Paul McCartney “Ebony And Ivory 1989” (No Label)
Live at the Great Western Forum, Inglewood, CA, USA. 27th November, 1989.
Disc 1; Band Introduction / Figure Of Eight / Jet / Rough Ride / Got To Get You Into My Life / Band On The Run / Ebony And Ivory / We Got Married / Maybe I’m Amazed / 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 / Things We Said Today / Eleanor Rigby / This One. (76:55)
Disc 2; My Brave Face / Back In The U.S.S.R. / I Saw Her Standing There / Twenty Flight Rock / Coming Up / Let It Be / Ain’t That A Shame / Live And Let Die / Hey Jude / Yesterday / Stevie Wonder Intro / Ebony And Ivory (With Stevie) / Get Back / band introductions / Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End. (62:00)
Paul McCartney’s first and only tour of the 1980’s was always going to be an event. His 80’s had been as pallid as at the lot of the rest of the 60’s rockers whom had struggled to motivate their careers through punk, new wave and the dreaded synth against the apathy of a new generation of music fans with only a few bursts of the old McCartney genius on his subsequent albums.
“Flowers In The Dirt”, the album that would pull in in to the 90’s all with the help of a little help by Elvis Costello by ramping up the acidity in the writing and providing a Lennonesque bite that Macca had been missing, would be roundly dedicated as being a triumph to his career. On the back of this, the tour, dubbed “The Paul McCartney World Tour”, was assembled with the help of Paul’s wife Linda, a constant reassurance for McCartney having joined him on the road since the beginning, Hamish Stuart on guitars and bass, Robbie McIntosh for guitar, Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens on Keyboards and Chris Whitten was stationed as percussion duties.
The tour winged it way around the world drawing through nearly a year and visiting many countries which the Beatles never touched upon. Speaking of the Beatles, Macca’s set list reflected heavily on a rota of Fabs classics – while Wings had begun to open up to a few more Beatles tracks within their latter incarnations, the world was warming to the band once more and so the decision was made to include just a few more tracks. It’s an exciting track list – neither new track oblique or festooned with golden oldies.
The No label label have released a great audience recording from the tours 3rd show in America where special guest Stevie Wonder was in attendance. As far from the crowd to be recorded from the middle of the stadium but not too distant to be a damp squib. Presumably it’s the same recording lifted from the 3LP set of the same entitled “Yesterday, Today and McCartney” but has been taken from a very clean copy of the vinyl.
Beginning with a drone noise close to the final chord of “A Day In The Life” that announces the appearance of the band, this slowly creeps in to “Figure Of Eight”. One of Paul’s chugging, rabble rousers with warm harmonies from the band, it quickly falls in to “Jet” – a latter-day show starter and a great entrance for both Paul’s bass prowess and to get him to charge up the vocals.
“Rough Ride” is another spartan, 80’s influenced, rumble, plenty of screams from McCartney but all being said, not on the right side of his best work. “Got To Get You In To My Life” is introduced with the tours routine joke about Robbie having written it hours before.
After “Band On The Run” comes the night’s first rendition of “Ebony And Ivory”, dedicated to all the friends in the audience (“Too many to mention” but Linda finds a little space to shout of the names of two of the McCartney’s kids who are there tonight. )
“We Got Married”, a nagging treatise in favour of marriage comes before “Maybe I’m Amazed”, this just goes to highlight the division between the periods but, honestly, they could have chosen something a little less classic to follow the track as it gets completely overshadowed by it’s rejoinder put together with the fact that we’re then given a long run of Beatles tracks to feast upon, drowns the poor “Flowers ..” song out.
As Paul’s still at the piano we’re treated to two more Beatles songs written on the instrument before Paul picks up the bass and the storming if slightly more funereal paced “Sgt. Peppers” comes to blow things apart again. Played in it’s late 80’s structure it’s a thrilling beast. Akin to “The End” the band all have a go at throwing out a few powerful solos before the reprise comes around. Personally I think it’s an idea that McCartney should re-introduce with his latest band, the hip young gunslingers if they’re to show off some real chops.
A couple more upbeat upbeat tracks follow before another solo song, the amiable “Put It There” brings on the acoustic section of the set followed by “Things We Said Today” and “Eleanor Rigby”.
“This One” brings the band back to electricity, a much missed track that really should have been given a more of a prominent place in McCartney’s later concerts if he’s to look back in to his past. As I say, SOME of his 80’s output is certainly worth revisiting.
Disk Two begins with “My Brave Face”, the last track from “Flowers ..” On a par with “This One”, and certainly creditable with some of the better lyrics that the McCartney/Costello friendship roused up and from there on in it’s nostalgia and war horses – firstly two Beatles songs from both ends of the spectrum – “Back In The U.S.S.R.” does the warming up, “I Saw Her Standing There” finishes up the job.
Then it’s time for promotion of a different sort when the band pull out Eddie Cochran’s “Twenty Flight Rock”, lifted from Paul’s Oldies rock ’n’ roll album. One assumes there was at least an introduction to this track, possibly a long one, but instead we cross fade with the last burst of applause and none too cleanly either.
“Coming Up” and “Let it Be” arrive next, the former appearing in a souped up style along with ‘groovy’ effects and embellishments added to bring it to date (Oh, the irony!) while the latter needs no such reformation to make it cool at the time and god forbid it needs it either (Although nowadays if there was one that could be dropped from the set list I know what I’d choose.)
“Ain’t That A Shame” is proceeded by a hello to the crowd and Paul’s best impression of Fats Domino as the show runs on and the band find themselves interacting with the audience a little more. It’s followed by a set of the big three – songs that you’d feel a little hard done by of they weren’t preformed at a McCartney concert – “Live And Let Die” – preformed thunderously loud -, “Hey Jude” – preceded by ‘the Hustle’ as it’s fakeout – and “Yesterday”
As I mentioned earlier, Stevie Wonder was in the house tonight and his appearance prompts another take on “Ebony And Ivory” (presumably Michael Jackson was kept away at the gates by this time) which elicits a great response from all attended and to be honest it is a great rendition, maybe not as exciting as “Jet” or “Live And Let Die”, but Stevie’s no slouch with his performance and nearly each part is greeted with full approval.
The concert closes with two later era Beatles tracks – “Get Back” – the title of his next film – and then the grand finale of “Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End” – the latter culminating in a series of brilliant solos from the band.
This CD is a welcome one in a plethora of McCartney shows. There will be the collectors who must have them all, the collectors who will collect the ones they attended and then the collectors who will dip in for each tour just to find the few examples of the tours. This should cover the three – a reasonably grand stereo sound, a good show, a special guest. Along with a nice bright cover that compliments the brochure that was handed to the audience members – free of charge! – upon attending, whats not to like?