PAUL McCARTNEY IN RED SQUARE
Review by Mark Wiechman
Director: Mark Haefeli
Audio: DTS, Dolby 2.0 and 5.1
Features: See Review
Studio: A&E Home Video
Length: 180 minutes
Release date: June 14, 2005
the Ukraine girls really knock me out
leave the west behind
Moscow girls really sing and shout
Georgia's always on my mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mind…”
are indeed many pretty girls in the former USSR and 100,000 of them and their
friends came to this historic concert on May 24, 2003. There are actually two
concerts here, the main one in Red Square and a shorter one in St. Petersburg.
has been said that if you expect nothing, you will always be surprised, and if
you expect nothing good, you will never be disappointed.
Fans of Sir Paul like me will enjoy this DVD, but will be left
reviewers have warned viewers that this is a McCartney DVD so don’t expect too
much. They are right.
Consistency is not necessarily a virtue.
So fans and non-fans alike, I warned you…
are many Paul McCartney DVDs out there of varying quality.
Some don’t have his best songs, some are only average performances, but
the main complaint is poor video quality, which is inexcusable in this day and
age for a wealthy legend that could afford the best.
This is probably the best one I have seen overall, but there are
problems. Will someone please
explain why every band in the world that’s any good (and some that are not)
have produced wonderfully loud and colorful DVDs with great mixes and extra
features, but Sir Paul just can’t buy a good DVD production?
example, Paul simply can’t sing the way he used to. I have always loved "Maybe
I’m Amazed" because the piano part is incredibly chromatic and
hard to play, and the melody is so lyrical and the words so vulnerable.
Yet he starts it: "Baby I’m amazed…" Okay, maybe just a flub, but
really now... It is obvious that he
can’t reach the high part in the middle and he also lowers parts of other
tunes. Most stars do this merely
because their voices get tired and that’s okay.
He plays "Fool on the
Hill" much too fast, but then he nails "Yesterday".
The concert opens with an incredibly short version of "Getting
Better". Why the short
is a ridiculous blurb on the wrapper that also pops up at the beginning of the
concert that says that the Beatles did more to bring down communism than any
other western institution. This is
stated by a sociologist from Russia who has listened to the Beatles all his
life. I don’t doubt for one
minute that the Beatles were the best ambassadors that the English-speaking
world could have for the young people of Eastern Europe, and that rock music was
a power that nothing on earth could stop. Thank
God for the Beatles, but they did not bring down the Berlin wall or prevent the
communists from running amok in Europe. They
did inspire the young people, but then they did that everywhere.
an ego, for Sir Paul to put that in his own concert. Worse, nowhere in the DVD booklet or on the disc itself are
the band members listed at all. This
is typical of McCartney, such as his Wingspan DVD in which his daughter
interviews him and he even interviews himself in The Real Buddy Holly Story
which he narrates! Can’t he
understand that video is not his strong suit?
Didn’t he learn anything from Magical
Mystery Tour, which was not magical, had no mystery (except why they made
it), and was not much of a tour?
the other hand, we have someone like Sting, who is also very talented, but
always seems to have good people around him, and his Bring on the Night (see review) was a wonderful video release which
has aged gracefully.
Better than his other DVDs, and this was definitely a
challenge since night was falling during the show, but occasionally there are
still splotchy scenes in darkness. Interestingly
though there is more sun for some tunes than others, so obviously they
re-arranged the song order after shooting the concert.
Uh, an editor, please? It’s
is here, loud and proud, but the mix is mediocre. The band sounds very tight, and you can hear everything, but
the rear channels are rarely used for more than crowd noise and the airplane
sounds in “Back in the USSR”. Where is the great audio that is possible with
5.1 and DTS?
meat here at all, just more self-glorification. Behind the Curtain: Memories of Red Square, which compares
the changes in the USSR with the changes in music.
Russia and the Beatles, a Brief Journey. If you really have nothing better to do there is a Resources
page which has websites about changes in Eastern Europe in general.