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Paul McCartney and Wings: Rock Show (Blu-ray)

It's finally here, the film version of the Paul McCartney & Wings Wings Over America triple live album, titled Rock Show, now available on Blu-ray and DVD formats for the very first time. Recorded during their tour of America in 1976 at the huge Kingdome in Seattle, Washington in front of over 67,000 fans (though some of the footage is from other venues, the bulk is from Seattle), this was the last date of the tour and a huge event for both the fans and the band. Wings, led by former Beatle McCartney, had been riding high in recent years with a string of chart topping albums & singles, and during this lengthy concert you get to hear & see all those hits, strong album cuts, as well as a few Beatles classics and other surprises.

Featuring the 'classic' line-up of Wings, which included Paul & Linda McCartney, Denny Laine, Jimmy McCulloch, and Joe English, this is an exhaustive performance that shows the band truly at their peak. Most of the harder rocking tunes are featured at the front & back end of the concert, with some of the Beatles songs, cover tunes, and acoustic numbers sitting in the middle of the set. For my money, I've always been drawn to the Wings classics and especially the hard rock numbers that are included in this concert (Wings Over America has always been one of my favorite live albums), and you get plenty of them here. The opening trio of "Venus and Mars/Rock Show/Jet" works really well in getting you in the mood, the medley chock full of Paul's killer vocal harmonies and expert instrumentation by the band, including some sizzling horn accompaniment courtesy of Tony Dorsey, Howie Casey, Steve Howard, and Thaddeus Richard. Another great element of this concert is that it's not just the 'Paul McCartney show', so you get some strong lead vocals from Laine on the rocking "Spirits of Ancient Egypt" and McCulloch on lead vocals & scorching guitar on "Medicine Jar". Laine also puts in plenty of other lead vocal appearances here, such as "Richard Cory", the heavy "Time to Hide", and a fun rendition of the old Moody Blues hit "Go Now". Look for the band to regularly change instruments, with Paul going to bass to piano and back to bass again, Laine switching from guitar, to bass, to piano, and harmonica, as well as McCulloch also donning the bass briefly and all strapping on acoustics for the middle section of the show.

After some real tender moments where Paul pours his heart out on "Yesterday", "Maybe I'm Amazed", and "The Long and Winding Road", it's the back end of the show that brings the most sizzle. "Silly Love Songs", "Listen to What the Man Said", "My Love", "Let 'Em In", "Beware My Love", "Letting Go", and of course the show stopper "Band on the Run" are just fantastic here, with the encores of the fun "Hi Hi Hi" and the near heavy metal cut "Soily" closing out this memorable concert. English pummels his kit throughout, and the workhorse performances of the entire band really shines through, with McCulloch's lead guitar work and McCartney's melodic, beefy bass lines really sticking out. Though Linda doesn't have much to do other than drop in some keyboard textures, backing vocals, and tambourine, at least she looked like she was having fun and holding her own.

So, great Blu-ray right? Well, the performances are kick ass, and it's great to finally have an official version this so I can retire my old grainy, bootleg DVD (probably recorded from Bata or VHS) after many years, but this Eagle Rock release is far from perfect. They did a fine job on the picture quality, as Rock Show has never looked better, with much of the concert really as close to high-definition as it can possibly be. I was really impressed with the transfer here, and quite frankly it was a pleasure to watch. The audio however is a whole other ballgame. While it started off good, by about mid-way through the show you start to hear frequent drop offs, especially from the bass, which throws the whole mix off, and it continues throughout the Blu-ray. I have a sound bar system hooked up to my Blu-ray player and flat screen TV, and even with it set to stereo, these drop offs are very apparent. While they generally don't last long (a second or two at the most), it's rather jarring when the bass drops out then comes booming back in. I'm not sure how this slipped by in the QC process, but it's rather annoying when you're trying to sit back and really enjoy this Blu-ray.

Otherwise, Eagle Rock did a great job on the packaging, as it's all encased in a lovely book styled case, with a thick booklet packed with photos and an essay on the concert/film/album/tour. Some of you who had the original Wings Over America LP might remember the poster that came with the album, and many of the photos here are similar to the photos on that poster. With the exception of the faulty audio in spots, this is a stellar release for all those who waited all these years for it to be released commercially. I'm not sure if Eagle Rock has since fixed this problem, or it there are settings you can juggle to rectify this on your own system, but just be aware that this problem is out there on much of the initial inventory that was shipped out. So, 5 stars for the actual concert itself, the packaging, and the video quality, and 3 stars for the final audio presentation.

Track Listing
1) Venus and Mars/Rock Show/Jet
2) Let Me Roll It
3) Spirits of Ancient Egypt
4) Medicine Jar
5) Maybe I'm Amazed
6) Call Me Back Again
7) Lady Madonna
8) The Long and Winding Road
9) Live and Let Die
10) Picasso's Last Words
11) Richard Cory
12) Bluebird
13) I've Just Seen a Face
14) Blackbird
15) Yesterday
16) You Gave Me the Answer
17) Magneto and Titanium Man
18) Go Now
19) My Love
20) Listen to What the Man Said
21) Let 'Em In
22) Time to Hide
23) Silly Love Songs
24) Beware My Love
25) Letting Go
26) Band on the Run
27) Hi Hi Hi
28) Soily

Bonus Feature-A Very Lovely Party

Added: August 29th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Hits: 2082
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Paul McCartney and Wings: Rock Show (Blu-ray)
Posted by Jordan Farquharson on 2013-08-29 22:13:09
My Score:

Dear reviewer: your product is defective. There were reports of this particular glitch on sites such as Amazon. However, the problem should have been solved already. When did you get your product? Also, I've been told that the audio glitch only affects 5.1 audio.

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