Paul McCartney/Wings – Rock Show (Misterclaudel MCDVD-01)

Rock Show (Misterclaudel MCDVD-01)

Venus And Mars / Rock Show / Jet, Let Me Roll It, Spirits Of Ancient Egypt, Medicine Jar, Maybe I’m Amazed, Call Me Back Again, Lady Madonna, The Long And Winding Road, Live And Let Die, Picasso’s Last Words / Richard Corey, Bluebird, I’ve Just Seen A Face, Blackbird, Yesterday, You Gave Me The Answer, Magneto And Titanium Man, Go Now, My Love, Listen To What The Man Said, Let ‘Em In, Time To Hide, Silly Love Songs, Beware My Love, Letting Go, Band On The Run, Hi Hi Hi, Soily

Rock Show is a relic that doesn’t deserve its obscurity. The Wings’ 1975-1976 tours were so massive they produced a triple live album, a television special “Wings Over The World” and the concert movie Rock Show. The television show wasn’t broadcast until three years afterwards in 1979 and the film had to wait almost four years for its U.S. premier on November 26th, 1980 and five for its U.K. premier on April 8th, 1981. It was in the theater for only several weeks and received very poor reviews (Roger Ebert hated it). It received some rotation on cable. Thorn/EMI Video issued it on home VHS and a laser disc in Japan in the mid eighties are the only official releases of the film and it has been out of print for twenty years. (There is a semi-official looking release listed on Amazon with the movie plus various videos from the seventies but it too is out of print).  All of the previous releases come from either of these two sources. The film was shot on 35mm and the theatrical 4:3 aspect ratio is preserved on this release. The picture looks very good but a bit soft with some specks and scratches.

The sound is stereo Dolby digital 2.0 audio that sounds very good on my system. Although the theatrical release contains the complete set list, the laser disc releases omit “Spirits Of Ancient Egypt,” “Call Me Back Again”, “Lady Madonna”, “The Long And Winding Road”, “Picasso’s Last Words (Drink To Me)”, “Richard Corey”, “Blackbird” and “My Love.” Misterclaudel offer the complete film for the first time on silver pressed DVD. The bulk comes from the aforementioned official releases, but the label supplies the missing tracks from a second source taped off of VH1 (with the station’s logo in the lower right hand corner). The video quality is noticeably inferior to the laserdisc being a bit more fuzzy. Denny Laine’s introduction to “My Love” comes from a third source which is very fuzzy, and this is edited perfectly with the second source. There are some syncing problems with the original film, but on this release the sync job between the vocals and footage during “Richard Corey” is horrible. This could have been a solid release, but the label could have corrected this easily and produced a stellar, must have release. Seven songs, “Venus And Mars,” “Rock Show,” “Jet,” “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Lady Madonna,” “Listen To What The Man Said,” and “Bluebird” are included on the official three DVD release The McCartney Years with a full release in the future highly unlikely. Misterclaudel could have filled a considerable void with this, but miss the mark.

The film is a composite of four separate nights on the Wings Over America tour.  “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “The Long And Winding Road,” “Yesterday,” and “Silly Love Songs” are from the May 25 show at Madison Square Garden in New York.  “Venus And Mars,” “Rock Show,” “Beware My Love,” “Letting Go,” and “Band On The Run” come from the June 10th concert at the Kingdome in Seattle, Washington. “Jet,” “Let Me Roll It,” “Spirits Of Ancient Egypt,” “Bluebird,” “I’ve Just Seen A Face,” “You Gave Me The Answer,” “Magneto And Titanium Man,” “Go Now,” “Let ‘Em In,” “Time To Hide,” “Hi, Hi, Hi,” and “Soily” come from the June 22nd show at The Forum in Los Angeles. And “Medicine Jar,” “Call Me Back Again,” “Live And Let Die,” and “Listen To What The Man Said” come from the June 23rd show in Los Angeles, the final night of the long tour. About the Seattle show, The Seattle Times reported: “If there was any doubt that the Kingdome was suitable for rock shows, Paul McCartney and Wings wiped it out last night with a spectacular extravaganza that was the highlight of their American tour. It was the biggest audience of the tour and set a new indoor attendance record for a single act – 67,000-plus. The stage light and sound systems were larger than any other date on the tour and were specially designed for the Dome. The concert was filmed, videotaped and recorded and Geraldo Rivera and his crew shot footage for an upcoming ABC-TV special.

“McCartney himself was bubbling with enthusiasm and obviously happy with the record crowd. He was full of boundless energy throughout the two-hour show, mugging, prancing and joking. He said he was having a good time and he looked it . . . One of the great excitements of the entire evening was the deafening roar of 67,000 people at the end and the sight of thousands of matches lighting the darkened hall before the encore. . .Nothing could have christened the Dome as a rock hall more dramatically or excitingly – the only currently performing Beatle in the biggest show of his tour. It was a night Seattle rockers will long remember.” One assumes the entire show was filmed although the other songs have never surfaced in any form. The Wings on stage were an interesting group to watch with Denny Laine’s double neck guitars and Paul’s Rickenbacker bass and the endless tambourines on mic stands. Like most Wings productions Paul gets most of the camera. Even during numbers like Jimmy McCulloch’s “Medicine Jar” the cameraman focus upon Paul blowing kisses to his wife instead of Jimmy singing the song (poor guy). The fashions will also make one cringe with Paul sporting a mullet ten years after they were in vogue. Hopefully someday a special edition DVD will be officially released with the entire concert and tons of extras and the ultra cool television trailer with a print made from the master film.

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