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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

  1. 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
  1. 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
  2. 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
  1. 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
  2. Let Me Roll It
    Very Good version. They must have been thinking tour…. Rating – 8.5
  3. Juniors Farm
    Another version I don’t have audio for. See #11. Rating N/A
  4. 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
  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
  6. 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
  1. Bluebird
    -Pink and Perky. Opens with an unusual and interesting drop key opening. Without the drum machine but still sounds wonderful. Rating – 8
  2. 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
  3. Jet
    -Another attempt. Paul is especially randy mood vocally, loose as a goose. Nothing new here. Rating – 7
  4. Soily
    Second attempt made…l. Don’t have the audio… yet. Rating – N/A
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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%)
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“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.”

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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.
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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.
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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%)
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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.

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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.

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TRIPPING THE LIVE FANTASTIC (1990)

After Paul was busted going into Japan, he laid low in 1980 and put his next an effort into the home recorded McCARTNEY II. It was not fully appreciated in it’s day, and now is thought of as ahead of it’s time experimental gem, not without faults, but a door opener in low-fi electronic recordings.

Lennon’s death was a crossroads which he could not turn back from.

He began to slowly re-embrace his Beatles roots, working with George and Ringo, and on all Beatles related projects up until this day.

We can see on all future concerts a dramatic shift in his song selections.

While successive tours would most likely support a new solo release, the set lists would become much more Beatles friendly.

Why look at the next live album we are reviewing now…. 3 Wings songs, 9 solo songs (most from the new album) and 15 Beatles songs.

After reuniting with George Martin in 1981, and beginning the next Wings album, he was convinced by Martin to make it a solo album. Wings was history with that decision and TUG OF WAR became the start of the third phase of his solo recording career.

Guest stars and bringing in new/hot producers to enable his visions, and attempts to recapture the mega-sales status of the past while remaining relevant in the contemporary market.

This still holds mostly true, but I think today he is more at peace to create to critical praise and self happiness.

1983 saw PIPES OF PEACE, started from leftovers from previous sessions. Not as well praised, but with big hits and names helping out.

Music videos for TV became the new way to promote, rather than going out on the road. After much success from these two albums on that front, he went full into it with the 1984 BROAD STREET. Not a disaster to watch as a fan, but it was box-office and critic wise, the biggest bomb of his career. Macca Magical Mystery Tour.

He appeared in concert as a one off at 1985’s Live Aid, and was greeted with a sound technical failure that almost made this a nightmare. His 1986 PRESS TO PLAY was ripped by critics, sold less that past albums and forgotten. He still put out singles, now dabbling in remixes and extended plays. His appearance at the Prince’s Trust concert that year was fantastic and had to help heal the wounds of Live Aid.

1987 saw him record, old style “The Russian Album” or CHOBA A CCCP. His love for the songs of his youth was always a healer for Paul, and is reflected on the 1989 tour which spurned this live album.

He began to work with other songwriters in this time period. First Eric Stewart of 10cc, then Elvis Costello. Both collaborations filled me with promise, but both ended quickly and with a bit of mystery as to why….

He took some of the songs he had worked with Costello on and hired a recording band, consisting of Linda, Hamish Stuart, Robbie McIntosh, Wix Wickens and Chris Whitten.

The album was 1989’s FLOWERS IN THE DIRT, released to much more positive reviews and sales. He decided to take this recording band and make them his touring band.

So they headed out on the road as The Paul McCartney World Tour. Every aspect was ultra modern, from stage to sound to promotion and concept. I saw him on this tour for the second time in Los Angeles on November 23rd, 1989. The night before Stevie Wonder joined him onstage, and Ringo came out for an introduction. This tour stretched into mid-1990 and was captured for this release. Beside the huge full album, a Highlights version was also released on October 29th, 1990.

On this complete album, Paul has included the pre-show chant as a track as well as four soundcheck tracks with two of these pre-show jams and being credited to all five band members.

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Statistical Analysis

# of Songs: 37

Songs of Paul (solo): 9 (24.3%)

Songs of Wings: 3 (8.1%)

Songs of Beatles (Lennon/McCartney): 15 (40.5%)

Songs of Others/The Band: 9 (24.3%)

Not Really A Song 1 (2.7%)

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“Showtime”

Not really a song so no rating….

