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LIVERPOOL SOUND COLLAGE (2000)

“I compiled sounds and made the basic collage … I asked Cian Ciarán of Super Furry Animals to mix something from it, which he kindly did, and my mate Youth used his talents to add a final touch.” – Paul

Because McCartney was so heavily involved in its creation, in addition to his production credit, Liverpool Sound Collage, which was released in 2000, is generally considered a part of his main discography and is filed under his name.

Asked by artist Peter Blake to create something musical and with a Liverpool spirit to it, in order to complement his concurrent artwork exhibition.

Liverpool Sound Collage was nominated for the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album but lost to Radiohead “Kid A.”

“It’s a new little piece of The Beatles. It’s an outbreak from my normal stuff. It’s a little side dish that is not to be confused with my other work.” – Paul

“It’s really weird. I think Cian [the band’s resident mixer] was fucked off his head and he saw Paul McCartney at an awards ceremony and they talked about mixing, so Cian gave him his phone number and Paul phoned up the following week. And then the following week to that a pile of tapes arrived at our office from the Apple Corporation. All dusty boxes with a heavy letter from the Apple Corp. saying “these tapes contain previously unreleased Beatles material and should not be played anywhere but our broadcast area…” – Gruff Rhys, from The Super Furry Animals.

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Although essentially a Paul McCartney release, four of the five tracks on Liverpool Sound Collage were co-credited to The Beatles.

The ambient electronic pieces came about after artist Peter Blake asked McCartney to create a soundtrack for the On Collage exhibition at Liverpool’s Tate Gallery in 2000.

Blake had previously famously designed the iconic artwork for The Beatles’ album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with his former wife, Jann Haworth.

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When this album came out in 2000 I really wasn’t expecting it, and this falls into that very special one of a kind release for Paul. Yes, it is in the same spirit as The Fireman albums. Youth (his Fireman partner) is featured here as engineer on every track and the listed writer of “Real Gone Dub Made In Manifest In The Vortex Of The Eternal Now.”

One “Lord Doufous” is also listed as recording engineer for each of the five tracks. Paul is listed as the producer.

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Track Listing

1. Plastic Beetle 8:23

-Credited to Paul McCartney and The Beatles. We hear the voices of the John and Paul over a rhythm track that weaves slowly. A note Paul sings is stretched and moves within the slowly changing tapestry of this and each track. We hear lovely backwards sounds melodically pasted. George and Ringo are also heard. This track, and the album in general is best appreciated under the headphones with a careful listen. Proper medication wouldn’t hurt either! There are some really interesting transitions, and it never really gets TOO repetitive. The end is a flourish of Beatles sounds, layered and mixed…. Wonderful. Rating – 9

2. Peter Blake 2000 16:54

-Credited to The Beatles and Super Furry Animals. The word “Blake” is sampled and stitched and manipulated until it morphs at 2:23. This is strictly sound manipulation at this point, and quite frankly, unless the medication was acid, boring.

The “word” is now been transformed into “Liverpool.” Odd sounds and shapes…. for nearly 17 minutes. Where is my bong??????? “George” saying “do what you want to do” is tweaked and altered and morphed in a nice way and the song picks up some steam. The drums are sampled from “Free Now” track and Beatles session tapes. It’s a nice groove that gives us the “free now” groove used in track five.

Overall, this is a long road, filled with many twists and turns. There are many interesting sounds and ideas and mixtures of the both. But nearly 17 minutes makes this again a very specific album to listen to. “Chinga-Chinga..” Rating – 7.5

3. Real Gone Dub Made In Manifest In The Vortex Of The Eternal Now 16:37

-Credited to Youth. He uses the drum beat from “Free Now” and mixes many of the samples we have heard, or slightly different samples from the same source.

Youth uses more sources, and many will be used in the next two songs. They all had access to the same load of originals source material and each has taken the care to mix and blend and re-imagine each. Different tracks, but each holding the same threads.

The transformation of the threads is what makes each of the tracks unique. Rating – 7

4. Made Up. 13:01

-In his 1973 special Paul recorded a segment which Liverpool residents were interviewed and it ended up as a family sing a long at a local pub.

Paul talks, asks their name, their favorite “group”, city, what they thlnk of “The Beatles,” or just explaining the purpose of why he is recording. We can hear the “Liverpool Oratorio” chorus samples over the steady “Free Now” drum track. Paul arrives at the Cavern Club to applause.. and pre-show chat. Paul again uses many of the previous samples… but they are used least effectively on this one. Easily, the least interesting of all the tracks….. Rating – 5.5

5. Free Now. 3:30

The culmination of all of the tracks. Taking George’s “Do What You Want To Do” and it transitions into “Free Now.” Many of the effects we have heard in previous tracks are brought together and make this the “single”of the album. Now, we know it wasn’t. It basically stays in the same music traffic lane most of it’s 3:30. Nice use of previous samples. Rating – 7

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Overall, this album rates as 7.2/10. Not an easy listen, but still a part of his entire output I’m sure he is very happy with. Put it on the stereo on those very special occasions.

Next, 2005’s TWIN FREAKS!

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Rupert The Bear

The unreleased Soundtrack to the unreleased film (1971-77)

This review is going to feature quite a bit of “What if?,” “What was?,” “What is?” And “What could be?”

THE HISTORY

I think that for Paul McCartney, “I THINK” he really wishes that this had happened instead of what really did…. (Some are quite obvious while others feature my wish as well).

The Beatles would have STAYED creative brothers and never broken up. They continued to work on amazing albums as their best songs combined on new albums only added to the legend.

The band allowed themselves to work on solo projects, and helped each other as often as they wanted.

The money would be handled by the right people after Brian Epstein’s death. Each of whom made the right decisions on every aspect of it. The money issues would never come into play etc…

Wives and girlfriends caused no internal or external problems, and were unnoticed parts of the cherished Beatles recording sessions unless asked. They were there…but no beds.

Apple was never started.

John and Paul hadn’t agreed to put every song as Lennon-McCartney back in 1962. I feel Paul wishes they had just been honest about each, and MOST IMPORTANT is that Brian Epstein never allowed to sell or lose any or their song rights or get swindled on merchandising rights.

That they would have learned to tour with 1970’s and 1980’s technology…. They would have full band sets and solo sets and the shows would be mind-blowing.

John would have had better security and had a chance to live a full life.

The Beatles would have ended after George’s 2001 death, unless John had died of natural caused earlier.

The final one…. I think Paul would have loved The Beatles to have made this project we are discussing today. He loves hand drawn cell animation and acquired the rights to the Rupert books in one of his first non-musical investments in the late 1960’s. He announced that he had bought the rights to the Rupert catalog on the day he released McCARTNEY 1, which also was the day announced he was leaving the band.

I think he loved how Yellow Submarine ultimately went down with the critics and fans. Since the Beatles wouldn’t be making any more of the HELP type silly films, then outside of recording, filming concerts or producing animated films could have been a direction had the band stayed together.

In retrospect “Let It Be” was supposed to be that type of film. The editing forever ruined its true worth. If only the “Get Back” film we saw in 2021 had come out in 1970….

For their last film commitment they even floated the idea of doing “Lord Of The Rings” (with them in the lead roles) before making it “Let It Be” in 1970.

But with the actual history of the break up Paul was free to do and start all of the whims he tried to get the others to do.

Paul formed a band, and toured.

He recorded a film filled with live footage and animation in the 1972 period called “The Bruce McMouse Show” which finally was wonderfully finished and saw the light of day a few years ago.

At the same time Paul also wanted to do a full length animation of the newly acquired RUPERT library, so he must have set into works in 1971 the starting of maybe story boarding etc….

But he came up with a complete story in musical fashion. This “album” is roughly 70-75% or so finished.

Paul hums and whistles or skats within songs where maybe he hadn’t finished lyrics.

The sound quality is very good for a bootleg, but not nearly as good as that from any final mix source. But the sound is still good, not great. There is an orchestra track on some songs mixed in, but it sounds somewhat bland with less than 100% sound depth (I’m Listening under the headphones). The piano used is the same on each track, and sounds like the kind played in a pool hall.

Recording was started in 1971 with the original 4 person Wings. Denny is clearly heard on the harmonies, but not so much Linda. Overall it sounds like Paul did the drumming and everything else, and shared guitar work with Laine. Except for one song I don’t hear the Seiwell sound…

Paul gives a narration before every song describing what is happening in the story…

If he had finished this soundtrack without a film… the critics would have went wild as this is strictly for children or drug taking adults…. Paul and Linda fell into the later.

