I had the pleasure of seeing Sir Paul McCartney at Coachella a few years back—a few decades after he made his debut with a little bar band from Liverpool. At a festival full of amazing up-and-comers, Paul vanquished them all with a Beatles-heavy set that paid beautiful tribute to mates George Harrison and John Lennon.

Paul McCartney and Wings: Rockshow, recorded in 1976, features Paul McCartney and Wings, the fine band he put together after calling it quits with that little bar band that wound up becoming the single greatest entity in rock/pop history. Here, we see McCartney, with wife Linda in tow, getting used to the idea of playing in front of large crowds again. (The Beatles quit touring in the late 1960s because they were basically afraid for their lives.)

The set is a mixed bag. He does make a few nods to the Beatles catalogue with nice versions of “The Long and Winding Road,” “Blackbird” and “Lady Madonna.” But this is mostly a Wings/solo McCartney affair, and for every “Live and Let Die” or “Maybe I’m Amazed,” there’s a “Silly Love Songs” or “Beware My Love.” His Wings stuff definitely had some gold—but it offered up some clunkers as well.

When I saw McCartney in concert here at Coachella, he handled all of the vocals with full-throated bravado. In Rockshow, he lets guitarists Denny Laine and the late Jimmy McCulloch handle quite a few tunes. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t what you want to hear when you pop in a McCartney Blu-ray. And as much as I loved Linda, she pretty much just took up space as a musician onstage.

The video actually warns light-sensitive people about its blinking strobe lights at the beginning. I thought that was silly, but I left the room for a second and returned to see my living room looking like a disco. They weren’t kidding.

Special Features: “A Very Lovely Party” is a little short containing backstage footage. 

One reply on “Blu-Ray Review: ‘Rockshow’ Shows the Mixed Bag That Is Wings-Era Paul McCartney”

  1. Silly Love Songs is a great track. It is most certainly NOT a “clunker.” It’s got a great lyric (the opening lines still ring true today), it’s got a great bass line, and it was a terrific FU to John Lennon who said Paul only wrote “silly love songs.” So what did Paul do? He used John’s words to write a No. 1 hit. And then he got the last laugh when John produced an album of silly love songs called Double Fantasy.

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