Wings Over America (1976)


 
Disc One 1. Venus and Mars/Rock Show 2. Jet 3. Let Me Roll It 4. Spirits in Ancient Egypt 5. Medicine Jar 6. Maybe I'm Amazed 7. Call Me Back Again 8. Lady Madonna 9. The Long and Winding Road 10.Live and Let Die 11.Picasso's Last Words 12.Richard Cory 13.Bluebird 14.I've Just Seen a Face 15.Blackbird 16.Yesterday Disc Two 1. You Gave Me the Answer 2. Magnito and Titanium Man 3. Go Now 4. My Love 5. Listen to What the Man Said 6. Let 'Em In 7. Time to Hide 8. Silly Love Songs 9. Beware My Love 10.Letting Go 11.Band on the Run 12.Hi Hi Hi 13.Soily

 

If anything, this album deserves credit for its sheer volume. On this live album, Paul decides to include the entire concert as opposed to a "sampler" which was usually the format for live releases back in the day. Since Mac and company played a two hour show (not that common back in those days), the concert needed a triple album to accommodate the entire show. It fits nicely on two compact discs, so one's budget isn't strained too much.

Paul McCartney was now emerging as the Beatle with the most success to show for his solo efforts. All members had ups and downs, and even Paul (a few short years later) would prove he was not immortal either, but Paul McCartney now proved that he had a very successful "other" group in his band Wings, and he set out to prove it to the world. This is truly a "Wings" album. Most of the material here is from the last few albums, but that's really how it should be. When McCartney released a plethora of live compact discs ten, twenty and thirty years later, they would all follow a similar formula - which was a few surprises, but mostly Beatles classics and a handful of songs from whatever album the tour was supporting. This album stands out in that it doesn't follow that formula of those later albums. Yes, there are a few Beatles songs on this album, but he performs them out of nostalgia rather than obligation. Apart from Yesterday none of the Beatles tunes could be classified as particularly the best of the best.

So whenever a true fan sees his hero in concert, the more obscure the songs the better. That's not to say "unheard" of songs are that welcome (there's a couple of here as well, including a Simon and Garfunkel cover), but it's the deeper songs on the albums that never received much airplay that are refreshing. Of course, most of the "hits" from his solo career do make an appearance here, and one song, Maybe I'm Amazed, is actually a bit better than the original song (it was wisely released as a single off this album).

Being that this was the mid seventies, the overall quality isn't as good as one might be accustomed to having listened to several "live" McCartney releases years later. Concerts still were not the expensive spectacle "once in a decade" event they would come to be. Rather it was just an informal gathering of going to watch some people play music without too many extras. If you missed the show, the band would probably be back sometime next year. So, yes, the quality is a bit lacking, although some would attribute that to the Wings not being that great of a band. I can't honestly say. The music, for me, serves its purpose. A great souvenir of a tour that I never saw and it holds true to the performance, the songs themselves, and even the time when it was released. I'm awfully glad this one wasn't "filtered" down to only include hits.

Back To Main Page
Go To Next Review