In 1971 the film was never made. The ideas stayed. In 1978 the film was never made. What came was Paul saving one song and giving it the full animation treat in “Rupert And The Frog Song.” If the entire film was given this care and quality music, it would have been amazing.

But “Frog Song” was huge, the best selling VHS video sale of 1984. It was featured as the opener to the 1984 film “Give My Regards To Broad Street.” It also was featured on Disney channel.

Paul took another segment idea in his 1997 short animated “Tropic Island Hum.” The Disney connection was here as it opened for the movie, “Hercules.”

Now, works are underway for another film, “High In The Clouds.” This is again, is another segment from this Rupert album.

It is interesting to see this project start brewing in late 1969, never FULLY blossom but still it yields dividends to this day.

THE ALBUM

Rupert Song (version 1)

Paul: “Once upon a time there was a young white bear named Rupert.”

-Besides “We All Stand Together” the most commercial sounding song, that even with its child like quality stays in your head long after it ends.

Paul seems content on the melody, but the words aren’t flushed out. Paul sings words that fit the phrase but are meaningless. Denny and Linda add nice harmonies on the chorus. Would have like to see this one finished properly. Rating – 8

2. Tippi Tippi Toes (Parents Theme)

Paul: “He lived with his mother and father in the village of Nutwood.”

-Piano only, Paul on drums. It goes through a few tempo changes, aided by acoustic guitar and synths. It has kind of an old-time driving down the road feel at points. Some nice chord changes…. But was it supposed to have lyrics? Rating -7

3. Flying horses

Paul: “One day he is exploring in the woods when he is surprised by a black winged stallion leading a herd of white flying horses. They tell Rupert of a secret mission that the king of the birds has for him. And the stallions says they have been sent to take him to the king. So Rupert sits on the leaders back, and off they gallop.”

Horses run…. The sounds are there as they move along, with acoustic and electric guitars helping drive the herd.

Not much here….. besides the horses… Paul strums the melody of the next song as the song ends…and the horses seemingly stopped. Rating – 6

4. When The Wind Is Blowing

(Paul & Linda McCartney)

Paul: “After a long run they leap off the edge a high cliff and start to fly to the clouds.” (“High In The Clouds” segment)

Another where Paul just skats until he get to the “When The Wind Is Blowing” line. A gentle acoustic number that has a few nice chord changes but was never seemingly finished. His bass playing is evident for the first time. There are some nice Spanish guitar flourishes here and leaves me wanting more…. He even does a few verses whistling…. Rating – 6

5. The Palace Of The King Of The Birds

Paul: “As the huge clouds part they see the palace of the birds.

This piano based instrumental feature Paul multi-tracking vocals on harmony but again, no lyrics. Has a bit of the “Frog Song” feel to it. Rating – 6

6. Sunshine Sometime

Paul: “The King explains that the North wind has gone out of control and is about to freeze the whole world over. Rupert agrees to help and flies away, carried by a giant bird. But they meet icy winds which freeze the birds wings over, and he has to drop Rupert, who manages to parachute down on a tropical island.” (“Tropic Island Hum” segment)

-We’ve heard this song before. A wonderful little ditty. It was given to us as a bonus track on the RAM box set. I have heard this song with (1978?) and without lyrics (1971?). This would have made a nice addition to the first Wings album. The bass work is amazing. Rating – 8

https://www.facebook.com/108630984338914/videos/1701413923591462

7. Sea / Cornish Wafer/Storm

Paul: “After a celebration with the natives, where Rupert meets “Sailor Sam” (1973 BAND ON THE RUN reference), they set off the next day across the sea.”

This is an amazing 3 part song. Paul and Denny really bring out the slow sea dirge “Sea.” One can feel the boat slow journey across the open water. It then quickly changes into the sea shanty “Cornish Wafer.” Why wasn’t this song dusted off for “LONDON TOWN?” They, sounding like “Feet On The Ground” from MEMORY ALMOST FULL, Paul and Denny (or Lawrence etc..) share the guitar stage on this segment as the boat finds itself rocked by the electronic tidal wave. Wow…. Rating – 9

8. Nutwood Scene

Another piano instrumental, very old time sounding musical phrases depicting rural life. Birds chirp gleefully throughout the song. The least flushed out of the piano based songs. Rating – 4.5

9. Walking In The Meadow

Paul: “After a visit by Doctor Lion, Rupert begins too feel better. One day he goes for a walk in the countryside.”

Now…this could have been the link that starts off the “Frog Song” film, where Rupert takes off for a walk and meets the frogs and owls…. There he left his home…. Maybe this is easier to explain than Dr. Lion?

-Another whistler from Paul. He mouths sounds but no words. No, THIS is the least interesting unfinished piano instrumental. Rating – 4

10. Sea Melody

Paul: “Rupert now decides to carry on with his mission. And with the help from the professor he set off on a flying bubble to seek the advice of the “wise goat of the mountains.” After many adventures he meets Jack Frost but they are both buried by a massive avalanche of snow and ice. The friendly south wind rescues them and after a fierce battle they and all their helpers defeat the north wind.”

Wow…. that was a lot of story that went by between the last two songs…. You sort of need the movie. On the last, Paul plays a familiar sounding melody that lifts the mood. The synth and backing vocals are sweet. Rating – 6

https://www.facebook.com/108630984338914/videos/1531980577241244

11. Rupert Song (version 2)

Paul : “The balance between the winds is restored and Rupert and his friends say goodbye and head home for tea.”

-Paul reprises the opening tracks, just like he did on track one. A different skat vocal track and a bit shorter. Either Denny or Lawrence play some nice phrases on guitar. Rating – 8

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Overall this unreleased album rated as 6.59/10. We could probably add at least 0.5-1 full point out of 10 if the songs were finished to satisfaction.

Overall I hear the faint melody in various songs that Paul may have brought into other future recordings. Nothing exact, but the melodies remind me of similar melodies over the last 45 years.

Next: 2000’s Liverpool sound Collage

Kind of sad, to do so much work on something and not having it see the light of day or even get finished.

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RUSHES (1998)

RUSHES is a 1998 ambient techno album by The Fireman, the second by Paul McCartney and producer Youth.

Better received then predecessor Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest, Rushes is distinguished by not relying so much on McCartney’s previous recordings.

Rushes was released in the UK on Hydra on 21 September 1998, while in the US it was released on Capitol on 20 October 1998. The album was also released on double vinyl. Two 12″ singles were released from the album, both mixes of “Fluid“. The first 12”, released on the same day as and with the same name as the album, contains the tracks “Fluid“, “Appletree Cinnabar Amber“, and an extended version of an album track titled “Bison (Long One)“.

The second 12” was released in 1999, as a limited edition of 3000, titled Fluid (Nitin Sawhney Remixes), and features three remixes of “Fluid” (“Fluid (Out of Body and Mind Mix)“, “Fluid (Out of Body Mix)” and “Fluid (Out of Body with Sitar Mix)“) and the album version of “Bison“.

Like the duo’s first album, Rushes was a no-show on the charts and is also no longer in print.

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One line of lyrics included in the song “Palo Verde” was taken from an unreleased track of McCartney’s, titled “Let Me Love You Always”.

Similarly, bits from another unreleased song, “Hey Now (What Are You Looking at Me For?)”, was used in “Bison”, “Auraveda” and “7 a.m.”.

Both unreleased tracks were recorded at some point during 1995, at McCartney’s The Mill studio. Two more songs were mentioned: “Plum Jam” and “Through the Marshes”.

All of the tracks featured on the album were recorded in February 1998.

Youth later referred to this album as his proudest of the Fireman albums. “We recorded the album when Linda was going through the final stages of her cancer.” “She was very involved with the project again. It was very sad when she died. When I listen to the album now, it sounds like a requiem for her, it’s very beautiful.”

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The Fireman brings bison for trancing in the streets.


The Fireman gives a watercolour rush, fluid.


The Fireman understands darsh walls and emerdeen sky. Do you?


The Fireman know’s a lemon’s peal.


And the power of the equinox
.

The Fireman heard a girl’s snatch-talk of a saucer, flying.


The Fireman likes the sound of mud.


The Fireman plays it all; Bass. Watercolour Guitar. Keyboards. Cymbals.


And the fool.


The Fireman looped a shadow’s clipclop.

