Paul McCartney & Wings – Wings Over Downunder (Master Of Beatles Essentials MBE-004V1/2)

Wings Over Downunder (Master Of Beatles Essentials MBE-004V1/2)

Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, Australia – November 13th, 1975

DVD 1:  Live at Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, Australia – November 13th, 1975:  Venus & Mars/Rock Show, Jet, Let Me Roll It, Spirits Of Ancient Egypt, Little Woman Love/C Moon, Maybe I’m Amazed, 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, Call Me Back Again, My Love, Listen To What The Man Said, band introduction, Letting Go, Medicine Jar, Junior’s Farm, Band On The Run, Hi Hi Hi, Soily

DVD 2:  Tour Documentary:  radio announce, tour rehearsals, Yesterday/Blackbird, Yesterday (once more), sound check pt. 1, printing, TV news, stage sound check, Hi Hi Hi, press conference, outside, photo session, on stage pt. one, Paul with horse, Paul McCartney it’s ok, on stage pt. two, koala bear, sound check pt. 2, horn rehearsals, Bluebird, Listen To What The Man Said, Letting Go, Venus And Mars/Rock Show

Wings Over Downunder was released in March 2005 by the MBE folks, responsible for many great Beatles product.  This two DVD set is perhaps the most comprehensive video document of Wings’ only trip to down under during their ten year run.  The first disc is the complete television tape of their concert in Melbourne.  It opens with the MBE logo, then makes way for the Wings logo and presents the viewer with a choice to play it all or track select.  The latter option has very nice clips of the tracks in which to choose.  The menus are very clear and easy to use.

The video is good but definitely shows its age.  The colors look nice when the stage is brightly lit, but fuzzy in dark sections.  There are some serious tracking issues throughout the show with the occasional jumpy screen.  There are even complete dropouts, like in the first verse of “Live & Let Die”.  MBE definitely didn’t use the master tape, although in fairness to the label they don’t make that claim.  For a thirty year old videotape and something I’ve never seen before the problems are something I can live with.

It looks like at least four cameras were used and during the show you can see the film crew creeping on stage to get close-ups.  Also, thankfully, the cameras were not all trained on Paul.  He does get most of the footage, but there are many close-ups of Denny Laine and drummer Joe English.  The drummer is very animated and entertaining behind the kit, smiling and grooving to the music. 

I could have watched the entire show from behind the drums and not be bored!  Jimmy McCulloch is occasionally highlighted, mostly during solos, and finally Linda has the least camera time.  She’s only really visible when she comes to the front, like during the acoustic set and dancing around with the tambourine in “Hi Hi Hi”.

The cameras captured an excellent performance.  The band had been touring for several months up to this point and are very tight touring off the back of the Venus & Mars LP.  “Little Woman Love/C Moon” and “Junior’s Farm” are included and this might be the only concert video of these songs performed live. 

They are included in the “James Paul McCartney” and “One Hand Clapping” television specials, but were dropped from the set before the US tour and not included in the concert film Rockshow.  Songs in this concert emphasize the latest two LPs with several Beatles tunes thrown in.  “Band On The Run”, which closes the show, receives the biggest ovation with a sea of bic lighters and sparklers.  The camera is more interested in them than the band at that point.  It’s a spectacular sight to see.

Disc number two is a documentary of the entire tour to Australia.  It looks like raw footage for a proposed television show but was never edited together.  Some of this footage appeared in 1980 in the “Wings Over The World” program.  As presented here there are many clips of Perth radio, a snippet of a press conference, some rehearsal footage and pictures of Paul and Linda holding koalas.  There is no live footage and does get rather tedious after the first viewing.

This DVD set was released simultaneously with the Wings Over Downunder two cd set documenting the Melbourne show.  My guess is it is the excellent soundboard soundtrack.  But the video set is definitely recommended.

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