14 October, 2009

BACK IN THE U.S. - Paul McCartney (2002)

Back in January, I promised DVD and music reviews and never really got around to posting any. It's about time I remedied that. I'll try to remember to post some every mid-week. Sorry, no alliterative title, it will just be around the middle of the week when my thoughts about things to write are less organised due to work. Most will be Beatles related for the time being.

To begin, since a new Paul McCartney live DVD is imminent, let's talk about some of his previous ones. I have posted quite a few of these reviews elsewhere as well.

BACK IN THE U.S. - Paul McCartney

There ought to be two cardinal rules of concert films:
1) Never show backstage footage before the show. It destroys the magic.
2) Never interrupt a song with an interview. Does anybody think that Coming Up sounds better with people talking over it? No.

Back In The U.S. breaks both these rules. The main letdown of this “rock and road” movie is that it can't make up its mind which it wants to be. Just when you're getting into either the concert or the behind the scenes bits, it switches to the other again.

Producers would do well to remember that a concert film is not a souvenir for those who were there, it is a consolation for those who weren't. So enough with all the shots of the audience. We know they're having the time of their lives – that's because they're looking at the stage and not each other. And do we really need Sylvester Stallone or John Cusak to tell us how good Paul is? Or so much embarrassing footage of fans' drawings and singing? We don't have to be reminded of how famous the man is.

Back In The U.S. would have worked far better if it had the concert and the tour doco as separate programs. The special features are a hotch-potch of live tracks, rehearsals and interviews that didn't make it to the main feature, plus a DVD-Rom link to exclusive web content.

Highlight: The acoustic set
Feature: * * *
Extras: * * ½
Audio: Dolby 5.1, Dolby Stereo, DTS

Previously posted at Strawberry Fields and at Fishpond.


  1. He probably shows the audience so much because he knows how much they love it. When somebody spots themselves on a DVD they phone everybody they know and start calling themselves the fifth Beatle. Some people can't follow the man all over America [I almost typed all over the world but he really only tours America] so if they find themselves on a DVD from the one show they were lucky enough to see it's going to be the highlight of their year. Unfortunately it's nothing for the rest of us who want to watch the show.

  2. I'm not going to knock anything that gives people pleasure (within reason) but I don't need my nose rubbed in it.

    If he ever tours this hemisphere again, I intend to hold up a bedsheet that says "Please show this sign on the DVD"

  3. Or "You could be watching the show right now but instead you're reading this".