And made auraveda.


The Fireman taped the talk of sex.


The Moon is right. So the Fireman comes.


The Moon is right. So The Fireman comes.

Rudely. 7am. 
 With Rushes.

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THE ALBUM

Watercolor Guitars

Palo Verde

Auraveda

Fluid

Apple Cinnabar Amber

Bison

7 a.m.

Watercolor Rush

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This second Fireman album is a dramatic improvement for me as it’s much easier to listen to then STRAWBERRIES… The tracks are flushed out with care and these transitions within the melodies are made more with greater care and frequency. This again only adds to the lavish landscape.

“Palo Verde” is my favorite, a clear tribute too Linda, which included riding of her horses and vocals.

It is unique and unlike anything he had done before so a listen for any McCartney fan who is unaware of this output in his musical cannon.

While I gave the first Fireman a basic 6.5, mostly on the chances taken, and for the times any of the track segments kicked into a groove.

For RUSHES, I do the same thing, but with an across the board 8.5/10. This is a wonderful album to put on the stereo or on a in your car at the start of a slow journey….

Basically an overlooked GEM.

Listen to it online and give me your feelings.

Next… started in 1971…sort of finished in 1978…and basically unreleased RUPERT THE BEAR SOUNDTRACK. Play narrates the story on each of the tracks. The original planned full Rupert movie and companion album.

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Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest (1993)

When this album was recorded (late fall 1992) and released (late 1993 and early 1994) the face of music had changed greatly in the last 10 years.

The classic bands of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s basically had broken up or had peaked. Hip-hop or Rap began to spread its wings and other types of music appeared and grew in popularity. Alternative and Grunge, Brit-Pop, New age, Trap, Low-fi, G-Funk, Crunk, New Jack Swing, Ambient, trance, house.. etc…yikes!

As soon as Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest was released, cryptically credited to The Fireman, rumors started circulating about Paul’s involvement.

So when word on who was “The Fireman” leaked out, I quickly bought and consumed it. I was proud of Paul for stretching his limits, but this was not anything I had bought or listened to at that point in my life.

An ambient electronic album, the project emerged from Paul’s request to producer Youth (who is best known as a member of Killing Joke and the Orb) for remixes of songs from his previous album OFF THE GROUND, using elements found within the songs themselves.

Talking at the time, Youth described how he expanded on the concept: “I thought it would be better to do a more conceptual thing – that is, rather than remix a track I thought we should deconstruct the album into samples and then construct a new mix from those. And Paul liked the idea. He was into it, so I went for it.”

Paul then joined him in the studio and the album was born. “It was great fun,” Paul said at the time, “because normally these are the bits that producers try to get me to shut up about – they usually say ‘Stop messing around, Paul, sing the song properly.’” But producer and co-Fireman Youth wanted all the messing around. “It was an interesting release for me.”

The album also consists of samples of “Reception” and “The Broadcast” from Wings’ 1979 album Back to the Egg, as remixed by Youth.

Neither McCartney nor Youth are credited on the album.

Eventually, McCartney decided to join Youth in the studio to create new music to add to the tapestry along with the existing samples, and the project became a more collaborative effort. Although originally conceived as a series of 12″ remixes, McCartney became so happy with the results of the sessions that the project became this full-length album.

McCartney’s involvement was eventually confirmed by EMI.

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The Album

All album tracks written by Paul McCartney, Youth. Recorded Oct 07 – Oct 10, 1992 Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

1. Transpiritual Stomp 9:05

2. Trans Lunar Rising 9:11

3. Transcrystaline 8:42

4. Pure Trance 8:42

5. Arizona Light 8:42

6. Celtic Stomp 8:35

7. Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest 8:10

8. 4 4 4. 7:37

9. Sunrise Mix 8:19

Overall…. Like THRILLINGTON, this is not an album I can put on the stereo or listen under headphones and enjoy on it’s own, song for song.

This, for me, is something to put on and capture the vibe in whatever I am doing.

STRAWBERRY is interesting, yet repetitive, ground breaking for Paul, but like some of his first forays into a new genre, he learns and improves on the output each time. It is very exciting in parts, and snooze worthy in others. I used various parts of it on video productions and it works nice in these instances.

Overall I give the entire album a 6.5/10. It would be the last McCartney album I would go to unless I’m whipped into an Indican frenzy and need to clean out closets or sheds while it roars in the background.

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In a Melody Maker review, Michael Bonner wrote…. Paul McCartney has discovered dance music – and the results are staggeringly brilliant.

Truly, we live in an age of miracles. Eschewing the easy option of making a remix album, McCartney and his collaborator, Youth, have chosen to follow the likes of Brian Eno down a more experimental and cerebral path. They take a melody and, with dexterous genre-hopping through ambient, trance and house, evolve a number of breathtaking variations. Like snowflakes, each song seems identical to the last, until closer inspection reveals that it has its own unique shape.

The album was released in the UK on November 15th, 1993, and in the US on February 14th, 1994. The album was released on Parlophone in the UK, and Capitol in the US.

“Transpiritual Stomp” was released as a 12″ single, with “Arizona Light Mix” as the B-side.

Next: 1998’s RUSHES, by The Fireman.

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THRILLINGTON (1977)

NOTE: I gave this an overall rating because I didn’t review it song by song but for the feeling the album gives me. It’s great to sing and hum along to these odd, entertaining light versions of the classic RAM. It’s true worth in the Paul cannon is when it was recorded, when it was released and how it was rolled out. Most important, why in the first place? The critics ripping of RAM back in the day must have also helped slam on the brakes.

Give it a listen.

Remember when Paul and Linda recorded an orchestral version of RAM in 1971, about a week after recording the original album….

Not many do.

Paul was secretly unlisted as PERCY “THRILLS” THRILLINGTON, the conductor of the music heard on the vinyl.

The album was ready and then like many projects of the time he abandoned it.

He started forming Wings and didn’t want to invest time and energy putting the final touches on an album of his last SOLO album.

So at some point in 1977 he gets the CRAZY idea to begin an ad campaign to hype the name and the potential product when it is finally released.

They even came up with a model to play the part of the mysterious “where in the world is” Thrillington. The album is excellent in what it attempts to do. It is an easy listening album of its day and yet it does it with a wink and a nod to its being more than just elevator music.

“Percy “Thrills” Thrillington” was the pseudonym used by Paul McCartney to release in 1977 the instrumental version of RAM that was recorded 6 years before in 1971.

“I did one of my favorite little tricks, which was to use a pseudonym. Me and Linda sat around and we invented this character called Percy Thrillington. So we invented it all, Linda and I, and we went around southern Ireland and found a guy in a field, a young farmer, and asked if he minded doing some photographic modeling for us.

We wanted to find someone that no one could possibly trace, paid him the going rate, and photographed him in a field, wearing a sweater and then wearing an evening suit. But he never quite looked Percy Thrillington enough.” -Paul

For the record’s release, Paul and Linda devised a novel promotional scheme whereby the fabricated Percy Thrillington generated curiosity by taking out classified ads in the back section of British newspapers, making cryptic announcements such as “Percy Thrillington wishes to announce that, comforted by his specialist’s verdict regarding his condition, he has departed, all smiles, for Yorkshire.”

In addition, fake business cards were deliberately left in select locations around London, while radio and poster campaigns also tried to build a mystique. Ultimately, however, Thrillington failed to chart.

Then we started this whole business in the Evening Standard ad columns, which was the really fun thing, putting in things like ‘Must get in touch with… Thrillington’, as a result of which the newspaper columns picked up on it – ‘Has anyone seen this rubbish going on in the Evening Standard about Percy Thrillington?’ – and it was good publicity. It was one of our madcap publicity schemes, as if we were managing this character called Percy Thrillington. -Paul McCartney

Paul finally acknowledged he was Thrillington during a press conference on November 27, 1989, when journalist Peter Palmiere pressed him on the matter. “What a great question to end the conference. The world needs to know! But seriously it was me and Linda – and we kept it a secret for a long time but now the world knows! – you blew it!- (laughs) I was hoping to remain anonymous. I always like people not to know what I’m doing. That’s why I find the whole social networking a bit weird.

I think it’s something to do with having been Beatles famous. […] For years I denied any responsibility and authorship because then, for me, I just had something on people – it was a good feeling. I’d just say, ‘I’m sorry. I have no idea who this person is or why he has covered my album’. I basically enjoy lying.” – Paul

THRILLINGTON was released as an exact format of the album RAM is a delightful listen to when not having to think about a thing…. *Rating – 8.0

NEXT…. The Fireman, part 1.

