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Paul McCartney – iTunes Complete Festival 2007 (Piccadilly Circus PCCD-048/049 PCDVD-01)

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iTunes Complete Festival 2007 (Piccadilly Circus PCCD-048/049 PCDVD-01)

The Institute Of Contemporary Arts, London, England – July 5th, 2007

Disc 1, iTunes Festival 2007, The Institute Of Contemporary Arts, London – July 5th, 2007:  Coming Up, Drive My Car, Only Mama Knows, Dance Tonight, C Moon, The Long And Winding Road, I’ll Follow The Sun, Midnight Special, Calico Skies, That Was Me, Blackbird, Here Today, Back In The USSR, Nod Your Head, Jet, House Of Wax, I’ve Got A Feeling, Matchbox, Let Me Roll It, Get Back

Disc 2:  Baby Face, Hey Jude, Let It Be, Lady Madonna, I Saw Her Standing There.  Soundboard from the iTunes Festival:  Coming Up, Only Mama Knows, That Was Me, Jet, Nod Your Head, House Of Wax.  Soundboard from Amoeba Music, Los Angeles, CA – June 27th, 2007:  Drive My Car, Only Mama Knows, Dance Tonight, C Moon, That Was Me, Blackbird, Back In The USSR, Nod Your Head, House Of Wax, Hey Jude

DVD, Pro-shot from iTunes Festival 2007, The Institute Of Contemporary Arts, London – July 5th, 2007:  Coming Up, Drive My Car, Only Momma Knows, Dance Tonight, Midnight Special, Blackbird, Back In The USSR, Jet, House Of Wax, Get Back, Hey Jude, interview

Piccadilly Circus have done a commendable job keeping up with Paul McCartney’s low key appearances this past summer.  They covered two of the three “secret” club gigs in June (New York and Los Angeles with no sign yet of the London show), and with iTunes Complete Festival 2007 they present McCartney’s entire set from the July 5th show at the ICA. 

This festival was announced in early June, as it stated in Billboard:  “iTunes is entering the live music business.  Apple Computer’s market-leading digital music store said today (June 12) it is throwing its considerable clout behind the free iTunes Festival concept, which will take place in London throughout July.  Amy Winehouse, Crowded House, Travis, Editors, Stereophonics and Beverley Knight are among the 60-plus artists who are booked to perform during the month-long event at London’s 350-capacity Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) on the Mall.  Mika will kick off the festival July 1st with a headline performance.  Tickets will be distributed through competitions on the official iTunes Festival Web site. Throughout the 31-day program, organizers will update the site through a mixture of photographs, blogs, videos, podcasts and artist interviews.  In addition, each concert will be taped and made available for purchase on iTunes.” 

Paul McCartney’s participation for the event wasn’t confirmed unto NMEannounced it on June 26th, 2007.  Since he has relied heavily on iTunes for promotion and sale of his latest album Memory Almost Full, his appearance was almost a given.  This is the most ambitious festival ever conceived and since all festivals derive their meaning from a higher purpose for the event, it can be said this is to celebrate and display the love of live music being shared in a digital medium.  This release collects every relevant scrap of both audio and video to create the most intimate and detailed record of the event.

The source used for the complete show is an excellent stereo DAT recording.  Given the small venue, the music is very clear but the audience is intrusive at times, especially during the sing-alongs like “Blackbird.”  Paul’s song introductions are a bit difficult to hear at times making it hard to understand what is transpiring around the stage.  But on the whole it is a very enjoyable document and the only complete record of the show to surface.  The band are full of energy and regard the gig as a big party and truly enjoy themselves.  Nothing is sluggish and there are no slow spots in the set.  McCartney’s set list for this is similar to the club gigs with an emphasis upon newer material, some Wings numbers and of course Beatle songs. 

Unlike the other, this show opens with “Coming Up” from McCartney II.  During the bridge the band lock into the “Peter Gunn” theme and Paul sings the final verse over that before the song concludes.  “Drive My Car,” which was the opener for the June shows, is moved to second.  During the count-in to “Only Mama Knows” Paul says, “Welcome to our little show here at the ICA.  Warm enough?”  and before “Dance Tonight” he says, “Yea I feel we’re gonna have a bit of a party tonight…don’t shout.”  Someone close to the taper begs for more Wings songs before Paul’s long introduction to “I’ll Follow The Sun.”  Just like the Amoeba tape, someone close to the taper sings along but thankfully this Brit sings in tune!

McCartney remains on acoustic guitar for “Midnight Special,” another addition to the set list.  He explains the meaning of the song, a traditional folk song describing the legend from Sugar Land, Texas and how the light shining from the train will free the prisoner on whom it shines.  “Blackbird” and “Here Today” are sung by Paul alone.  The band return for a heavy version of “Back In The USSR.”  “Nod Your Head” includes the admonition to the audience to nod their heads “in time.”  There is a strange exchange before the new song “House Of Wax” where Paul gets into a playful argument with a woman close to the stage.  She asks, “‘House Of Wax?’”  “We’ve just had a request for this next one” he replies.  “Dedicate it to me” she says.  “No” McCartney replies.  She repeats, “Dedicate it to me, please.”  “No.”  “PLEASE!” 

“You probably don’t know what we’re doing out there…We’re gonna dedicate it to every right minded person in the world.”  “I’ve Got A Feeling” contains the rocking coda introduced several years ago, and another new addition to the set, “Let Me Roll It,” contains the “Foxy Lady” section at the end as it was played on the 2005 tour.  The play a version of “Baby Face” as an introduction to “Hey Jude” which gets the audience singing along very loudly.  The set ends with “I Saw Her Standing There.” 

As a bonus, Piccadilly Circus include the six song EP from the soundboard that iTunes posted after the event and they also include ten sounds from the Amoeba show in Los Angeles that were aired on KCRW on September 5th in excellent.  The DVD is a forty-five minute excerpt from the show and includes an interview with McCartney where he talks about changing media and his use for Internet downloads.  This title is packaged in a fatboy jewel case with thick cardboard inserts and is another quality release from this label worth having.

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