take an obvious pleasure, as well as the audience.

Electric improvisation on Sgt. Pepper's...

Lastly, and to light the lighters, Paul covers this other mythical title of Hey Jude, marvellous ballad sung in unison with the public. To conclude the show, Paul chooses to cover the medley which ends the album Abbey Road (last album of The Beatles), namely Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End.

Thus, Paul more easily agrees to take up with the past. He covers even some old rock and roll standards, which inspired his young career as a Beatle and to which he continues to pay tribute.
One is pleased thus to listen to
Crackin' Up (McDaniel), Twenty Flight Rock (Fairchild / Cochran), Sally (Haines / Leon / Towers), Ain't That A Shame (Domino / Bartholomew), If I Were Not Upon The Stage (Sutton / Turner / Bowsher), Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying (Greene) interpreted by Hamish Stuart, and Matchbox (Perkins) whose version covered here is quite different, and much better than the one played by The Beatles themselves in their early years.

Lastly, two titles, whose composition is credited to the whole band, are included in the repertory of Tripping The Live Fantastic: an instrumental piece, Inner City Madness, and an excellent ballad, Together.

Old Paulie still rockin'

Old Paulie still rockin'...


  • Birthday comes out in October 1990 before the issue of the album "Tripping" which comes out in November. This single contains 4 titles:
    • Birthday (Lennon/McCartney), same version as on the album Tripping The Live Fantastic, recorded at the concert of Knebworth, June 30th, 1990.
    • Good Day Sunshine (Lennon/McCartney), version recorded at the concert of Montreal, December 9, 1989.
    • P.S. Love Me Do (Lennon/McCartney), recorded at the Maracana Stadium in Rio, April 21st, 1990. This song was part of the Japanese version of the album Flowers In The Dirt.
    • Let' Em In (McCartney), recorded at the concert of Tokyo, March 5th, 1990.
  • All My Trials comes out in November 1990. It contains:
    • All My Trials, a traditional song arranged by McCartney and which appears on the mono-CD version of the album, Tripping The Live Fantastic Highlights.
    • C Moon (McCartney), recorded at the concert of Milan, October 26th, 1989.
    • Mull Of Kintyre (McCartney/Laine), recorded at the concert of Glasgow, June 23rd, 1990.
    • Put It There (McCartney), same version as on the album Tripping The Live Fantastic.
  • A second version of All My Trials comes out in December 1990 with:
    • All My Trials and C Moon, same versions as above.
    • the famous medley gathering Strawberry Fields Forever / Help / Give Peace A Chance (Lennon / McCartney) sung by Paul in tribute to John Lennon at the concert of Liverpool on June 28th, 1990.
  • The Long And Winding Road comes out at the end of 1990. It contains:
    • The Long And Winding Road (Lennon / McCartney), same version as on the album Tripping The Live Fantastic.
    • C Moon (McCartney)
    • Mull Of Kintyre (McCartney/Laine)
    • Put It There ( McCartney) 



The release of Tripping The Live Fantastic is accompanied by the edition in 1991 of a film which was carried out by Richard Lester on the World Tour and entitled Get Back. This superb video revives some extracts from various concerts everywhere in the world and it covers most of the repertory interpreted during this '89/'90 Tour. Moreover, the camera of Richard Lester largely lingered over the attitudes and the reactions of the public, endowing the whole video document with a hot atmosphere.

The concerts of the '89 Tour were widely recorded and a consequent number of bootlegs circulate whose sound quality is variable, but quite good on average.

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