There may have been a pre-show film for this one, about Paul’s career.

As the band approaches the stage they warm up and psych themselves up. Many bands circle, pray, harmonize. Nowadays, Paul and touring band sing the “Theme from The Monkees.” But in 1989….. we had this. A knock on the door…. “Showtime…”. The band approaches as the crowd volume raises…. The opening note drone….The giant image of Paul’s Hofner bass fills the screen into…..

“Figure Of Eight”

A song from his current album, FLOWERS played as well as possible. Paul sounds great but we can hear the voice now struggles and squeaks a bit more on the screams. This is life. He still smoked (everything) back then, and and a thirty year career of vocal shredding pays a price. Rating – 7.5

“Jet”

They segue into Wings “Jet,” and again this band is top notch. Wix brings such talent to every track, and besides filling every sound needed he takes the pressure off Linda. Robbie is an outstanding guitarist, and Hamish harmonizes so well with Paul. Paul struggles a tad more on this one. Rating. – 7

“Rough Ride”

Another FLOWERS track. If you had bought the album, and liked it and knew the songs on it, then you hear a wonderful reproduction. I would notice more bathroom and food & drink breaks by this in the crowd during the newer songs….Linda’s “yeahs!” Crack me up. Rating – 7.5

“Got To Get You Into My Life”

Paul teases the Robbie had written this song “that morning..” I’m sure he said this every show…. The first Beatles track and a chance to bop. Hamish really has to help Paul out on the chorus…. I remember being saddened at the time that our Paul was aging. Thirty three years later he still is kicking it…. Rating – 7

“Band On The Run”

Wings signature song, not as an encore, but placed here, early on. Linda’s synth part sounds a bit lean compared to the band. Played fantastically, as are all of the songs here. Paul’s charm and energy before and after each song are what makes you love him, but he struggles on the chorus here. Rating – 7

“Birthday”

A Beatles song that he hadn’t done before certainly had the asses shaking. Rating – 7.5

“Ebony And Ivory”

TUG OF WAR hit, with Hamish taking Stevie’s parts and nailing them. The second show at The Forum in L.A. Stevie was brought onstage to sing this with Paul. Rating – 8

“We Got Married”

A FLOWERS track played fantastically, Robbie doing his best to nail David Gilmour’s original 1984 guitar parts, which were kept on the 1989 album. Paul ad-libs “It’s not just a ‘washing machine’ if you don’t work at it. You really hear Wix’s contribution on the band, with a magnificent trumpet solo and strings on his keyboard set-up. Sadly, I watched the crowd rush to pee and eat as it began. Rating – 8.5

“Inner City Madness”

A jam at soundcheck that is filled with odd noises and squeaks and changes in tempo. Is it needed, no, but ok. Rating – 6

“Maybe I’m Amazed”

Paul settles into the large piano for the next two and sounds fine, but struggles on the upper end. The band, musically and vocally are spectacular, on this and EVERY track. Rating – 7.5

“The Long And Winding Road”

Paul takes us back “through the mists of time…to a time they call the 60’s.” Extra long intro and pause before the opening line. Done wonderfully. Funny how Paul now plays it in concert with lush strings and tender horns (Wix and Linda) and this was one of the straws that broke him back in 1969. Hamish and Paul harmonizing on the last verse is a highlight of the album for me. Rating – 8.5

“Cracking Up”

Bo Diddley made this one a hit, and Paul recorded it on the Russian album. Here is just a 50 second snippet of a soundcheck. Rating -7

“The Fool On The Hill”

He dedicates this to George, John and Ringo. On the colorful piano, at the end features the spoken words of Martin Luther King Jr. The piano lights up, rises and spins as Paul offers this song of hope…. Another highlight as Paul stays within his vocal range. Another wonderful harmony segment and finish with Hamish. Rating – 8.5

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

Wix samples the opening to the Beatles album and the crowd loves it. They rock it hard, but stay true to the original. All the sound effects are here. The segue into the guitar interplay of “The End” without crediting it, and no lyrics and then return to end “Pepper” properly. A very nice change I didn’t expect. Rating – 8.5

“Can’t Buy Me Love”