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One Hand Clapping (1974)

In the summer of 1973 Wings was brought in to record a one off single for Paul’s brother Mike, “Leave It.” Mike had just signed with Warner Brothers.

Warner decided upon hearing the amazing track to expand the recording to an entire album.

Maybe welcoming Michael was the first nugget in an ayyempt to lure Paul away from Capitol Records when his contract was soon up??? (He stayed with Capitol)

In early 1974 Paul, produced and wrote/co-wrote nearly every song.

Wings was again brought in to record, but Denny Seiwell and Henry McCullough had left the band the previous December.

So, besides the project for Mike, Paul was also testing out a new drummer, Geoff Britton, and wunderkind lead guitarist, Jimmy McCulloch. After this, with anticipation to record and get back on the road, this new version of Wings rehearsed and then went into Abbey Road studio, where they were filmed live playing what would come out ONLY as a bootleg, “One Hand Clapping.”

No video, no official release. But a very interesting period for Paul.

Tensions soon led to Britton leaving and drums taken over by Joe English.

The Set List

One Hand Clapping
-Interesting instrumental, heavy on synth blasts by Linda, Paul thumping bass and Jimmy taking the lead. Nice, at a time Wings still love recording instrumentals. Rating -8.5

Jet
-Not sure why Jet was recorded again, just 8 months after it was recorded for BAND ON THE RUN. If they were rehearsing these for a possible future tour, but they are recording. Maybe as a companion to the film?? He does this many times on this project, and this would have been the first, not last that Paul has re-recorded the previous album (the BROAD STREET film…). Great version – 8.5

Soily
Paul yells out “take 7”. So they were picking up a track that Wings II had attempted and played live in 1972 era. An excellent studio version, with outstanding playing on this odd song Paul would use as final encore on 75-76 world tour. Rating – 9

Little Woman Love/C Moon
– Sorry, never liked this pairing, as the odd tempo change killed for me any momentum either song had. I think I’ve heard him do this the other way, with C Moon opening and Little Woman. This version opens with a partial short fail then restarted. It’s not bad at all, but I think Paul settles on forcing this pairing. Rating – 7

Let Me Roll It
Very Good version. They must have been thinking tour…. Rating – 8.5

Juniors Farm
Another version I don’t have audio for. See #11. Rating N/A

Wild Life/Hi, Hi, Hi
-Just the ending of what sounded like a nice version of “Will Life” into a fantastic version of “Hi, Hi, Hi.” Played at the perfect speed…. And wonderfully. The trippy ending wasn’t needed. A proper could have made this a classic. Rating – 8.5

Go Now
Denny says “take 99” and then they re-create Denny’s Moody Blues classic. Done very much like they would do on tour. Excellent version with Linda handling the horn sections on keys while Paul doubles on electric piano…. Background vocals are incredible. Rating- 8.5

Maybe I’m Amazed

-Wonderful version with fairy tale intro. “A novel opening.” Paul actually asks what this one is called. Very good straight forward version. Yes, this had to be a prep for a tour… but still recording take after take in the studio…. Hmmm…. Rating – 8

Bluebird
-Pink and Perky. Opens with an unusual and interesting drop key opening. Without the drum machine but still sounds wonderful. Rating – 8

Junior’s Farm
This is the song this version of Wings is famous for…. “Take me down…James.” Not sure if they got the final studio version in these sessions or in Nashville. Nice version, but nothing other than toned down guitars compared to the final. Rating – 8

Jet
-Another attempt. Paul is especially randy mood vocally, loose as a goose. Nothing new here. Rating – 7

Soily
Second attempt made…l. Don’t have the audio… yet. Rating – N/A

My Love
-Gentle and caring. Paul on electric piano. Denny on bass and the solo is wonderful. Linda doesn’t attempt to add any lush on synth. Wonderful background by Denny, Linda and Jimmy. Rating – 8.5

Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five
-Odd…. Paul plays solo on piano and then starts out song. He is later synced on a tape from studio version. Outrageous skats to end this one. But odd…. Filmed when he was doing the piano part of the film. Rating – 8.5

Live And Let Die
-Take three. Long before flash pods and fire. A wonderful little song the band brings in a full orchestra for. Outstanding all around recreation of the George Martin arrangement. Paul likes it. Rating – 8.5

Band On The Run
-Take 6, “Hand on the Bun.” Full sound with synths high up on both sides of the mix and the acoustics nice and bright. Paul and the band sounds wonderful. The orchestra on the final build up ices the cake. Paul’s vocals are a tad too deep in the mix for me. Britton’s drumming is excellent here, and throughout. Nothing special. He was a straight egg, who clashed with young brash Jimmy. Geoff would show up in full karate gear and practice between takes. This was the era of tons of weed smoking (see the cover) and Britton was not into this. Rating – 7

Blue Moon of Kentucky
-Fantastic bass riffs by Paul on this quick off of The Bill Monroe track we know Paul loves. Part on original Wings set. Denny on harmonica is the highlight. Everyone shine on this. Rating – 8.5

None of the piano part of the film were released and are available as a bootleg as “The Piano Tape.”

Overall, this unreleased project rates as 8.15/10. I wish that we could get a proper release. This was certainly at a time when Paul was overloaded with plans and projects, still up to his neck in legal issues with the other three Beatles.

But he was nearing his peak in many ways, and he really enjoyed himself making this attempted project. Clean it up as best as possible and put it out as album and video, warts and all.

Next…. 1971…I mean 1977’s remake of Ram, “Thrillington.”

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GOOD EVENING NEW YORK CITY (2009)

After releasing the two live albums in 2002 and 2003, Paul continued to write, record and release albums, start many different solo projects in addition to regular touring.

He also dealt with personal changes within his life.

After his marriage to Heather Mills went south, he released and toured promoting both CHAOS AND CREATION IN THE BACKYARD (2005) and MEMORY ALMOST FULL (2007) and ELECTRIC ARGUMENTS (2008).

He toured in the summer of 2004, the US Tour in 2005 (I saw him in Miami), and the Secret Tour of 2007.

This album is part of The Summer Live ’09 tour.

The New York Mets had destroyed their previous stadium (Shea Stadium), which Paul helped Billy Joel fantastic “Last Play At Shea”close out concert. They had replaced it on the same site with the beautiful new Citi Field.

This album is drawn from the three shows he did there on July 17th, 18th or 21st. I saw him on the 18th of July, and remains the only McCartney show with an opening act (The Killers).

I saw Paul again in 2011 at the “new” Yankee Stadium,

Then once more in Tampa Bay in 2017 at Amalie Arena.

But for me, I love Paul, but it has gotten way too expensive for me to get good seats and the set list has not changed enough to justify the money. He tours to this day (having a magnificent Get Back 2022 tour of America and headlining Glastonbury festival). And at 80 years of age… not slowing a bit. He is a miracle.

But no more live releases after this.

So after this review we will go into… Alternative releases. Starting with 1974’s film “One Hand Clapping.”
It’s live, never been properly released, but an important part of Wings, thee third phase.

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Statistical Analysis (U.S.)

of Songs: 33

Songs of Paul (solo): 7 (21.2%)
Songs of Wings: 6 (18.2%)
Songs of Beatles: 18 (54.5%)
Songs of Others: 2 (6.1%)
———————————————

“Drive My Car”
-3rd time on live release. A favorite of Paul’s to open shows. The sound is fine, this band is slicker than oil.
Rating – 8

“Jet”
-6th time on live release. And in its usual spot at the #2 song. I don’t know if its the mix (I’m under headphones and listening to the CD) but the guitars, drums and even the crowd sound odd to me. Rating – 7

“Only Mama Knows”
-3rd time on live release. Paul was touring mostly on The Fireman’s ELECTRIC ARGUMENTS album, but he did play a few other new solo, this from MEMORY. Paul and the band sound great, as usual. Rating – 8

“Flaming Pie”
-1st time on live release. This was a breath of fresh air.

Let me have at a 33 song set list for Paul’s show and this would be more like it.

