Back To The Big Egg (Non Plus Ultra NPU-09/10/11)
Tokyo “Big Egg” Dome, Tokyo, Japan – March 7th, 1990
Disc 1 (62:42): Figure Of Eight, Jet, Got To Get You Into My Life, Rough Ride, Band On The Run, We Got Married, Let ‘Em In, The Long And Winding Road, The Fool On The Hill, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Good Day Sunshine, Can’t Buy Me Love, Put It There
Disc 2 (71:22): Things We Said Today, Eleanor Rigby, This One, My Brave Face, Back In The U.S.S.R., I Saw Her Standing There, Coming Up, Let It Be, Ain’t That A Shame, Live & Let Die, Hey Jude, Yesterday, Get Back, Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End, Mata Kimasu (I’ll Be Back)
Disc 3 (75:08): Japanese press conference (March 2nd, 1990 at the MZA Ariake incl. Match Box), Match Box (March 2nd, 1990 SBD recording complete version), announcement for change of the data (March 2nd, 1990 outside the Tokyo Dome), Figure Of Eight/Put It There (March 3rd, 1990 Japanese TV aired edit version), Figure OF Eight (March 3rd, 1990 Japanese TV aired longer version), Let ‘Em In (March 5th, 1990 single version), Put It There (March 9th, 1990 Japanese TV aired version), PS. Love Me Do (March 9th, 1990 very first performance of this song), opening film (March 13th, 1990 complete version), Once Upon A Long Ago (Japanese TV aired version 1987)
Paul McCartney’s year long tour in support of Flowers In The Dirt was his triumphant return to the touring circuit eleven years after the last one in 1979. The most dramatic part was the dates he played in Japan in March, occurring twenty-four years after his last appearance. Two previous attempts to visit Japan were stopped. The first in 1975 because of visa problems, and the second in 1980 because of Paul’s marijuana bust. Back To The Big Egg, this latest release on the Non Plus Ultra label, is their attempt to capture and present all the hoopla surrounding the event. For their effort we have the March 7th concert in Tokyo, the third of six shows in Tokyo, and an additional disc covering various media material.
The first two discs, covering the complete concert, is a superb, perfect, flawless, professionally recorded and mixed soundboard recording. The Misterclaudel people state this tape was borrowed and copied from “the extensive archives of a well known collector”, the same source from whence the 1979 Glasgow tape emerged several years ago. I can only give this a ten, but it deserves much higher. Definitely one of the best recordings available from the tour.
As good as the sound quality is, this is a great show too. Very spirited and lots of fun pouring out. The only addition to the set list was the Wings hit “Let ‘Em In”, plus the best from Flowers In The Dirt and all the great Beatles tunes thrown in for good measure. “Let ‘Em In” actually is one of the weaker tracks played, sounding very uneasy without the complete horn section he used to bring on past tours (Thaddeus Richard, etc.) “We’d like to stay in the same time zone for the next one, the sixties” he says before “Fool On The Hill”.
“This is dedicated to three friends of mine, John, George and Ringo without whom…” This arrangement includes an excerpt from Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech in the middle” (I wonder exactly what he was implying!). “Put It There”, one of the better songs from the new LP, contains the ending to “Hello/Goodbye”. “Coming Up” is played as a duet sounding like how Billy Preston might have handled it.The third disc contains all sorts of goodies related to the press on this tour. It begins with Paul playing Carl Perkins’ “Matchbox”, both in an audience and soundboard recording, and then a lengthy press conference with the Japanese, American and Australian press.
It is amazing to think that ten years after John Lennon’s death people were still asking about a Beatles reunion. He gives the response that it’s impossible, but hints at a future project which developed into the Anthologyproject. He’s asked several times about marijuana, and gives almost contradictory answers. One the one hand he advises people to stay straight, but that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. The rest of the disc contain various television appearances. An interesting piece though is the “P.S. Love Me Do”, a fair audience recording from the March 9th show. It’s a more modern sounding readaptation of the famous Beatles tune.
It’s unfortunate that Non Plus Ultra and its related labels (Misterclaudel, Piccadilly Circus, Wendy) don’t get more attention and circulation because they are all quite solid (their Beatle releases anyway). Releases like this demonstrate a respect for the Beatle collector by presenting lots of interesting historical information and placing the concert in its context. The bottom line is, if you have any passing interesting in Paul, you have to have this title. The sound quality, presentation, execution, historical relevance and intelligence makes Back To The Egg an absolute masterpiece and one of the best releases of the year.