Paul asks “if they want to pop, jiggle about a bit or rock out, as this is a good one to do it.” They go in the 1964 classic and it sure is a toe tapper. But I’m not sure about “popping” to it. Rating – 8

“Matchbox”

Soundcheck of a Carl Perkins song that The Beatles recorded with Ringo handling the lead. But here it is rocked up more than a bit and Hamish handles the main lead, backed by Paul. Rating – 8

“Put It There”

Live, Paul explains the origins of the expression. From FLOWERS. Sadly, another chance for lesser fans to run somewhere. He adds a coda of the coda to “Hello Goodbye.” Other than it fits perfectly, it doesn’t make any sense why? Sort of like now he does “Foxy Lady” at the end of “Helter Skelter.” Rating – 7

“Together”

Soundtrack that the band is given credit for. A mid-tempo reggae beat on this song of positivity, with only three lines of lyrics…. Rating – 7

“Things We Said Today”

Another new Beatles song he had never done, and it was refreshing. Hamish again jumps in on the chorus much like his old partner. At the end Robbie is given a few minutes to solo with Wix giving him notes to work off of (Hey…. Paul did that on the last song of Egypt Station (“C-Link”) , and it really shows his chops. I imagine everyone ran to the back to get a drink or smoke…. Rating – 8.5

“Eleanor Rigby”

The segue into the REVOLVER classic. Paul slows it down a hair or two, with just Wix on keys, Robbie on acoustic and the band on backing vocals. Linda is way off key as I listen on the headphones. God rest her soul…. Rating – 7

“This One”

From FLOWERS…. Nice drone opening and vocals (kudos again to Hamish) throughout… personal favorite from the album, performed here in loose as a goose fashion. Rating – 8

“My Brave Face”

FLOWERS opening single, the very Beatle like song that everyone expected to top the charts. It did well, but only well. Sounds nice, but lacks the full impact of the studio version. Rating – 7

“Back In The U.S.S.R”

Wix lures us in with the soundbite of the airplanes…. A nice ass-shaking version of The Beatles WHITE ALBUM version. Faithful in all aspects, but at the end Paul scats on the vocals about being ‘back…. I’m back…. etc” Rating – 7.5

“I Saw Her Standing There”

Another one to keep the crowd “popping.” And “popping they-a-was.” The rip this 4/4 standard rocker for all its worth. Hamish’s rhythm track is worth the price of admission. Paul doesn’t overstep his range on this one. Rating – 8.5

“Twenty Flight Rock”

He played this one the 1979 Wings tour, on the Russian album in 1987, and again, this song got him into the Quarrymen. One of Paul’s all-time favorite covers. Great playing and singing by the band. Wix’s piano solo even had my dogs ass shaking. Oh wait, it shakes all of the time… Rating – 8.5

“Coming Up”

The crowd is wild, and Paul makes this one about Chris Whitten who turns the pop-rocker into more of a disco laden tune. Otherwise this one in similar style to the live hit of 1979, with Wix on horns. Hamish and Paul swap lead on a few of the verses… Paul even has Wix pull in a few vocal samples during the extended drum runs. Rating – 7.5

“Sally”

Soundcheck that Paul appears to improv vocally through. Old standard that must have confused the two time he played bits of it in shows…. Rating – 6

“Let It Be”

We knew it was nearing the end. Paul was saving the big guns for the final laps of the show. Done much like the 1979 version and Glyn Johns Beatles mix. Slow and steady until the 1:30 mark, and Whitten’s drums kick in. Solo by Robbie is spot on. Paul effectively vamps on the vocal phrasing…. Rating – 8

“Ain’t That A Shame”

Paul talked about meeting Fats Domino and then used the opening line of the song to finish his story. He recorded this one on The Russian Album in 1987, but thankfully didn’t have echo on his vocals on the two breaks… Very well done…. Rating – 8

“Live And Let Die”

The end is nearing. Paul at the piano, and we waited for the explosions! Now even bigger and better. Paul hangs in there and handles the screams! Rating – 8

The band leaves the stage…. We are happy, but we want more…..