Paul still rocks hard on this one, and the altered ending is better than the album fade. Rating – 8.5

“Got To Get You Into My Life”
-3rd time on live release.
Another fresher Beatles song we hadn’t heard in 20 years. Paul still needs help on the chorus, but not as much as the 1989 tour. Bet you the asses were “a popping.” Rating – 8

“Let Me Roll It”
-5th time on live release.
Another that has racked up enough miles. Paul likes to play it to show off the Lennon like riff. But Paul only plays it on the non-singing verses, then Robbie takes over. We loved it back in 1976…. Rating – 6.5

“Highway”
-1st time on live release.
Underrated song from ARGUMENTS. The band plays it well, but a definitive lack of response from the crowd. Rating – 7.5

“The Long And Winding Road”
-4th time on live release.
I love this song, but maybe “She’s Leaving Home” or “Tomorrow” or something new…. Rating – 7

“My Love”
-4th time on live release. A tad rough.
See above.. Rating – 7

“Blackbird”
-4th time on live release.
See above. The story… How about “I Will” or “I’m Carrying”? Rating – 7

“Here Today”
-2nd time on live release.
It’s impossible to top AMEOBA. Paul was touched, since this is NYC, where John lived and was murdered, so it came off well. Rating – 8

“Dance Tonight”
-2nd time on live release.
I like this silly simple song, and it’s another bum shaker…. Still sounded fresh. Rating – 8

“Calico Skies”
-2nd time on live release.
Great song, played well, with great visuals on stage. More of a group rally feel than sadder solo acoustic on the album. Rating – 8

“Mrs. Vanderbilt”
-1st time live release.
Another highlight… a Wings song never played live before and they have a blast, turning a jungle like romp of the album into a soviet like dance party. Rating – 8.5

“Eleanor Rigby”
-3rd time live release.
Classic Beatles track that has lovers holding each other, and everyone appreciated this one. The crowd always helps out on the chorus. Rating -8

“Sing The Changes”
-1st time live release.
Another first timer of a great track from ARGUMENTS that too many in the crowd didn’t get or know about . Fantastic version. Rating -8.5

“Band On The Run”
-5th time live release.
Another song I have always loved, but for me, it’s not one I go to hear anymore. Nice. Rating – 7.5

“Back In The U.S.S.R.”
-3rd times live release.
Maybe he should have followed with “Mrs. Vanderbilt.” Done very well, with Rusty the highlight hidden in the mix. Rating – 8

“I’m Down”
-1st time live release.
This was Paul’s signature closing songs at Beatles concerts from 1965-66. He would let loose on the vocals, and John would go wild on the organ. The band, and Paul do a great job with this. Paul still takes the vocals 5 miles above the speed limit! Rating – 8.5

“Something”
-3rd time live release.
Love this like I love “Here Today” but there must be another song to give this segment life for the old fans. Still, lovely. Rating – 8.5

“I’ve Got A Feeling”
-1st time live release.
Love how Paul still does this song to the day. He has re-fallen in love with this one, and is a centerpiece to the show and now includes JOHN singing his own parts instead of Rusty. But for its day., it was exciting an a new fresh Beatles track heard live for the first time. Rating – 8

“Paperback Writer”
-2nd time live release.
Another fresher Beatles track that worked. Still a tough song to pull off live. Rating – 8

“A Day In The Life”/“Give Peace A Chance”
-1st for “A Day” 2nd for “Give Peace” live release.
He’s done tone other tribute to John before in the 80’s on his birthday and played in Liverpool. That medley included “A Day” but was combined with “Help” and “Strawberry Fields.”

Great selection, and so nice hearing Paul sing a John sung song. Would have been nice to have heard the whole song played but the “All we are saying….” chant by the crowd is the involvement that Paul loves. Rating – 8.5

“Let It Be”
-4th live release.
Nice, as always. Not perfect, but sweet. You are hearing the man who wrote it sing it live for you. As fans, this song makes you happy sad…. Rating – 8

“Live And Let Die”
-5th live release.
We know we are nearing the end of the regular set. The bombs are bigger, hotter and higher. Paul’s voice is good, but struggles at times. And once again, he was surprised at the last explosion and he collapses on his baby grand. We love him! Rating – 7

“Hey Jude”
-4th live release.
A song he must play, and we must sing along. His signature song, forever. By the way…..we sounded so sweet to him….again. Rating – 7.5

“Day Tripper”
-1st live release.
One of the best ass-shakers of the Beatles cannon. Just what we needed…. The bass playing is other worldly. Rating – 8

“Lady Madonna”
-4th live release.
Another one he maybe needs to do it in a whole different style… Maybe. Again, I love this song. But maybe a non-performed Wings or solo song here? Rating – 7

“I Saw Her Standing There”
-6th live release.
Billy Joel comes out and gives these balls some hair. Another song of his “I” have seen enough. Rating – 8

“Yesterday”
-5th live release.
He’s hitting the lobs pitches in batting practice of his greatest hits. Like many before, he feels he MUST play these songs for the fan whom this is their first show. Rating – 8

“Helter Skelter”
-1st live release.
OMG. You gotta be kidding me…. He fooled us all by dusting this one off and is now a every concert show. Playing bits of “Foxy Lady”on previous tours must have made him revisit this White Album gem. Weird hectic ending maybe fits the song better…. Rating – 8.5

“Get Back”
-3rd live release.
One of my favorite Macca songs, now given an extra star for how the GET BACK project is now viewed. He gets you ass back out of the chair, for one more time.. Yes, we all wanted to get back. Rating – 7.5

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”/“The End”
-3rd “Sgt. Pepper’s” and “The End” live release.

One of the best endings he has done…. He cuts and pastes between this and the full version and others. Either way…. every show must now end with “The End.” Rating – 8.5

Overall this album by Paul rates as 7.53/10.

If you have never seen Paul live, or never watched a DVD of his live concerts, or never listened to a CD of any of his live releases, then this is a good place to start. Paul is always worth seeing, but just not as much on this release if you have seen him multiple times over the span of 40+ years (1976-2017 for me..)

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AMOEBA’S SECRET (2007)

After the 2002-3 world tours Paul continued to record, tour and work on projects. His short lived marriage to Heather Mills ended with much turmoil and many of the songs on his next two releases (CHAOS AND CREATION IN THE BACKYARD (2005) and MEMORY ALMOST FULL (2007)) dealt with the changes. He also released the TWIN FREAKS in 2007 and the classical ECCE COR MEUM in 2007.

He toured the U.S. to support CHAOS in 2005 (I saw him in Miami) and in 2007 played various high profile shows, promoting MEMORY highly in the set list. The reviews of both albums were outstanding, and Paul was more than willing to play these tracks live.

This is exactly the type of gig that Paul loves. Small, intimate loving crowd that hangs on every note. Even the new songs are cherished by this audience of 700.

The Ameoba Gig

Some screamed adulations. Others danced with religious fervor. Hundreds waved peace signs in the air with eternal devotion. Many wept at the sight of him. Outside the unfortunate were forced to stand and peer through windows just to get a glimpse of a living icon. Sir Paul McCartney was singing “Drive My Car”…inside a record store.

Amoeba Music Hollywood was chosen as McCartney’s next stop on a promotional “mini tour” for his latest album 2007’s “Memory Almost Full.”

————————————————-

Only an hour after the official announcement on Monday the tried and true McCartney fans began to line up outside the store with lawn chairs and McCartney memorabilia in hand.

By Wednesday night a lucky seven hundred fans, some coming all the way from Japan, were let into the show.

Beatlemania descended upon Amoeba for the biggest show in the store’s history. Fans camped out on the street for days for this once in a lifetime chance to get up close and personal with Paul.

Celebrities like Woody Harrelson and Alanis Morrisette could be found in the crowd but none could compare to the arrival of Ringo Starr.

Although only coming to lend support to a friend the former Beatle drummer was practically mobbed as he stood in the crowd to watch the show.
————————————————-

AMEOBA GIG is taken from the recordings of a secret performance at Amoeba Music in Hollywood, California, on 27 June 2007, and released in its full format in July 2019.

Parts of the performance were released in November 2007 as “Amoeba’s Secret”, a limited edition 12″ vinyl record, and again in January 2009 on CD.

Three tracks from the Amoeba’s Secret release were also released as B-sides for the “Ever Present Past” single in November 2007.

In 2010, the set was released as Live in Los Angeles, a 12-track CD version given away free with the Daily Mail newspaper.

In 2012, an extended version of the Daily Mail CD was released by Paul McCartney’s website, adding two additional tracks.

The complete Amoeba Gig show, with all 21 songs and remixed by McCartney’s engineer Steve Orchard, was finally released on 12 July 2019 on CD, vinyl, and digital download.

