Paul McCartney's 2002 "Back In the USA" tour was one of the more remarkable concerts I have ever seen. Amazingly, McCartney's voice was as fresh and strong as on the early Beatles recordings. The band was hot, the crowd ate it up. McCartney embraced not only his Beatles days, but the best of Wings as well as his individual efforts. He fittingly acknowledged John and George in touching moments that will long be remembered. The tour sparked a successful TV special and DVD/CD release, to the excitement of fans of all ages.
On the heels of that release came this release from McCartney's 1993 New World Tour. Much like the 2002 tour in the USA, it is augmented by lots of lighting and video effects that manage to supplement the music well without intruding on the music, even for those of us who are musical purists.
The band in this release is comprised of Linda, Hamish Stuart, Robbie MacIntosh, Wix Wickens and Blair Cunningham. The sound is more "Wings-ish" than the most recent USA tour's sound, making for an interesting point of comparison. Curiously, most of the music is from the Beatles era. The music that comes closest to missing the mark is the most recent work. Wisely, the set list provides for a continual mix from era to era.
There are Beatles classics like Drive My Car (one of my all time favorite Beatles tunes), Hey Jude and All My Loving. Paul plays a little rockabilly with Good Rocking Tonight and Kansas City. And there are the match lighting singalongs with Hey Jude and Let It Be.
The DVD is lacking in special features. Not surprising, as this was recorded in the pre-DVD era. There is a text-based musical bio of Paul, and a photo gallery with images from the DVD. Sound options include 5.1 Dolby Digital, Dolby Headphone, and Dolby 2.0. So, you can listen to it optimally in almost any electronic environment. Much of the video is black and white, more for effect as it flashes back and forth to full color.
The most riveting part of the concert comes at the conclusion of the film. A twelve-minute video montage that actually preceded the concert on the tour is shown. Backed by classic clips of Beatles and Wings hits, the video starts out with photos of Beatles and family photos of Pal and Linda. It then transitions into pictures of animals being trapped, hunted, slaughtered and tortured. It is a disturbing statement in favor of animal rights and vegetarianism.
It would be a disappointment if this disc were a carbon copy of the USA tour, but it isn't. And hey, it's Paul, playing a few Beatles classics that weren't on the USA tour. This DVD can serve as a great collection of Paul's music alone, particularly with the presence of Linda.
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