“If I Were Not Upon The Stage”

36 second snippet that is made to fool the crowd to think he is going to sing it…. That zany Paul No Rating

“Hey Jude”

The first time this became a crowd involved version, with Paul asking the various parts of the crowd to sing it (“now the people in the middle…”) and then having them rated by the rest…. Then he would ask just the boys…. Then just the girls…. (“Well you sound so sweet to me…”) While it was very nice to join in and help, I always preferred this sung straight up. They do rock out to the end… leaving us drenched as they leave the stage…. (“You were great…you were great… and YOU were great….”) Rating – 8

We were sure we were going to get encore #2….

“Yesterday”

It is not a Paul concert without this one, done with Wix providing the string quartet on keys. Paul plays his famous Martin acoustic with the Red Wings logo on it…. Rating – 9

“Get Back”

After encouraging woo-woods they launch into the pedestrian beat of The Beatles classic…. The band is now fully back and they offer the version we now hear, more uptempo and funkier than the lads version. Rating – 8

Paul introduces the band and on the album, his wife in a few languages…

“Golden Slumbers”/“Carry That Weight”/“The End”

Now we get the proper ABBEY ROAD album ending second medley.

Wonderful throughout, and then to have Paul out from behind the piano on Chris Whitten’s solo to pick up his axe and the three guitarists trade back and forth, back to back, front to front…. Until the last note…

Flowers are thrown onstage…

Screams and yells for a third encore we know won’t happen…..

“See you next time”…. And we would. Rating – 9

“Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying”

Not the Gerry and The Pacemakers hit, bit the Ray Charles song of the same name is a final soundcheck tossed on at the end…. I’m not sure why, maybe more bang for our bucks….? This was a 2 CD and 3 LP set on release. Very well done, some of Paul’s best soulful singing here, all things considered. Maybe that’s why! Rating – 8.5

Overall this live album graded out as 7.51/10. The concert itself was more enjoyable by the fact you are actually in the same building as a Beatle that night in your life.

Next…1993’s PAUL IS LIVE.

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Wings -Last Flight (unreleased 1979)

After the Wings Over The World tour of 1975-76, Paul was back on top. Rave reviews for the tour, the cover of Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone etc….

The lawsuits and major tension between Paul and his Beatles had ended and all was at the least now civil between the four. This led to many rumors of a possible reunion for gigantic amounts of money.

After needed time off, Paul got the band back together to record his next batch of songs. Since BAND ON THE RUN (Lagos, Nigeria) his wanting to record in odd location continues. He made VENUS AND MARS in Nashville, New Orleans and Los Angeles. SPEED OF SOUND was done in England due to its time restraints.

No world class home studio or private studio as of yet. He decided to record what was to be called “WATER WINGS” on luxury boats in the Virgin Islands.

For a while things went swimmingly (tee-hee) until internal tensions again led to Jimmy and Joe leaving the band. Once again Wings was a trio.

LONDON TOWN was finished by the three in London and released to mixed reviews. Even with the hit singles “London Town” and “With A Little Luck” didn’t help make this one of Paul’s favorites. He released the album and music videos with hardly a mention of his two lost band-mates and has ignored it in his Archive Collections series.

Before recording their next album again he tried to flush out Wings with another lead guitarist (Laurence Juber) and drummer (Steve Holly).

Before this recording Paul had left Capitol records for Columbia in the biggest record royalty deal in the world at that time. There was much promotion by the label and pressure to live up to the monster contract.

They made an album, 1979’s BACK TO THE EGG, and the traditional Wings sound was influenced by the new wave and punk scene that was exploding at the time.

They worked very hard on the recording, making many videos (for a future TV special and promoting it heavily).

The reviews were not good on its release.

Paul is disturbed by negative reviews and he had worked so hard on assembling this 5th incarnation of the band and to see such a poor (compared to his prior sales) public and critical reaction must have deflated him.

Paul has also ignored this album on tour and as well in the Archive Collection (maybe in 2022????).

But Paul had already had started the wheels in motion pre-release to take Wings back on the road, starting in late ’79 in friendly U.K. sites, then kick it up in early 1980 with a tour of Japan, and then probably on to America.

But his heart must not have been fully into it and in retrospect wouldn’t have even began touring to support this album.