This is the version I will review.
It is Paul with his touring band, but Paul “Wix” Wickens didn’t play on this show and replaced by keyboardist David Arch.
——————————————
Statistical Analysis

Number of Songs: 21

Songs of Paul (solo): 7 (33%)
Songs of Wings: 1 (4.7%)
Songs of Others 2 (9.5%)
Songs of Beatles 11 (52.4%)
——————————————

As we can see this is a shorter set list than the band would do in a regular concert set list. The solo songs are basically pulled from MEMORY, and the only Wings track was “C Moon.”

This review is going to be simple. This may be the finest example of Paul and this recording/touring band officially released. The playing of the entire band is near perfection. They are all obviously loving this gig. Even missing Wix isn’t a factor, with Arch handling everything perfectly.

McCartney’s voice is amazing, and the remix of the full show on the 2019 release is breathtaking.

Yes, we have heard these songs before, and still to this day, but unless noted, these are some of the best, if not the best, live versions of these songs I have ever heard.

“Drive My Car”
“Only Mama Knows”
“Dance Tonight”

  • All of these are rated a solid 9….. as are….

“C Moon”
-Paul and the band make me love a song I have never loved before.

“The Long And Winding Road”

“I’ll Follow The Sun”

  • Paul has so much fun with this…with 5 mini reprises of the chorus where he usually does one or two.

“Calico Skies”
“That Was Me”
-Rating of 9 for all of these gems.

“Blackbird”
-The first flawed. Tender, loving attempt, but even in 2007 Paul struggles on the vocals. Maybe “Getting Better” or some other acoustic ballad (“Footprints” from PRESS TO PLAY?) would have worked for me…. Rating – 7

“Here Today”
-The highlight. With Ringo, and others who knew John in the crowd, Paul breaks down emotionally near the end, but carries it to the finish line. He points out after… “It’s okay for men to cry.” It’s impossible not to listen to this and not be affected. Rating -10

https://www.facebook.com/108630984338914/videos/561641855496554

“Back In The U.S.S.R.”
“Nod Your Head”
“House Of Wax”
“I’ve Got A Feeling”
All Ratings are a delightful 9

“Matchbox”
-Since Richard Starkey is in the crowd, Paul does the usual soundcheck song as a tribute to the man who sang it back in the day.
Done a bit too loosey goosey for me. Maybe this was the time to do a tribute to him, like “Photograph” or “Yellow Submarine?” Rating – 7.5

“Get Back”
-Simply fantastic version. Everyone there wanted to…“get back.”
Rating -9

“Baby Face”
-Paul has done this before… pretending to sing a piano ballad and launch into an old-time favorite. He’s done it usually before “Hey Jude” each of the times, with “Baby Face” and “Tip Toe Thru The Tulips” and once about a naughty limerick and then he stops the band. He takes a beat and sings… “Hey Jude..” And he has them…..

He has done “Baby Face” in the studio with “One Hand Clapping” video and I believe he also when he was in New Orleans recording VENUS AND MARS and he did an amazing job. This was a just a lure….. Rating – 7

“Hey Jude”
-Traditional way he did it in that period. With 700 people…. Many of whom “were great.” By the way, the girls section kicked the mens ass and he had them do a second verse.
Rating – 8

“Let It Be”
“Lady Madonna”
“I Saw Her Standing There”
-All done great by Paul and the band…. And after thanks all around he again says….“See you next time.”
Rating – all 9’s

This is the kind of gig that the biggest artists love. While he has dazzled nearly 200,000 in South America, it’s the “he can see every single fans face in the crowd” that makes Paul and this band take it up at least a notch.

The Cavern Club, Grand Central Station, On The Roof at Letterman Show etc… these are all gigs Paul and his band will remember most.

Overall this amazing release gets a rating of 8.73/10.

The highest rating for a live album so far!!! Up next…. 2009’s “GOOD EVENING NEW YORK CITY.”

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BACK IN THE U.S. (2002) & BACK IN THE WORLD (2003)

After the New World Tour of 1993, and the release of the album, PAUL IS LIVE, many things changed in Paul’s life.

We had the release of his first Fireman project (STRAWBERRIES OCEANS SHIPS FOREST) in November of 1993.

Not long after this, with the input of George and Ringo and Yoko, Paul directed his energy from 1994-1996 preparing, and recording and working on The Beatles Anthology project.

They had all agreed in advance to not release any solo materials until the complete roll out of this massive undertaking (which lasted until late October of 1996).

Paul, as always, continued to write, but this time with no pressure to record and release anything in this three year period.

So, the touring and recording band of 1993 effectively ended by these developments.

After finally going back in the studio to record new material, he continued to work with Jeff Lynne and back again with George Martin, and the album FLAMING PIE was released in May of 1997.

Then as Paul began laying all of his new material on tape, another major development. Linda McCartney was diagnosed with breast cancer, and despite every effort that the McCartney’s made she passed on April 17th, 1998.

Linda’s passing and the grieving that followed meant that Paul would not go back on the road to support this album. And he had never toured without Linda on stage since he left The Beatles.

He did a one off show with the musicians that worked with him on 1999’s RUN DEVIL RUN. This excellent album was the therapy he needed to slowly work his way back emotionally to create new music.

Then, even stranger, while continuing to write new music Paul met and fell very quickly in love with Heather Mills, and as quickly they married, and had a daughter together.

Paul in 2001 was still 100% behind the new marriage, and many of the newest songs put to tape were based on his emotional recovery. The album, DRIVING RAIN, was released in November of 2001.

Producer David Kahne was brought in,

This time, Paul was anxious to get back on the road, and feel the love of performing again.

Paul used the youngsters (Abe Laborial Jr., Gabe Dixon and Rusty Anderson) that Kahne had brought into the studio for the record, and replaced Dixon with Brian Ray when live performances were being worked on .

Dixon had his own band and commitments and sadly backed out of the tour, and performing pre-game of the 2002 Super Bowl.

I saw Paul in Fort Lauderdale on May 18th of this tour, and while he was great as always, there was no love for any of the new songs from most of the crowd. Paul had taken better care of his voice, and he sounded better to me in 2002 that he had in 1993. And so it is on the album itself.

Again, looking at the set list, much like the last two major tours. Mostly Beatles songs, his classic hits, and songs from the new album.

Some of the stories now began to be the same, but for someone who loves Paul, this is what you get when you sign up. So was the Driving Rain Tour.

The tour began on April 1, 2002 with the first American leg in Oakland, California. This album chronicled this leg of the tour, which itself would be promoted by another leg in the States. The second American leg was followed by visits to Mexico and Japan. A remix of The Fireman tracks and a performance by Cirque du Soleil opened each show.

————————————————

Statistical Analysis (U.S.)

# of Songs: 35

Songs of Paul (solo): 9 (25.7%)

Songs of Wings: 6 (17.1%)

Songs of Beatles (Lennon/McCartney): 20 (57.1%)

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(Bass)

“Hello Goodbye”

-After the crowd was treated to the trippy Cirque performers Paul is welcomed with open arms and opens with this Beatles classic. Since Paul still tours with these four amazing musicians to this day, the chemistry was certainly there, and the performances by the band are always top notch and obviously pleases the very demanding McCartney. Wonderful opening and again, Paul is in such good voice, and the band doesn’t miss a phrase or lick from the original vinyl. Rating – 8.5

“Jet”

-A bit of a tough one for Paul, vocally. On the verse he is amazing, but Abe, Brian and Rusty back him, and occasionally save him, perfectly. Wix, as the tour musical director is as good as it gets on filling out the sonic landscape. Rating – 7.5

“All My Loving”

-The only way this could get better would be having the Lads onstage. Fantastic performance that makes you dance, cry and sometimes both at the same time. Rating – 9.5

“Getting Better”

-Paul has us in his fingers and opening chords has us leaping. A first performance of his Beatles song for Paul in concert. An extended ending is created to end the song smoothly, but another home run for the band.

