Judge David M. Gutierrez wrote this review with a little help from his friends.
It was twenty years ago today.
Actually, it had been only thirteen since Paul McCartney had last taken to doing a world tour. Following the end of his band Wings, McCartney had since turned to releasing studio albums in the 1980s (to much critical disdain) before finally doing what he loved best—touring.
Compiling footage from concerts all over the planet, Richard Lester (A Hard Day's Night) and McCartney assembled one of the few McCartney concert films to allow uninterrupted song play. In his later filmed concerts, McCartney would often splice footage of himself in the studio, testimonials, and other flotsam interrupting his greatest hits.
Paul McCartney's Get Back World Tour is a rock 'n' roll pastiche mixing Beatles, Wings and solo efforts. With wife Lynda and the rest of his band, the mulleted Macca makes mad music in front of millions.
The song selection is quite strong. No "C-Moon" in sight, thankfully. Macca fans are treated to the following:
• Band on the Run
Unfortunately, McCartney's voice in 1990 isn't as strong as it once was. Admittedly, his voice has bounced back since, but in 1990 it was lacking inspiration, lumbering somewhere between lounge act and open mic night. His band seems adequate, but that's about it. There's no oomph to the songs. When I hear "Get Back," I should be rocked off my seat, not feel like I'm in an elevator. "Live and Let Die" should crack my eardrums, not lull me.
Another oddity is the choice of background images flashing on the huge screens behind the band. Despite the inclusion of their songs, nary a Wings photo or image is present. During "Band On the Run," clips from Help! are featured. The Beatles had nothing to do with "Band On the Run." I know it's a "band on the run"; it's just not the right band. Other images include war footage, old news coverage, and other forced political imagery. I know you love the peace, Paul—I just don't need to see you forcefully juxtapose Asians getting drowned against "The Long and Winding Road." Wasn't that just a song about the road to John Lennon's house?
For a concert shot on film only fifteen years ago, the picture comes off as muddied and sloppy. Every concert takes place at night, so greater care should have been taken. Even the Help! footage looked better. To add insult to injury, the film's presented in full frame. When the film cuts to the blurry audience, it looks as though only a dozen or so have shown up for the show.
I normally associate a concert film with strong audio. While the 2.0 Dolby surround mix sounds adequate, I never feel like I'm there. I think I should.
As far as disappointments go, the "Special Features" section is a champ. Paul McCartney's Get Back World Tour includes such amazing features such as a fullscreen version of the movie (the only version available on the disc), 2.0 Dolby Surround Sound (the only audio version available), English closed captioning (I'm not touching that one), and a scene index. Pretty much we get the standard fare with nothing special about it.
Fans of this DVD should check out McCartney's Tripping the Live Fantastic for the album versions of the songs featured here and more. That, too, is a mixed bag. For phenomenally filmed McCartney concerts, check out Paul McCartney: Back in U.S. or Paul McCartney: In Red Square for amazing McCartney vocals and his best backing band since those other three guys he used to pal around with.
The court finds Paul McCartney's Get Back World Tour guilty of not delivering the goods and sentences Lions Gate to life imprisonment for assaulting a Beatle. A second charge applies to their continued hyping of "Special Features" that just aren't. Case dismissed.
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