But the comfortable U.K. shows (even performing in Liverpool) went as well as possible on the outside, finishing 1979 with a topping the bill performance on New Years Eve at The Concert For The People Of Kampuchea.

After many of these shows, Steve and Laurence would come off, filled with excitement but would see Paul less than pleased by the performances.

McCartney later claimed that the band had not rehearsed enough for the tour and that he had bad feelings about going out on the road like this.

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This unreleased album is the complete show from Glasgow. Bootlegs also include the six song Kampuchea performance. They ended that show in gold jackets and some wore top hats with members of the Rockestra band (only Pete Townshend wouldn’t wear one). This would be the final Wings performance.

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Paul recorded these shows for another potential live album, but only the song “Coming Up” was released in its day. That live version was released in the summer of 1980, and placed as the b-side of the McCARTNEY II studio version. Ironically the b-side was a bigger hit in the states, the studio version bigger in the U.K.

“Wonderful Christmastime” also was performed by the band. It was released just before the tour, and was credited and done solo by Macca. Ironically, the entire band appear in the music video filmed while they rehearsed for the tour.

Coming into Japan on January 16th, 1980 with NINE ounces of weed led to… well we know what happened.

Paul’s explanation about the weed in his suitcase is bullshit. He claims “maybe subconsciously” he was trying to sabotage the tour… or maybe someone had put the weed in there??? Nonsense…… but Paul and Linda knew better. How much weed can you smoke in a country that had zero tolerance? His fame saved his ass…

The murder of John Lennon in December 1980 eliminated any thought as to a future Beatles reunion (maybe Paul had thoughts about this as tensions has mostly left between he and John) and this bust became the fork in the road for Paul.

He stayed at home and recorded and released the solo McCARTNEY II

Even if the band didn’t officially end until late 1981 (they did rehearse and record bits of TUG OF WAR material before producer Gorge Martin persuaded Paul to make it a solo record) , this was the end of the band.

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Statistical Analysis

# of Songs: 22

Songs of Paul (solo): 5 (22.7%)

Songs of Wings: 11 (50%)

Songs of Beatles (Lennon/McCartney): 4 (18.2%)

Songs of Others: 2 (9.1%)

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(Glasgow, Scotland 12/17/79)

“Got To Get You Into My Life”

-Before beginning the tour, Paul wasn’t sure he wanted to bring along the added expense of a small horn section, as he had on the Wings Over The World tour of 1975-76.

Convinced by band members that this would flush and fill out the bands sound, he agreed.

The horn section again consisted of Howie Casey, Thaddeus Richard, Steve Howard and Tony Dorsey.

It’s hard to imagine Wings opening a show with this song, the Beatles classic, that is horn driven, without one.

Certainly Linda’s modest talent on electronic keyboards wouldn’t be able to reproduce the horn sounds that the improved technology and amazing talent of his current keyboardist/musical director Wix does.

Interesting that Wings chose to open their shows with a Beatles song, but this is the slow direction Paul would begin from this point onward.

A sweet Horn intro leads us into the track. Paul is in fine voice, and the band is fine. The drumming is a tad weak. Rating – 8

“Getting Closer”

-The current single from BACK TO THE EGG album, which the band was promoting with the tour. Paul vocals are spot on to the record, even with a tiny bit of squeaking on the scream

Rating – 7

“Every Night”

-Acoustic with a bit of a rock edge with the electric solo and harder drum track. Released on The 1970 McCARTNEY I archive collection as a bonus track, even though it was recorded nine years later. Nice vocals throughout . Rating – 8

Again And Again And Again”

-The second EGG song, the Denny Laine written track. Not a great song to begin with, but played well, as are all the EGG period tracks, still fresh to the band. I always like the outro to this song, and it sounds great here, with Paul letting out some great howls. Rating – 7.5

“I’ve Had Enough”

-From 1978’s LONDON TOWN, which was recorded by just the trio, but oddly featured all of five of the current band in the music video. A simple 4/4 rocker, with the spoken words during the short instrumental quieting, reminiscent of those 50’s rockers.

Rating – 7

“No Words”

-Gem from BAND ON THE RUN, sped up a bit, but features wonderful three part harmony by Paul, Linda and Denny. One of my favorite Wings songs, so it was nice to hear it here.

