02 April, 2016

A MusiCares Tribute to Paul McCartney (2015)

MusiCares is a charity run by the Recording Academy. Each year, in the same week as the Grammy awards, they recognise a Person of the Year with an all-star tribute show. In 2012, that person was Paul McCartney.

As such, the show is very Hollywood – and you can take that any way you like.

It opens with a performance from Cirque du Soleil’s Love, which is less impressive than it really should be away from the custom built room. After that, Paul and band perform Magical Mystery Tour and a shortened version of Junior’s Farm before the guest stars.

For the most part, the covers are more hit than miss. Alicia Keys’ piano version of Blackbird stays just the right side of tasteful. Alison Krauss does a very nice version of No More Lonely Nights with a bluegrass instrumentation. Duane Eddy and Norah Jones are backed by Paul’s band for And I Love her and Oh! Darling respectively. Neil Young and Crazy Horse doing I Saw Her Standing There sounds good on paper but not as good on stage.

Sergio Mendes delivers a very smooth version of The Fool on the Hill. Coldplay’s version of We Can Work It Out is as pleasant and inoffensive as you’d expect. James Taylor bravely tackles Yesterday, the Hamlet’s soliloquy of pop music, backed by Diana Krall. He then backs Krall on For No-one.

The remainder of the show is McCartney’s. This show features the premiere performance of My Valentine before he rejoins the band for Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five, followed by Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight and The End. For the latter, Joe Walsh and Dave Grohl join in and the 3-way guitar solo becomes a 5-way. It clearly wasn’t rehearsed too much as there is some entertaining confusion as to whose turn it is.

Although most of the performances are interesting, with arrangements that are neither too close nor too far from the originals, the overall show is just a little too made-for-tv.

Highlight: Oh! Darling, For No-one, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five.
Feature: * * *
Extras: None
Audio: Dolby stereo, Dolby 5.1, DTS 5.1

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