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“Paul McCartney-“Good Evening New York City” (2 CD/2 DVD Deluxe Edition)
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: Hear Music/Concord Music Group
Genre:
Documentary/concert
Release Date:
11/17/09
Special Features:

Concert documentary DVD disc

Review:

The 60’s are making a big come back over 40 years later. We’ve seen rebooted efforts for “Star Trek”, “The Green Hornet” is forthcoming, Bob Dylan released a Christmas album (!), John Fogerty has released a new Blue Ridge Rangers album and The Beatles remasters finally arrived. Piggybacking on the last release Paul McCartney (who has been a solo artist longer than he was a member of The Beatles or his band Wings)returns with a really good live album that’s in keeping with the strong late career comeback that Macca has demonstrated with his last six studio albums (“Flaming Pie”, “Run Devil Run”, “Driving Rain”, “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard”, “Memory Almost Full” and the Fireman album that Macca made with Youth). “Good Evening New York City" features Macca opening the new Citi Stadium which replaced Shea Stadium and it’s only fitting that he open it with the first rock concert there as he and The Beatles did the same thing for Shea over 40 years ago. Many Macca fans are probably going “Ugh! ANOTHER McCartney concert CD AND live DVD?” I’d suggest reading on because this MAY be worthwhile particularly since the DVD portion has footage from Macca’s live appearance at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York. ***

While I’d rather have an “Anthology” type series of Macca’s unreleased material and outtakes (or the supposed two albums worth of material that he’s prepared but hasn’t released yet), “Good Evening New York City" stands among the best concert albums that Macca has made outside of “Wings Over America” and “Unplugged”; he tackles a number of Beatles, Wings and solo classics augmented by some of the best of his new material. While some of these are not the definitive version of Beatles or Wings stuff, they crackle with an energy that makes this among Macca’s stand out live albums. When artist release live albums they usually act as a summation of their career to that point or, if nothing else, a closing of the door on a certain creative period. It’s possible that’s the case here as well but Macca has released live albums after each tour and/or DVD’s. The latter have been horrible not because of the performance but because it spends too much time on the audience and their reactions/comments. No fan really wants that. Instead, they want the full performance of a show or one like it that they have seen and we have yet to get that (particularly since “Rockshow” Macca’s performance with Wings from the 1970’s has yet to show up on DVD or Blu-ray). ***

There have been some rumors that Macca used Autotune on this album because his voice sounds really, really good; I’ve confirmed that he didn’t use Autotune but that the shows benefited from being early in the tour schedule. There may have been some studio overdubs to correct various mistakes (heck, the Eagles “Live” album for an example of the worst of these had so much overdubs that it was, essentially, a studio album for all intents and purposes) but, on the whole, it appears that Macca has kept “Good Evening New York” largely intact trying to stay true to the “live” nature of the album. ***

Songs: CD Disc: 1

1. Drive My Car 2. Jet 3. Only Mama Knows 4. Flaming Pie 5. Got To Get You Into My Life 6. Let Me Roll It 7. Highway 8. The Long And Winding Road 9. My Love 10. Blackbird 11. Here Today 12. Dance Tonight 13. Calico Skies 14. Mrs Vandebilt 15. Eleanor Rigby 16. Sing The Changes 17. Band On The Run

CD Disc: 2

1. Back In The USSR 2. I'm Down 3. Something 4. I've Got A Feeling 5. Paperback Writer 6. A Day In The Life / Give Peace A Chance 7. Let It Be 8. Live And Let Die 9. Hey Jude 10. Day Tripper 11. Lady Madonna 12. I Saw Her Standing There 13. Yesterday 14. Helter Skelter 15. Get Back 16. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band / The End

DVD:

1. Intro 2. Drive My Car 3. Jet 4. Only Mama Knows 5. Flaming Pie 6. Got To Get You Into My Life 7. Let Me Roll It 8. Highway 9. The Long And Winding Road 10. My Love 11. Blackbird 12. Here Today 13. Dance Tonight 14. Calico Skies 15. Mrs Vandebilt 16. Eleanor Rigby 17. Sing The Changes 18. Band On The Run 19. Back In The USSR 20. I'm Down 21. Something 22. I've Got A Feeling 23. Paperback Writer 24. A Day In The Life / Give Peace A Chance 25. Let It Be 26. Live And Let Die 27. Hey Jude 28. Day Tripper 29. Lady Madonna 30. I Saw Her Standing There 31. Yesterday 32. Helter Skelter 33. Get Back 34. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band / The End

DVD 2:

Performance from Rooftop of Ed Sullivan Theater for "David Letterman Show" Get Back 35. Sing The Changes 36. Coming Up 37. Band On The Run 38. Let Me Roll With It 39. Helter Skelter 40. Back In The USSR 41. Audience Documentary Film: Good Evening People 42. Full Performance: I'm Down

Image & Sound:

Let’s go with the sound first since that’s the most important part given that his IS a concert; for a modern master “Good Evening New York City” sounds better than most CDs out there. There’s a nice bit of headroom that allows for some dynamic range. As far as I can tell minimal compression was used and if there was any peak limiting it was fairly transparent. In other words you can crank it up! ***

The DVD looks quite good with a sharp transfer. Blacks are inky and fairly consistent throughout. *** The sound of the DVD is extremely nice with a full sounding 5.1 mix. I’m hoping we’ll see this on Blu-ray at some point with the option of lossless sound but what we do get although compressed sounds quite good. ---

Special Features:

What makes this truly a keeper are the two DVDs. The first features the live concert in New York City and the second incluldes the performance from atop the roof of the Ed Sullivan Theater where “Late Night with David Letterman” is taped. I do wish that it also included Macca’s amusing interview with Letterman as they developed a nice back and forth banter (plus Bruce Willis appeared according to Letterman’s joke so that he could meet McCartney and it would have been nice to include that along with the introduction, too). What we do get thought is quite good with a sharp, rocking performance from McCartney and his top notch band. I personally feel that this is the best most raw sounding band (in a good way)that Macca’s had. I’ve caught two shows with the current line-up and while I did appreciate the Robbie McIntosh/Hamish Stuart incarnation as well, they were a bit too slick in their reproductions of Beatles and Wings classics.

Final Words:

One of the finest documents of Paul McCartney’s late career live performances, “Good Evening New York City” finds Macca tackling a number of songs he has never done before including “Sing the Changes” from his Fireman album. Yes, Macca’s released many live albums but this is probably the best of the bunch outside of “Wings Over America” and “Unplugged”.

My rankings for his live albums: 1. “Unplugged” (Selection of songs/raw energy/format/intimate setting) 2. “Good Evening New York City” (Selection of songs/raw energy/performance/DVD included/Letterman Show performance) 3. “Wings Over America” (Energy/performance) 4. “Amoeba Live EP” (Intimate setting) 5. “Back in the U.S.”/”Back in Europe” (Selection of material/raw energy/performance) 6. “Tripping the Live Fantastic” (Selection of material/performance) 7. “Paul is Live” ***

Highly recommended

 

 
 
 
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