Paul’s voice is run through a filter on his brief lead vocal. Paul occasionally goes a tad off on the harmonizing, but again, I love this song. Rating – 8

“Cook Of The House”

-Linda’s lead vocal on this SPEED OF SOUND track. Paul describes this song as a rocker. It is as best a “4/4 50’s style shuffle”. Rating – 6

Paul yells nonsense at the crowd periodically when they scream things at him that he can’t understand…Ok…

“Old Siam, Sir”

-Another EGG track, with Linda’s keys not as effective as Paul did on the track. Paul’s vocals are great, squeaky and roaring at the same time. Denny and Lawrence double guitars make this one a rocker, and of course the song speeds up at the outro.

Rating – 8

“Maybe I’m Amazed”

-Another track that made its way on the McCARTNEY I archive release as a bonus track. Paul handles the keys, introduced by Steve. Paul Jokes and leads them into “When The Red Red Robin.” Paul must have done this at each show, as he ALWAYS repeats the same things when he feels they work. This can be jokes, stories, mistakes, etc. Everything is planned…at least from the second time on. The background vocals are nearly non-existent, as compared to OVER AMERICA. The same rock outro that from 1976 tour that is the only WAY he plays it to this day. Rating – 8

“The Fool On The Hill”

-The second piano song. He asks for Woo Hoo’s from the crowd, which he does to this day. Amazing vocals, as if we were listening to MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR. The horns play flutes, compare to the recorder Paul used on the studio track. He doesn’t change the outro as he does on all future shows, in which he has added MLK speech, had his piano light up, rise and spin. Instead, a nice simple ending. Rating – 8

“Let It Be”

-Wonderful version, played like the Beatles version with George’s lead guitar solo (handles brilliantly by Juber). Linda has some tasteful organ throughout. Backing vocals are brought up in the mix. Nice. Rating – 8.5

“Hot As Sun”

-The third and final track taken from this song and included as a bonus track on McCARTNEY I archive collection. Instrumental that is given a reggae retrofit with the horns giving it some flair. Why? Rating – 6.5

“Spin It On”

-Paul’s attempt to punk out on this EGG track. He invites any members of the audience to “Pongo” if they want to “Pongo.” This is not his comfort zone, and it falls well short of a home-run. Rating – 6

“Twenty Flight Rock”

-The song that got him invited to join John Lennon’s band back in the day. He loves this song and the band delivers. Rating – 8

“Go Now”

-Before Denny goes into his lead vocals, Paul leads them into “Tip Toe Thru The Tulips” when Laurence says this song inspired him as a kid…

Done very much like the 75-76 version, but a tad faster. Rating – 7.5

The crowd is certainly enjoying the show, and giving much love to the band and the horn section on their introduction.

“Arrow Through Me”

-Another failed single from EGG (there were three). The horns are real on this one, as they were synth’s on the album. A good effort from all but a tough song to do live. Rating – 7

“Wonderful Christmastime”

-Since it was almost Christmas time, they let fake snow fall, and gave it their best shot. Paul introduced it as “their” new single, but we know it was “his” new single. This song makes about $400,000 yearly for Paul’s bank account. He doesn’t bring out a children’s choir, which he will do at future shows, on future tours.

Rating – 6

“Coming Up”

-The b-side hit single Americans listened to as DJ’s turned over the studio version (because the studio version didn’t sound like Paul they said). Paul says the song “may come out next year, if it escapes….” Nice version, which we all know and like, but this crowd didn’t have a clue. The horns again replace all the electronica of the 1980 studio version. Not the final set of lyrics that he used on McCARTNEY II. Rating -8

“Goodnight Tonight”

-The non-album single was the first thing this band recorded together. Paul brings out “ROBO”… the electronic box that gives this disco laden hit it’s familiar beat…. Reproduced as well as possible. Rating – 8

“Yesterday”

-Paul and the horn section. Outstanding, as always. The crowd is given a verse to sing. Rating – 9

“Mull Of Kintyre”

-Single released prior to LONDON TOWN, recorded by Paul, Denny and Linda. Paul always pulls out the bagpipers when he plays this (usually in Scotland or Canada). Paul offers this as a sing-along….. and the crowd is shocked and delighted when they emerge on cue. I wish I could have seen him do this one once. They are too far off mic to be truly effective on this audio track, but I get it.. Rating – 8

“Band On The Run”

-Let’s end things with Wings most famous track in their catalog….

