Tuesday, December 11, 2007

DVD: Paul McCartney - The McCartney Years

Label: Rhino

Released: November 13, 2007

Like Paul McCartney's post-Beatles career, this collection is erratic. Some of it is amazing, some is trite, some is timeless and some is dated. The first disc is by far the least interesting. While some of the very early classics are on there, the videos generally show Paul's escape to a pastoral life that may have been very refreshing for him, but makes for dull music videos. The second disc picks up with the shallow visual interpretation of "Pipes of Peace," but also contains a lot of McCartney's best solo work, from the Flowers in the Dirt singles on. Plus, there's a really interesting tour of Abbey Road studios from Paul as a bonus.

The real gem is disc three, the live shows. It includes 1976's Rockshow, excerpts from his amazing Unplugged appearance, his Super Bowl show and "Let It Be" at Live Aid. While it would have been nice to see the whole Unplugged show, the commentary on that set as well as Live Aid went a long way to make up for it. The real gem on this disc though is his headlining gig at Glastonbury in 2004. Thirty-five years and so many sappy silly love songs later, he shows that he's still quite relevant, particularly with a version of "Helter Skelter" that he may just steal back from Charles Manson.

Because McCartney's solo career is imperfect, this DVD too is imperfect. However, the highs are high enough to carry it and the live performances show that McCartney isn't the lightweight that he's often accused of being. In addition to being very comprehensive, the restored original films look fantastic and the menu gives you the opportunity to view the videos chronologically or in McCartney's hand-picked order. Obviously, it's a must-have for McCartney fans, but the collection also has a lot of value for anyone who appreciates McCartney's career.

Rating: 8/10

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