A YEAR IN MUSIC: 1990
Review by: Roland Bruynesteyn
The 1989-1990 world tour was Paul McCartney’s first one since Wings. The 80’s had started great, with some solo hits hits with Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, but Press to play did not help move things forward. Flowers in the dirt was a big improvement, and not surprisingly, Paul had still enough appeal to get people to see him live.
No doubt they came for the Beatles songs mostly, but even if you take into account that Paul wanted you to like his newer songs and he mixed them with his older repertoire on purpose, most of the new songs do in fact stand up to his older work: there’s no big difference in quality between, say Jet and My brave face in my opinion. At the same time, he goes back even further in time, by including some older rockers (Ain’t that a shame, Kansans City).
Anyway, the biggest appeal of the album is the live performance of many Beatles songs that had never been heard in a live context by concert goers, and mostly had never been played live before. Although some synthesizer sounds (The Long and Winding Road…) and the generally slick production make it sound somewhat dated, on the whole this is a very strong performance. Some little things do annoy me a little: the silly jokes (“Here’s a song you probably never heard, that Bobby wrote this morning, actually”, before starting Got to Get You into My Life, interludes like If I Were Not upon This Stage). And Ebony and Ivory is just not a good song, no matter how deep the message is…
But as a live performance this set the template for future Paul McCartney tours and cd sets and proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt that Paul McCartney is not just a great composer; he’s a great entertainer as well.