Paul McCartney is a great example of what Darwin meant by survival of the fittest. No one in the music business has learned to adapt and thrive like Paul McCartney. The term timeless has been applied so often to so many performers that it might have lost any meaning. Still, if anyone deserves that description, it is Paul McCartney. With The Beatles he helped define the 60’s and reinvent Rock and Roll. In the 1970’s and 80’s he continued the hits with Paul McCartney and Wings. When Wings finally disappeared into the midnight sky, McCartney was still at it as a solo artist. Certainly, McCartney albums are fewer and far longer between. Still, each new release is an exercise in quality. Even when I don’t care for a particular McCartney song, it’s easy to hear the work that went into each note.
The Space Within US is a wonderful showcase for this ageless Beatle. At 65 years of age, he doesn’t seem to show any of it. He might not be quite as energetic as he was, but all of the passion and energy is still in the music itself. McCartney gets to wake up the astronauts aboard the International Space Station with a cut from his latest CD. (Talk about being up in the nosebleed section.) Even though I live in Tampa which was the second stop of the tour, I missed the show. Turns out Paul missed a hole in the stage and fell straight through. Fortunately he was unharmed, and the show, as they say, went on. I did catch McCartney here during the Trip The Lights Fantastic Tour, and it was one of the best I’ve seen. Only Elton John has put on a better one that I’ve seen. This concert film catches the show with a huge number of cameras and wonderful sound. I do wish the documentary material wouldn’t interrupt the concert. At least give us the ability to watch the performance uninterrupted. Some of the inserts are nice trips down memory lane or touching interviews with Paul himself. Some of it horribly detracts from the music. Do I really care what Bill Clinton has to say about McCartney?
This concert is truly for the devoted fans. You won’t hear too many hits in this show. Instead Paul chose to play songs he has rarely, some never, performed as a solo before. Tons of obscure Beatles songs make this a unique concert event. It’s a brave move. If you’re only there for the hits, you won’t hear Live and Let Die, Band On The Run, This One, or even My Love. You will be treated to magical moments with cuts like I Will, Fine Line, Drive My Car, and Too Many People. 2 major flaws: 1. Too many crowd shots. 2. Songs that are interrupted by the interview stuff. Never interrupt Hey Jude!
The show was filmed using Hi-Def digital cameras and is a nice 1.78:1 widescreen presentation. Colors are sharp and contrast is very fine. The show lights break across the screen in a splendor that makes you feel like you were in the room. Black levels are perfect. There are many archival pieces of footage used as well. Naturally there is a great amount of variety in quality. Some of it is black and white, and much of it is in very poor condition. From an historical perspective, you simply must forgive these flaws as necessary if they are to be included.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is outstanding. Separation is flawless. The dynamic sounds of the music are faithfully reproduced, and once again you feel like you’re in the hall. You also have a stereo option, but once you’ve heard the 5.1 mix you won’t go anywhere else. You can’t beat this for live sound on the best of CD’s.
“Pre-Concert Film” A 10 minute documentary was produced for the tour. It was shown right before the concert on the large stage screens. It’s a wonderful little journey that follows Paul’s career from The Beatles through today. The vintage footage is full of rare looks into those good old days.
“Sound Checks” There are 3 songs performed as sound checks by the band. The crew has a wonderful time moving to the beat and McCartney plays to them.
“More About US” McCartney and crew discuss the name of the tour and his evolving musical philosophy. It’s a little too touchy feely for me.
“On The Road With US” Take a bus ride with the band on the road across America. McCartney’s large fleet of 18 wheelers roll across the highway from gig to gig. This is a nice, but short, journey with the convoy
I’m not really a big Beatles fan. That will shock, anger, and dismay many of you. Sure, I’ve got a couple of favorites, but nothing I feel the need to hear over and over again. Now, with that said, I am a fan of Paul McCartney. Of all the Beatles he has evolved the most. He has gone from a kid who was nothing really special, just in the right place at the right time, to a very accomplished musician. Few musicians today can match his performance skills on almost any instrument. While a lot of celebrities talk about compassionate subjects, I get the impression McCartney is more sincere than most. Perhaps it’s this sincerity that makes him such a good song writer. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of The Beatles, Wings, or just Paul himself. This DVD will give you the chance to “Get back to where you once belonged”.