PAUL MCCARTNEY: THE SPACE WITHIN US
Concert review by Mark Wiechman
Technical specs by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Paul McCartney, Paul “Wix” Wickens, Rusty Anderson, Abe
Laboriel, Jr., Brian Ray
Director: Mark Haefeli
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Special Features: See Review
Length: 115 Minutes
Release Date: November 11, 2008
“When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me.
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”
Any of you who read this site regularly have probably seen my reviews of the many Paul McCartney concert DVDs that have been released in the last few years. I have been consistently disappointed with the poor video quality of all of them, and none of them has been anywhere near the overall quality that we have come to expect from DVD. The Eagles, Chicago, the Who and any other groups have released concert DVDs that are fantastic in their visual and audio quality. There is no excuse or plausible explanation for how poor his releases have been.
But any fan of Sir Paul knows that while his musical genius is unquestioned, he has strange ideas when it comes to film, and since he supervises his own releases, he has no one to blame but himself for the poor quality of his releases.
When this release came along, I hoped that maybe he finally got it right. The audio and video is excellent. Unfortunately, this release still falls flat and is almost worse than others for two reasons. His voice is a shadow of its former self, and worse yet, almost every song is corrupted by constant interruptions of celebrities, friends, and fans saying how much they love Paul. What kind of ego does this man have?
When I cued the disc up, I skipped right to Let it Be. I was dismayed to discover that all but the last chorus or so was ruined in this way. Why would anyone pay money to hear Ellen DeGeneres tell us how much she loves Sir Paul? And who cares if the video quality is better if most of it is just interviews? Why didn’t they have a “concert only” choice in the menu?
Songlist: Magical Mystery Tour, Flaming Pie, Maybe I’m Amazed, Eleanor Rigby, Let Me Roll It, Drive My Car, Till There Was You, I’ll Get You, Eleanor Rigby, Maybe I’m Amazed, Got to Get You Into My Life, Fine Line, I Will, Good Day Sunshine, For No One, Hey Jude, Fixing a Hole, Penny Lane, Too Many People, Let it Be, English Tea, I’ve Got a Feeling, Follow Me, Jenny Wren, Helter Skelter, Yesterday, Get Back, Please Please Me
I haven't seen all of the Paul McCartney shows on DVD before,
but I was most pleased with this premiere Blu-ray offering from A&E. The
high definition experience makes the concert seem more real. There is a
bit of splotchiness here and there from the lighting effects, but overall, the
detail levels are superb, and the crispness and contrast a striking delight.
The 5.1 mix also serves to make the show seem more live. The music sounds great, and thanks to the subwoofer and digital remastering, the dynamic range is strong, while the rear channels keep the audience in mind and remind you how live it all is. Beautifully done!
Many good musical features, while the interviews are mostly filler. We see the band performing “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Friends to Go,” and “How Kind of You.” There are interviews with Paul and the band, the pre-show film, an "On the Road" featurette, and the ability to create your own jukebox list.
Just another disappointment from Sir Paul. This may be the worst of them all since the audio and visual was almost up to par, but then it is interrupted by people telling us how much they love the performer, a narcissistic, arrogant one at that. Maybe someday he will allow someone else to supervise his movies, since he clearly is not able to produce a right product.