Rating- 9

“Coming Up”

-Funky and fresh, Paul lets loose. Wix creates an entire brass section on the keys and Paul’s bass is top notch. Amazing. Rating – 8.5

(Electric)

“Let Me Roll It”

-Other than maybe wanting to give this song a break, I find this performance as good as he as ever done it. The band helps him vocally every bit as good as Wings in their heyday. I love when Paul sings…. “I want(s) to tell you. Abe drumming on this and everything he has ever done with Paul makes him my favorite drummer of Paul’s. He brings such energy and power and warmth and laughter, and he hits notes a choir boy would envy. Rating – 8.5

(Piano)

“Lonely Road”

-He had us….. and then a new song. It hurt seeing the rush to the johns… but Paul and the band actually play all of the new songs best, as they had just been recorded by them. 20 years on, this song sounds very nice, but back in 2001, it clipped the energy. I dug it… Rating – 7

“Driving Rain”

-I guess Paul figured it was time to knock out the new ones, all in a row.

Rating – 6.5

“Your Loving Flame”

-Another from the new album. We all knew who this song was for… so there was an internal struggle to like it, and for us who couldn’t imagine him singing songs like this to anyone but his Linda. Done as well as possible, but there was a tension in the room that night over Heather. Rating – 6.5

(Acoustic)

“Blackbird”

-Solo, with the story of it’s origins. Paul is a tad pitchy, but we didn’t care.

Rating – 7.5

“Every Night”

-Solo, but it could have used Brian on bass and Abe on drums. Still, lovely in its stripped down form, with the crowd clapping and providing a back beat on the chorus. Rating – 8

“We Can Work It Out”

-Solo, with Paul in very strong voice, but I prefer the version with Wix and the band from the 1993 tour. Rating – 8

“Mother Nature’s Son”

-Wix comes out on accordion for this one, and it adds some texture. Another first off live performance of a Beatles song. Paul changes the ending a bit from the recording. Rating – 8

“Vanilla Sky”

-As highlights of the film played on the large monitor, Paul strums his academy award nominated song that not many people really know. A lot of confused looks and trips to…well, you know. Only available on the U.S. version. Rating – 7

(Medley) “You Never Give Me Your Money”/“Carry That Weight”

-Another first time performance from his Beatles cannon…. Paul plays electric piano solo. Earlier in the tour Paul had flubbed the lyrics and so naturally, he repeats it every show. Nice, but I wanted it all….. Rating – 8

“The Fool On The Hill”

-Paul is joined by Wix. Nothing new, but no spinning piano or added spoken parts. Rating – 7

(Acoustic and ukulele)

“Here Today”

-The moment we all waited for day. Clearly touched by the song, this is the first time he did the individual tributes to John, and then George. He voice clearly showed the loved he felt, and tears flowed. Rating – 9

“Something”

-George had just passed only months prior, but Paul gives a reason to smile and clap along with the ukulele that George had given him. Touching, and without the switch to the electric part on the second half which he would perform at “The Concert For George” and at all shows since then. Rating -9

“Eleanor Rigby”

-Wix string work highlights this one, with Abe adding the high harmonies on the chorus. Paul is on acoustic. Rating – 8

“Here, There And Everywhere”

-Wonderful band harmonies on this one. Wix again on accordion gives this a Italian flair. Rating – 8

(Bass)

“Band On The Run”

-Well done, but Paul struggles a tad when he pushes it vocally. Nothing new here, unless this is your first Paul show. Rating – 7.5

“Back In The U.S.S.R.”

-Another Beatles first time in concert song, and it gives the show a burst of fresh energy. Lots of bopping about and in the aisles. Rating – 8

(Piano)

“Maybe I’m Amazed”

-Excellent version, tons of energy. Brian Ray plays the shit out the bass on this one. Rating – 8.5

“C Moon”

-Not one of my favorite Wings song, but a favorite of Paul’s. Is that Wix on vibes? Rating – 7

“My Love”

-Must have been hard to sing the Linda love songs with Heather in the crowd, but Paul plays what he thinks the audience came to hear. Played a bit harder than any of the other bands, and Paul does a great job re-phrasing some of the lines that maybe would have tripped him up vocally. Rating -8

(Bass)

“Can’t By Me Love”

– A no brainer that again had the crowd leaping and escaping into their Beatles past. On vinyl, Paul is pushed back in the mix, and muddled a bit too much, but maybe this was intentional? Rating – 8

“Freedom”

-Even after 9/11, and it’s birth at the “Concert for New York”, the crowd didn’t warm to this track. Only played on the U.S. legs. Never to be his “Imagine,” I think the crowd noise and applause may have been…enhanced? Rating – 6.5

(Piano)

“Live And Let Die”

-He must do this…. The explosions get bigger… Now, Rusty falls over after the lead before the last verse, and Paul acts surprised at the end… every time. Rating – 7.5

“Let It Be”

-We know we are approaching the last laps of the race. Wonderful job by everyone.. Rating – 8

“Hey Jude”

-The sing-along version, at it’s peak. Paul even jumps out front for a while, leading the different parts of the arena. “You were great…..you were all great.”

Rating – 7

“The Long And Winding Road”

-One final chance for lovers to hold each other, and tears to form at how lucky we were hearing the man who wrote this gem sing it for us. Rating -8

“Lady Madonna”

-The final piano song, performed as well as possible. This band can play… did I mention that? Rating – 7.5

(Bass)

“I Saw Her Standing There”

-Paul encourages ass-shaking, so ass-shaking it was…. Rating – 8

(Acoustic solo)

“Yesterday”

-Another song Paul can not sing at one of his shows. Rating – 8

(Medley) “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”/“The End”

-One of the ways Paul ends the show. Now he usually performs the second medley from “Abbey Road” and leaves us a tattered mess heading out to the parking lot. Here, it is an excellent ending, as they all take extra turns on their solos and stretch it out. Wix on bass was a surprise, because I never put two and two together on who would play it. On this album, not the best ending of any Paul show (the solo’s were not life-changing) but you know it’s the end so you don’t care what they play as long as they don’t stop. Rating – 7.5

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The 2003 European BACK IN THE WORLD album differs in the following:

NO “Vanilla Sky”

Song #20 “Calico Skies”

Song #21 “Michelle”

NO “C Moon” or “Freedom”

Song #23 “Let ‘em In”

Song #27 “She’s Leaving Home”

Statistical Analysis (World)

# of Songs: 36

Songs of Paul (solo): 8 (22.2%)

Songs of Wings: 6 (16.7%)

Songs of Beatles (Lennon/McCartney): 22 (61.1%)

“Calico Skies”

-Fantastic version, first time performed, for European audiences. Wix on accordion and Its gentle march on the verses give this song a freshness I wish we could have had at our show. Rating – 9

“Michelle”

-The crowd goes wild on this fantastic performance by Paul and the band. Wix kept his accordion on and we are glad. Rating – 8.5

“Let ‘em In”

-Not performed since the the 1975-76 Wings over world tour. A nice memory for the European audiences. Wix again, is able to recreate all of the brass. Rusty is given an electric solo to join the brass. Interesting, and Paul sounds great, playing fast and loose on this version. Rating – 8.5

“She’s Leaving Home”

-Another first time performed Beatles song, for the European leg. Great hearing Paul on something new of something old, and songs like this make the show more complete. Take away “C-Moon” AND “Freedom” and “Vanilla Sky” and maybe one or two of the new songs and add these and I would have been in heaven.

Rating – 9

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Overall a very enjoyable live album, which ends up with an overall rating of 7.95/10.

Up next… 2009’s “Amoeba’s Secret.”

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PAUL IS LIVE (1993)

After the tour of 1989-90 was finished, Paul must really have really enjoyed being on the road, and working with this touring and recording band. They continued working together for the next three years, including the wonderful live performance on 1991’s UNPLUGGED.

I have already reviewed that album (click below to read it)

1991 Unplugged

The band went into the studio in 1992 and recorded Paul’s next solo album, 1993’s OFF THE GROUND. The band had now changed drummers with Blair Cunningham replacing Chris Whitten.

They went on the road to promote the album, calling it the New World Tour. Excerpted from his shows in Australia, as well as from various cities in the United States, it followed the 1989–90 Paul McCartney World Tour/Tripping the Live Fantastic extravaganza by only three years, confounding critics and fans as to its appearance, and some its necessity (although the only song it has in common with Tripping The Live Fantastic is “Live And Let Die“).

As a result, PAUL IS LIVE (released on November 16th, 1993) became McCartney’s lowest-selling live set of his career, peaking at number 34 in the UK and a lowly number 78 in the US.

A concert film subtitled The New World Tour was subsequently released on VHS, and later on DVD. It was directed by Aubrey Powell. The video release includes the controversial pre-concert film, which features vintage footage of the Beatles, solo-era live footage of “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “Bluebird” from the Rockshow film, then switches tone by including graphic animal test footage (all of which is underscored by “Live And Let Die” and “Helter Skelter“), and, finally, warmup footage of the band.