Chants and clapping to “We want Paul” and “Paul McCartney (clap clap clap clap)” to bring them back out for the encore……. Rating – 7.5

Overall this unreleased album rates as a 7.52/10. A proper release would have been a better mix (this wasn’t bad all things considered).

At the end Paul thanks all and thanks the band, “this is a new band, and I like them….”

Maybe by leaving your stash at home, and letting a roadie score for you discreetly in Japan would have been a better way to show them your thanks…. Just saying…..

Wings….. the last flight. The other side of the mountain for sure, but still a decent show and representation.

Next: 1990’s TRIPPING THE LIVE FANTASTIC. His first touring/recording band in his solo career.

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WINGS OVER AMERICA (1976)

Quite a few things happened between The Live Over Europe 1972 tour and 1976’s WINGS OVER AMERICA album.

The release of RED ROSE SPEEDWAY was cut from a proposed double to a single album. The album became much mellower and commercial with the loss of many of the live tracks and studio versions that they had offered the 1972 European crowds.

They even changed the name to Paul McCartney & Wings on the jacket.

Guitarist Henry McCullough began to lose interest in the musical direction, and after starting rehearsals on the next album, he left the band.

Just before the official recording began, drummer Denny Seiwell left over the money he was being paid.

Paul took it as a challenge and he, Linda and Denny Laine recorded BAND ON THE RUN in Africa and England. Its success led Paul to try to flush out the band in 1974 by adding young Jimmy McCulloch and drummer Geoff Britton. Britton quit after the band had filmed live in the studio, “One Hand Clapping” and the album 1974’s McGEAR, for Pauls brother Michael.

Paul replace Britton with American drummer Joe English and the band recorded the VENUS AND MARS and then prepared for the Wings Over The World tour which would begin in Europe in 1975, come to the U.S.A. in 1976 and then finish late that year in Great Britain.

VENUS AND MARS was recorded specifically for the world tour, and featured prominently in the set list with eight songs, starting with the opening tracks.

The band even recorded another new album during the short break in the tour between Europe and America and quickly released WINGS AT THE SPEED OF SOUND, to coincide with the American leg of the massive tour.

The entire tour was an amazing success and late in 1976 Paul listened to ever second of the American show tapes, and with a bit of “fixing it up” in the studio, they released in December of 1976 the 3 LP set, WINGS OVER AMERICA.

Apparently the record company executives now didn’t have a problem as Wings had reach the nadir of their commercial existence.

-I saw Paul on this for the first time in Uniondale, New York on May 21st, 1976. Amazing….
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Statistical Analysis

# of Songs: 30

Songs of Paul (solo): 1 (3.3%)
Songs of Wings: 21 (70%)
Songs of Beatles (Lennon/McCartney): 5 (16.7%)
Songs of Others: 2 (6.7%)
Unreleased Songs: 1 (3.3%)
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(Opening Medley- Bass)
“Venus And Mars”
“Rock Show”
“Jet”
-A wonderful way to start the show. “Venus and Mars” gets the blood boiling as we get to see and hear Paul on an American stage for the first time since 1966. The crowd can barely control themselves, and the band launches into “Rock Show,” a song Paul wrote to describe the intended venues on this tour. The stage is now alive, Paul and the band, including the entire horn section he used on SPEED OF SOUND. Played almost note for note, but for Paul vamping on the vocals, they perfectly segue into “Jet”. By The time the three song medley is done, we are standing, screaming and in the palm of his hand. Rating – 9.5

-Paul does chat between songs a bit, but this has mostly been cut from the album. He used the big heavy Rickenbacker bass and divides the show set into small groups of songs based around the instrument he plays.

