DVD review: PAUL McCARTNEY – A MusicCares Tribute

PAUL McCARTNEY - A MusicCares Tribute

Eagle Rock [Release date 11.05.15]

There are few major artists who wouldn’t cite The Beatles as a major influence so it’s little wonder there was a long queue of the ‘great and good’ willing to celebrate the musical achievements and philanthropic works of Sir Paul McCartney when he was honoured as  the 2012 MusiCare Person Of The Year.

This hour long DVD (Bluray) captures the gala event in Los Angeles in February 2012 which features performances by McCartney and a host of celebrity guest performing songs from across his career including Alison Krauss, Norah Jones, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Coldplay, James Taylor, Diana Krall, Dave Grohl, Joe Walsh and a Cirque du Soleil acrobatic display.

Held in the week leading up to the Grammy Awards previous winners include David Crosby, Bonnie Raitt, Phil Collins, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Bono, Sting, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, Don Henley and Neil Young (amongst others).  It makes you wonder what took them so long to get around to ‘Macca’, although he still received the award ahead of Springsteen, Dylan and Carole King.

With its 60 minute running time, one assumes the timing was dictated by TV scheduling and while you get the obligatory DTS and 5.1 sound it’s a little disappointing there are no ‘extras’ – hard to believe they couldn’t have got some talking head contributions from the those in attendance.

But as regards the ‘main event’ Cirque du Soleil open proceedings in a spectacular visual fashion and McCartney then puts down a benchmark for other performers to aspire to in rattling off ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ and ‘Junior’s Farm’ with his band.

Few manage it – Alicia Keys wrestles some unexpected soul out of ‘Blackbird’, and Duane Eddy demonstrates the influence he had on the Beatles sound with a tremendous performance of ‘And I Love Her’.

Others miss the mark – Coldplay (who invited them?) are anonymous, Diana Krall wooden, Norah Jones is Norah Jones, and James Taylor struggles badly with ‘Yesterday’ (there’s some numbers it’s just best not to attempt).

But Neil Young & Crazy Horse steal the show with an irreverent garage rock jam to ‘I Saw Her Standing There’.  No frills, just guys with guitars having a blast.  The audience appreciated it, Macca appreciated it, and it was the way it was meant to be.

Joe Walsh comes close with some terrific acoustic guitar accompanying Macca on ‘My Valentine’ (one of his more poignant numbers of recent years) and on the 5 guitar closing wig out of ‘Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight /The End’ with McCartney, his band, and Dave Grohl.

Hardly essential viewing, although spotting the celebs in the audience is good fun.  But an enjoyable enough 60 minutes and a reminder – if ever one was needed – of just how good McCartney was, and still is.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

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