Flowers In The Dome (no label)
Paul McCartney spent the eighties working on albums, reinventing the rock video and producing some very strange works such as Give My Regards To Broadstreet and Press To Play. He played no live shows for ten years. Ironic since it was he, of all the Beatles, who most enjoyed live performance. His only appearance on a concert stage was the finale of Live Aid in 1985, leading everyone with “Let It Be.”
Flowers In The Dirt is the beginning of the current state of his career, characterized by more extensive live performance and McCartney assuming a role of pop music royalty. The 1989-1990 tour was the longest of his career to date, and ranks among the greatest rock tour of all time in terms of publicity, media reaction and gross.
One of the highlights was his return to Japan. The six shows at the Tokyo Dome in March are his first shows in that country in twenty-six years, since The Beatles played there in 1966. His two attempts to tour Japan with Wings, in 1975 and 1980, both were cancelled and the latter being the source of much publicity due to his arrest and eleven night stay in a Tokyo prison.
His visit was a media blitz and all six shows were sellouts, continuing the frenzy in Tokyo with The Rolling Stones having just finished their first shows ever at the Tokyo Dome the previous week. The impact of having McCartney play there was just as important and was treated by the Japanese media as such.
Flowers In The Dome contains audience recordings for the last two Tokyo shows. Both are new tapes that have never circulated before and are making their silver pressed debut. Both are very good recordings which are from the same taper who captured the George Harrison shows the following year.
Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan – March 11th, 1990
Disc 1 (72:07): opening film, 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
Disc 2 (79:46): Can’t Buy Me Love, Put It There, 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 And Let Die, Hey Jude, Yesterday, P.S. Love Me Do, Get Back, Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End
March 11th is a very good to borderline excellent audience recording. A slight distance from the stage is the only negative. But it captures the atmosphere of the performance beautifully and is a great tape to have in the collection. It is complete except for some very small cuts between some of the numbers on disc two. McCartney isn’t too talkative in this show so not much, if anything, is lost.
The entire fourteen minute opening film starts off the show. Without the visuals much is lost, but the soundtrack contains a chronological summary of his career up to that point. There is slight reference to the Wings period and “Say Say Say” is present in its entirety.
The show starts off with a fascinating segue of “Figure Of Eight” and “Jet.” It’s interesting because, in the latter half of McCartney’s live career, he normally starts off with a more familiar Beatles or Wings song (such as “Drive My Car” and “Jet” being two popular choices). That he start off with a new song from Flowers In The Dirt, and that there are so many songs from that album in the set, shows him actually promoting the new material and making an attempt to incorporate them into his live canon.
“Got To Get You Into My Life” is very good live since it was part of Wings’ stage act in 1979, the last time Paul toured. The new song “We Got Married” is segued with “Let ‘Em In” in a very effective arrangement. The latter song suffers a bit from the lack of a horn section but the band do come very close to capturing the joy of the song.
“Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is one of the more exciting songs played. The two parts of the song are linked by a long, heavy metal guitar-oriented jam. The show ends with a long “Hey Jude.” The first encore is the expected “Yesterday” followed by the strange “P.S. Love Me Do.” This amalgum of the A and B sides of The Beatles’ first single “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” had its debut the previous show. The arrangement is catchy but is dated heavily in the eighties.
Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan – March 13th, 1990
Disc 1 (79:25): 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, Things We Said Today, Eleanor Rigby, This One, My Brave Face
Disc 2 (62:15): Back In The U.S.S.R., I Saw Her Standing There, Coming Up, Let It Be, Ain’t That A Shame, Live And Let Die, Hey Jude, Yesterday, P.S. Love Me Do, Get Back, Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End
McCartney took a break after the March 11th show. On March 12 he and Linda celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary. March 13th is the final night of the short Japanese tour. This comes from a very good audience recording. It is slightly more distant than the March 11th tape but has a bit more “atmosphere.” It certainly is better than the older tape source that is very noisy and distorted.
It lacks the fourteen minute opening film (although, curious enough, it appears on disc three of Back To The Big Egg on Non Plus Ultra), picking up right at the synthesizer introduction to “Figure Of Eight.” The set list and arrangements are the same as the others, but there is more poignancy to the. It has been a very long time since Paul played in Japan and there is an air of success and satisfaction in the two hour and twenty-two minute performance that makes it special.
The four disc with the final hour is specially notable for the emotion enamanting from the stage. He introduces drummer Chris Whitten for the eighties hip-hop / urban / rap arrangement of “Coming Up.” It is one of his biggest hits and has the distinction of being, except for the Flowers In The Dirt songs, the most recent in the set (since Paul skips over Tug Of War, Pipes Of Peace, etc).
Before “Let It Be” Paul points out the “Friends Of The Earth” whom he helped support on the tour to promomte a cleaner enviroment. During the encore he introduces security, the road crew and tell the audience “Today is a special night, because the last show in Japan today.”
Overall Flowers In The Dome is a very solid release from a relatively poorly documented tour. This forms a good compagnion piece for 2nd Night At Dome (no label) with the March 5th show and Back To The Big Egg (Non Plus Ultra NPU-09/10/11) with March 7th. The artwork is tastefully done with several photographs from the Japan tour. The first fifty copies come with a special limited edition sticker.