Wednesday, May 27, 2009
An Amazing Musical Journey
Maybe I'm amazed that ROCKSHOW isn't on DVD yet. Or maybe Paul has something up his sleeve, I don't know. I believe McCartney controls the rights to this 1980 concert film of Wings' 1976 Wings Over America North American tour, since footage from it showed up on the THE MCCARTNEY YEARS DVD set. And in widescreen! I've watched my VHS so many times, it was about to wear out, before I burned it to DVD-R.
If you’ve heard the wonderful triple album WINGS OVER AMERICA, you know what to expect from ROCKSHOW. Some of Wings’ fluffier recorded material, such as “Silly Love Songs,” sounds much cooler with the harder edge given them in this live chronicle. Obviously, Paul is the centerpiece of the film, and he appears to be having a great time. He loved playing live (he was the only Beatle to vote against giving up their touring career), and this lineup with former Moody Blue Laine (who does “Go Now”), young lead guitarist McCulloch (who sadly died of a drug overdose at age 26), and drummer English is Wings’ best.
ROCKSHOW carries no credits, but it’s likely McCartney directed it. It’s not a very good looking film, and all video prints I’ve seen are quite murky. I’d like to see it on a big screen. Both Paul and Linda wear unfortunate mullets. Laine was the band’s secret weapon; his “Time to Hide” is a highlight. Thelma Schoonmaker edited ROCKSHOW around the time she did RAGING BULL. Highlights include “Band on the Run,” “Hi Hi Hi,” “Venus and Mars/Rockshow/Jet” (the opener), and “Soily,” which I believe was never recorded by Wings. Surprisingly, very little Beatles material is covered, though Wings had a broad enough catalog by this time that it didn’t need to.
Here's the great bumshaker "Listen to What the Man Said," which gives you a great indication of how much fun ROCKSHOW is.