The program starts with the warm-up footage, and is played in full at the conclusion of the concert. The packaging included a disclaimer warning regarding the graphic nature of the animal footage.

A wonderful program, sponsored by “Friends Of The Earth” was given to us as we entered. OFF THE GROUND was probably Paul’s most opinionated album, with many songs dealing with animal, people and environmental issues.

Once again, we see the shift in song selections, with the majority now being Beatles songs, and all five of his solo songs were from the current release, OFF THE GROUND, which this band recorded. Not a single track from McCARTNEY, RAM, TUG OF WAR or FLOWERS IN THE DIRT albums.

I saw him and his band on April 14th, 1993 at The Sam Boyd Silver Bowl in Las Vegas, the first stop in the North American leg of the tour. The familiar pattern of it taking a few songs for Paul’s voice to reach “the best it can do point”, like it is today. As long as he can avoid intense screaming vocals, he is still wonderful to listen to. Today, at nearly 80 he still keeps these songs in the original key.

This concert was good, but maybe the worst sounding by Paul overall of the eight I have seen. I believe he still smoked back then, and that certainly didn’t help. The stage and overall performance was wonderful. Paul had the mullet in peak condition, with the wonderful colorful shirts and the personality and charm he has never lost.

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Statistical Analysis # of Songs: 24 Songs of Paul (solo): 5 (20.1%) Songs of Wings: 3 (12.5%) Songs of Beatles (Lennon/McCartney): 11 (45.8%) Songs of Others/The Band: 2 (8.3%) Not Really A Song 1 (4.2%) Unreleased Tracks 2 (8.3%)

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“Drive My Car”

-Opening with this Beatles classic was a good choice, and the band is nearly flawless here as always. A very good band. Cunningham, a good drummer, but lacked the overall power of Whitten. Paul needed vocal help from Hamish on this one. Rating – 7

“Let Me Roll It”

-A track Paul seemingly has on each tour, but I don’t think he played the lick which he likes to do on current tours. Linda is really turned down in the mix on nearly all of the tracks. Paul’s vocals are great, as the song is right in his range. Rating -8

“Looking For Changes”

-First of the newer tracks, the controversial anti-animal cruelty song. The crowd was pleasant, but the response was subdued. Paul struggles at times…. Rating – 7

“Peace In The Neighborhood”

-Another new track. More than a few needed a beer or a bathroom break. Played faithfully by the band. Hamish helps out again on certain lines where Paul struggles. Rating – 7.5

“All My Loving”

-This is what many of the fans want each song, those Beatles memories that are turning points in their lives. The first thing most Americans heard from the mop tops on February 7th, 1964, as they opened the Ed Sullivan show with this gem. Rating – 8.5

“Robbie’s Bit” (Thanks Chet)

-Robbie McIntosh again got a moment in the spotlight, with this delightful electric acoustic ditty, while the band quickly refreshed. I think that maybe the crowd noise has been enhanced here and throughout the album. Rating – 7

“Good Rockin’ Tonight”

-A nice zydeco version of the classic that Paul loves. A great one to swing and sway to, and Wix on accordion gave it this needed extra texture. Rating – 8.5

“We Can Work It Out”

-The band had done this one at 1991’s UNPLUGGED and repeat the performance, with Wix staying on accordion. Stuart and McCartney harmonize sweetly on the chorus. Rating – 8.5

“Hope Of Deliverance”

– The first single released off the new album. One that Paul really heavily promoted with music videos, but it was not the smash he had hoped. Very well performed and received by the crowd (of the new songs). Rating – 8

“Michelle”

-Fantastic rendition of another Beatles classic, with the song in Paul’s vocal wheelhouse. The crowd, sang, swayed and misted up during this one. Rating – 8.5

“Biker Like An Icon” -Another failed single from the new album. Kind of an odd track to begin with. Played identical to the album version. Another break song for many. Rating – 7

“Here, There And Everywhere”

-One of Paul’s best compositions of his career. Wix is back on accordion. A more gritty version than the 1966 recording, but still touching. Rating -8

“My Love”

-On piano for the next few tracks, Paul is fantastic on this Wings classic from 1973. The band, especially Robbie’s solo, knock it out of the park. Paul now sings “Woooo”, and not “Wo wo wo wo” on the verse. Rating – 8.5

“Magical Mystery Tour”

-A song Paul has used to open up shows on future tours. Like every Beatles track he performs, the crowd is in his hands…. Slightly subdued version compared to the lads. He extends the ending and adds recorded dialog. Rating – 7.5

“C’Mon People”

-Another single from OFF THE GROUND I think Paul and the accountants thought would be a huge hit. A magnificent music video was filmed for this one. Written to be an anthem for the times, it sadly never became that. The band does another great job on this one, coming so close to the powerful album version. Rating – 8

“Lady Madonna” -The asses were shaking on this one, that’s for sure. Rating – 8

“Paperback Writer”

-Another first time Beatles song done in concert. A tough one to do live back in the day, the band does their best to recreate this unusual Beatles single. Paul is back on Hofner bass. Rating – 8

“Penny Lane” -Another new Beatles song done in concert for us… The crowd is now fully engaged. Rating – 8

“Live And Let Die” -The bombastic climax of the show. Since not all of the songs from the show made this album, this is as close to an encore highlight as we will get. Rating – 8

“Kansas City”

-The Beatles used to do this in their concerts, combing it with “Hey Hey.” Here Paul combines more of the original Wilbert Harrison song but also mixed with “Hey Hey.” Paul struggles a bit on the vocals. Rating – 7

“*Welcome To Soundcheck”

-Not really a song…. I guess this is included to ease you into these “bonus tracks..” Crickets and a helicopter sounds….

“*Hotel In Benidorm”

-Unreleased song from a soundcheck. Nothing special here, unless you were invited to watch the soundcheck from near the stage. Rating – 6

“*I Wanna Be Your Man”

-Song written for Ringo back in 1963, and also given to the Rolling Stones to release as a single back in the day. The band roughs it up, and Paul hams it up, giving it an edge, and not the charm of The Beatles version. Rating – 6

“A Fine Day”

-A final soundcheck of an unreleased song. Not a bad song, and I wonder if they ever tried laying it down in the studio? Good playing throughout. It really could have turned into a real jam with each player given time to shine. But only Robbie is given the time to stretch out on lead guitar. And the sound of crickets lead us out. Rating – 7

Overall, this album was a moderate disappointment when I brought it back in the day. Today, remastered, under headphones it rates as a 7.63/10. Hmm…a slightly better rating than I had expected.

The Cover

The album’s title is a response to the “Paul is dead” rumors after the 1969 release of the Beatles’ last studio album, Abbey Road, and the cover of PAUL IS LIVE is a digitally altered version of the 1969 album’s sleeve.

Intentional differences between the two covers are:

1. The infamous “LMW-281F” on the Volkswagen Beetle’s license plate was mis-read as “LMW-28IF”, purportedly meaning that Linda McCartney Weeps and that McCartney would have been 28 if he had lived – is edited to read “51IS”, indicating that he is alive and his age at the time was 51.

2. McCartney is wearing shoes; on Abbey Road he had appeared with bare feet, while the other Beatles had shoes. This mismatch was viewed as an eye catch to the hoax.

3. His left foot is forward. In the original cover, McCartney’s right foot was forward, out of step with the other Beatles.

4. He holds the dog’s leash in his left hand; since he is left-handed, many thought that another clue of the “dead Paul” from Abbey Road was the cigarette he held in his right hand.

5. The police car – said to symbolize the policemen who had been bribed by the other three Beatles to keep quiet about Paul’s death – has been removed.

**The dog appearing on the cover is Arrow, one of the offspring of Martha, the sheepdog that was the inspiration for the title of the song “Martha My Dear“.

**The cover photo is from the Abbey Road cover photoshoot by photographer Iain Macmillan.

There are differences between this and the photograph used for the Abbey Road cover; most notably, the taxi present in the Abbey Road cover photograph does not feature here.

The retouching was done by CGI artist Erwin Keustermans, who erased the Beatles and put in McCartney and the dog, taken from 35 mm pictures by Linda McCartney.

Up next: 2002 and 2003’s BACK IN THE U.S. and BACK IN THE WORLD tour albums.