Tripping The Live Fantastic (1990)

 
Disc One 1. Showtime 2. Figure of Eight 3. Jet 4. Rough Ride 5. Got to Get You Into My Life 6. Band on the Run 7. Birthday 8. Ebony and Ivory 9. We Got Married 10.Inner City Madness 11.Maybe I'm Amazed 12.The Long and Winding Road 13.Crackin' Up 14.The Fool on the Hill 15.Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 16.Can't Buy Me Love 17.Matchbox 18.Put it There 19.Together Disc Two 1. Things We Said Today 2. Eleanor Rigby 3. This One 4. My Brave Face 5. Back in the U.S.S.R. 6. I Saw Her Standing There 7. Twenty Flight Rock 8. Coming Up 9. Sally 10.Let it Be 11.Ain't That a Shame 12.Live and Let Die 13.If I Were Not Upon this Stage 14.Hey Jude 15.Yesterday 16.Get Back 17.Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End 18.Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying

 

If there was ever a time that you may have wondered if The Beatles, in fact, were actually slipping in popularity and maybe fading into rock an roll history, it would have been the late 1980's. John Lennon had been deceased for almost a decade, Ringo was struggling with alcoholism, George seemed happier as his alter ego Wilbury and racing cars, and Paul, although actively recording, really hadn't put anything substantial out for several albums. When Paul went on his stadium tour promoting his "comeback" album, The Beatles, or at least the memory of The Beatles, were once again revitalized.

As solo artists, none of the Beatles really did that much when it came to touring. Maybe those infamous 30 minute 1960's concerts where all you could hear was screaming turned them off for good? This tour was easily one of the biggest ones of the decade when McCartney toured during this timeframe, and fortunately, he released this double disc to capture the moment.

Like 1977's Wings Over America, Paul releases the entire show. This was always my preferred taste when it came to live shows, but it definitely was not the norm back then. I always felt that when you only release half of the show, you're bound to leave out some of the fan favorites, and it always seemed to be the goal of the record companies to pick the songs that would guarantee the most sales. Having compact discs replace albums as the preferred format did help, but, again, some record companies would shy away from the double disc because the high prices actually deterred fans as opposed to encouraging purchases.

This plays like what you would think a show from Paul should be. He plays a handful of songs from his latest album Flowers in the Dirt that are all well done and well received. He then picks several hits from his solo career, and a few golden oldies from when he was growing up. About half of this disc is dedicated to Paul's Beatle material, and this is what really sustains the album. It's incredibly refreshing to hear, not only these songs done with the care we've never heard in a live setting, but also the fact that Paul can deliver such strong renditions. Witness the crowd participation of the latter half of Hey Jude, for example. This is what this song was meant to sound like.

As usual, Paul tends to try to "cute things up" a bit, and this is what drags the disc set down. No, thankfully he doesn't do this during the actual live songs, but there are too many scattered elements throughout the song listing that divert from the album. There are a couple of soundcheck songs throughout the set, and they really do kill the flow. He also throws in some weird instrumentations listed as "songs" that do the same thing. Fortunately, that's why you have a "skip" button on your CD player, so I don't mind this mucking about since it can be passed over.

It was great to relive all the old memories again.

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