Paul McCartney – Complete Electric Proms 2007 (Piccadilly Circus PCDVD-02)

Complete Electric Proms 2007 (Piccadilly Circus PCDVD-02)

BBC Electric Proms Festival, Roundhouse, Camden, London, England – October 25, 2007

Roundhouse, Camden, London, U.K. 25th October 2007: Magical Mystery Tour, Flaming Pie, Got To Get You Into My Life, Dance Tonight, Only Mama Knows, C Moon, The Long And Winding Road, I’ll Follow The Sun, That Was Me, Here Today, Blackbird, Calico Skies, Eleanor Rigby, Band On The Run, Back In The USSR, House Of Wax, I Got A Feeling, Live And Let Die, Baby Face, Hey Jude, Let It Be, Lady Madonna, I Saw Her Standing There, Get Back.  BBC Culture Show – June 2, 2007: Interview includes “That Was Me”  Later With Jools Holland – June 8, 2007: Opening Song, Dance Tonight, Interview, I’ve Got A Feeling, Only Mama Knows, Lady Madonna

The Electric Proms is a relatively new festival organized and hosted by the British Broadcasting Company. In only the second year they managed to present Paul McCartney for this full length show at the Roundhouse in Camden, London. The artists who participate for the Electric Proms are encouraged to do something different and out of the ordinary. McCartney, like other artists, plays some of the songs accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra along with his back up band (Paul Wickens (keyboards), Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray (guitars), and Abe Laboriel Jr. (drums)). Piccadilly Circus present the entire ninety-minute set (the BBC also broadcasted a sixty minute edit) in excellent sound and video quality. The videotape begins with a short Electric Proms introduction and each number is introduced with a small graphic on the bottom of the screen.

Unlike the secret gigs with “Drive My Car” or the iTunes Festival with “Coming Up,” he chooses to employ the 2005 set list double salvo of “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Flaming Pie” as the opener. “Welcome to the Roundhouse. It’s been a while since I was here. Quite a little while” Paul says before “Got To Get You Into My Life,” a number that opened the final Wings tour in 1979. Afterwards Paul says, “We are going to have a great time tonight” before the first single from the new album “Dance Tonight.” Paul introduces the first appearance of the orchestra saying, “you see we are augmented by our friends in the string department. They join us now” as they play the introduction to “Only Mama Knows.” “C Moon” with the heavy emphasis on its reggae roots has been a constant at the rare live appearances and includes a reference to Jamaica thrown in.

Paul stops to read the signs afterwards and says, “People holding up signs. (reading) ‘2 California Girls ♥ U.’ Only two?” he quips before “The Long And Winding Road.” A short acoustic set follows beginning with “I’ll Follow The Sun.” it is extended at the end with multiple iterations of the final cadence because it is such a short song. McCartney is left along on stage for both “Here Today” and “Blackbird.” The band returns for the next two songs “Calico Skies” and “Eleanor Rigby.” On both they are supplemented by the orchestra. Two fast rockers, “Band On The Run” and “Back In The USSR” follow. Paul plays piano for the somber “House Of Wax” and is able to get into the tune with no comments from the audience (unlike the iTunes Festival). “I’ve Got A Feeling” is played without the hard rock coda present on recent renditions. A curious event occurs before “Live And Let Die.”

Paul points to Leon Jackson in the audience and says, “did I see you on the ‘X Factor’? Alright man, how are you doing? I figure we can have a conversation here, forget about everyone else.” (Of course Jackson recently won). The old Wings song is punctuated for dramatic emphasis with pyrotechnics. The soaring piano epics, “Hey Jude,” “Let It Be,” and “Lady Madonna” follow prefaced by a full version of “Baby Face” (a joke Paul has been playing for over thirty years now). The set ends with “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Get Back.” The camerawork is consistent with recent broadcasts with many close ups and the rolling camera at the front of the stage offering moving, panoramic images. The screen behind the band shows many psychedelic colors and shapes throughout the show to provide more interesting visuals besides the men on stage.

The first of two bonus clips is the June 2. 2007 interview from the BBC Culture show. In excellent quality, the interview is twelve minutes long, conducted by Lauren Laverne. The interview is conducted on the roof of Paul’s studio and is intercut with old Beatles interviews that serve as a wry commentary on his recent words. He begins by speaking a bit about “Dance Tonight” and his learning the mandolin, and reminisces about his first meeting with John fifty years ago. He continues by singing a bit of “That Was Me” and even sings it as a duet with Laverne. An interesting exchange occurs in the middle where Paul talks about his optimism and how it translate into his music. The “Later…With Jools Holland” clip is about twenty minutes in length and includes all of the McCartney material from the broadcast on June 8.

The musical performances are more laid back in the intimate atmosphere of the television studio. After “Dance Tonight” Holland conducts a short interview with Paul about the mandolin, the Beatles-like quality of Memory Almost Full, and Paul’s inspiration. They play “I’ve Got A Feeling” and “Only Mama Knows” with an edited commercial break between them. Finally Jools joins Paul on organ for a rousing version of “Lady Madonna” as the closing credits roll. The host mentions during the interview that he played that song as a kid and it would be his dream to play it with the former Beatle and Paul oblige. The bonus clips are fascinating to have and Complete Electric Proms 2007 is an excellent release by Piccadilly Circus. In general they have done a commendable job following McCartney’s various appearances throughout the year and are building up an impressive catalogue of silver pressed DVD for the collector.

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