(Bass)
“Let Me Roll It” Rating – 8
“Spirit Of Ancient Egypt” Rating – 7.5
“Medicine Jar”. Rating – 7.5

(Piano #1)

“Maybe I’m Amazed”
-A huge response to this one, with a new arrangement that Paul uses to this day. The 1970 album track from McCartney became a hit single from the album. The only song from his “solo” albums. Rating – 9

“Call Me Back Again” Rating – 7.5

“Lady Madonna”
-The first Beatles song written by the band (he still is only performing HIS written Beatles songs at this time). The crowd response is notched up with each of these as we finally hear a Beatles song sung by that Beatle that sang it on release!) Rating – 8.5

“The Long And Winding Road” Rating – 8

“Live And Let Die”
-This was an unexpected thriller, as we had small explosions and a strobe light effect during the instrumental breaks. Not the bombastic production done on all tours after this, and placed early in the set, as it is now usually the set up for the break before the encores! Rating – 9.5

(Acoustic set)
“Picasso’s Last Words” Rating – 7

“Richard Cory”
-Obscure Paulo Simon written song. Maybe “I’ll Follow The Sun” or “Michelle” could have served better. It gave Denny another lead vocal. Rating – 7

“Bluebird”
-Paul breaks out the electronic drum box. Wonderfully done. Rating – 9

“I’ve Just Seen A Face”

-Sped up version, done more country and western style. It was great to hear it, but would have preferred they did it slower and more like the RUBBER SOUL arrangement. Rating – 7

Overall this segment was wonderful relaxing break to see the band sit on chairs and play for us “backyard style.”

The band leaves for “a break” and we have solo Paul on a stool. This was an amazing moment to lavish him with roars of delight.

(Paul solo acoustic)
“Blackbird” Rating – 9

“Yesterday”
-On this tour it was placed here, not as a must have encore. This is THE song we had all come to hear, as this was still the golden nugget of his from the days of Fab.

Since no “Hey Jude” at this point in his touring career, this was the apex moment of the show, with the remainder as gravy. Rating – 10.

(Piano #2)
“You Gave Me The Answer”
Rating – 7

“Magnetto And Titanium Man”
-A small screen drops down to reveal the two comic book characters. From row 10, off to the stage right, it was hard to see, as visual effects were still in their infancy. Rating – 7

“Go Now”
-Nice surprise change-up to have Denny sing his big hit from his Moody Blues days, and the band does a great job in making it bigger than the original.
Rating – 8

“My Love”
-Another highlight. Paul does struggle just a hair on the last high note, but the crowd roared their approval anyway. Rating- 9

“Listen To What The Man Said”
-A quicker performed version than the 1975 single, and the horn section on the “sax” solo gave it a slicker feel. Rating – 7.5

“Let ‘Em In”
-One of the two single on the charts during this tour period. It drew a great response, and Denny loved strutting around on stage with his marching band snare drum on his waist. Rating – 8.5

(Bass)
“Time To Hide”
-A song that actually (for me) was better than the album version, as Pauls thumping bass and especially Denny’s harmonica solo really maker this one cook. Rating – 9

“Silly Love Songs”
-The other big hit single at this time, played perfectly. The horn section replicated the studio version to our delight. Rating -8

“Beware My Love”
-Paul’s screamer, but an odd song with it’s tempo changes. Rating – 7

“Letting Go” Rating – 7.5

“Band On The Run”
-Paul saved this one, which was the Wings song that HAD to be heard by the crowd. A bit thinner than the way he plays it now, but we knew we had to give it our all as Paul said this was the last song….. Rating – 8.5

We screamed and chanted his name for a full five minutes to the dark stage…. We knew he was coming back, but the anticipation was amazing…. Here they come!

(Encore- Bass)
“Hi, Hi, Hi”
-Played at too fast a pace for me. I loved the 1972 single very much. But we all shook our bums, as Paul asked us to. Rating – 7

“Soily”
No “Hey Jude” or “Let It Be” or “Get Back” but instead he gave us a trippy unreleased song that for nearly all was still unknown. The use of the lasers and the extended opening was very nice, and the band does a great job, but to end the show on this song was a bit odd. Right? Rating – 8

Overall the album faithfully recreates the atmosphere and vibe associated with this show, which left us all thrilled.

Paul told us that he would “see us next time.” It would be 14 long years, but he came back, and back, and soon, back again.

Overall, WINGS OVER AMERICA rates as 7.53/10.

Next…….. 1979’s Wings LAST FLIGHT (unreleased)