A MusiCares Tribute To Paul McCartney, Blu-ray (2015)

A MusiCares Tribute To Paul McCartney, Blu-ray (2015)

Cast: Paul McCartney; Cirque du Soleil; Alicia Keys; Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas; Duane Eddy, Norah Jones; Neil Young with Crazy Horse; Sergio Mendes; Coldplay; James Taylor; Diana Krall; Dave Grohl; and Joe Walsh
TrackList: GetBack/Hello Goodbye/Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Cirque du Soleil featuring The Beatles “Love” Cast); Magical Mystery Tour (Paul McCartney); Junior’s Farm (Paul McCartney); Blackbird (Alicia Keys); No More Lonely Nights (Alison Kraus & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas); And I Love Her (Duane Eddy); Oh! Darling (Norah Jones); I Saw Her Standing There (Neil Young with Crazy Horse); The Fool On The Hill (Sergio Mendes); We Can Work It Out (Coldplay); Yesterday (James Taylor with Diana Krall); For No One (Diana Krall with James Taylor); My Valentine (Paul McCartney); Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five (Paul McCartney); Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End (Paul McCartney featuring Dave Grohl and Joe Walsh)
Studio: Shout Factory SF15707 [3/24/15]
Director: Leon Knoles
Video: 16×9 1080p HD Color
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; PCM Stereo 2.0
Length: 60 Minutes
Rating:    Audio: ****             Video: ****             Overall *****  

The Beatles were an iconic group that changed the musical landscape. The various tributes, solo material, symphonic, jazz and new-wave arrangements of Beatles songs never stop. Co-founder Paul McCartney has pursued a solo career since 1970. Eighteen Grammies and a slew of artistic lifetime achievement awards, solo projects, even classical works have contributed to a forty-five year “post-Beatles” run. (It is amazing that with other bands like The Stones and The Who celebrating fifty years, The Beatles were together for only ten). MusicCares, an organization that provides resources for musicians in need, named McCartney MusicCares Person Of The Year in 2012. Shout Factory has released a Blu-ray of the 2012 tribute performance.

A MusicCares Tribute to Paul McCartney is a fast-paced 60-minute concert that focuses on the music. There are no verbose testimonials, just Beatle and McCartney music. After a peculiar opening (hampered by the venue) by Cirque du Soleil, McCartney and his band take the stage. He opens with vintage Beatles: “Magical Mystery Tour”. His vocal licks are still good, even at 70. The band then covers a solo tune, “Junior’s Farm”. Both of these songs display the compositional diversity of this rock icon. Next up is a stunning version of “Blackbird” by Alicia Keys. Her gospel piano chords and singing transform the number. And the concise performances keep coming. Allison Krauss & Union Station (with Jerry Douglas) display country elegance with a high degree of musicianship and Krauss’ high-register vocals on “No More Lonely Nights”. Norah Jones exudes bluesy sensuality on “Oh! Darling” adding some great piano licks.

The array of performers is impressive. The incomparable Duane Eddy adds his “reverb twang” to an instrumental version of “And I Love Her”. Neil Young with Crazy Horse unleashes a jagged guitar assault on “I Saw Her Standing There”. The ageless garage band still can rock. Sergio Mendez is jazzy cool with his rendition of “Fool On The Hill”, featuring three female lead singers, saxophone and keyboard. Coldplay interprets a joyful, swaying “We Can Work It Out”. James Taylor and Diana Krall back each other up on “Yesterday” and “For No One”. Finally McCartney returns and sings “My Valentine” (with help from Joe Walsh) and a piano-rollicking “Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five”. Then to the delight of everyone the concert ends with the “Golden Slumbers”/”Carry That Weight”/”The End’ suite from Abbey Road. There is a multiple-guitar extended finale with McCartney, Walsh and Dave Grohl. No speeches, just a brief thank you.

The Blu-ray transfer is very good. All of the images are crisp and the colors are vivid. The 5.1 sound mix is vibrant and balanced. There are some audience celebrity shots, but the cameras stay with the performers. It would be nice if other “tribute shows” took a cue from this one.

—Robbie Gerson

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