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Paul McCartney and Wings: Rockshow Blu-ray Review

mccartney-wings-rockshow-blu-ray-coverU.S. Release

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (96kHz/24-bit), LPCM 2.0 Stereo (96kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: N/A
  • Subtitles Color: N/A
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 139 Mins.
  • Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 10, 2013
  • List Price: $34.98

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Disc and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.

The Performance

[Rating:5/5]

Paul-McCartney-Wings-Rockshow-BD_01

In 1975 and 1976, former Beatle Paul McCartney undertook a world tour with his current band Wings. That tour, Wings Over the World, would be documented in the live triple album Wings Over America, and culminate in the classic live show at Seattle, Washington’s now demolished Kingdome in front of a massive crowd of 67,000 fans. The Kingdome show would be captured on film and premiere, in November 1980 in New York, and April 1981 in London as Rockshow. Rockshow would later be released on Betamax, and subsequently Laserdisc, but not until now, 2013, has it been re-released on DVD and this reviewed Blu-ray restoration.

A fantastic performance capturing McCartney in one of his most vital and electric post-Beatle periods, Rockshow begins with an energizing glam-rock trio, “Venus and Mars/Rock Show/Jet” before rolling into the bluesy “Let Me Roll It.” A pure rock and roll show devoid of all the post-MTV flashiness and quick edits, this one is all about the music and the musicians who play it. With the backing of Denny Laine (vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, bass, gab iron), Jimmy McCulloch (vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass), and wife Linda McCartney (vocals, keyboards) with Joe English on drums, McCartney had one of his strongest lineups, and was able to mix in both an incredible number of the band’s hits (“Maybe I’m Amazed”, “Silly Love Songs”, “Listen to What the Man Said”) with numerous songs from his days with The Beatles. This former point is one that, in 1976, is the most important. The Beatles had ceased live performances a decade earlier, a few years before they’d disbanded. Many of their songs had never been performed live. For Wings and their fans (and especially given the strength of the musicians in the band), live performances of such staples as “Blackbird,” “The Long and Winding Road,” and “Lady Madonna” were not just old hat, they were historical events, pulled off with perfection.

This re-release, courtesy of Eagle Rock, finally brings the full Kingdome performance to home video (the Betamax release was edited), including missing tracks like “Blackbird”, “Call Me Back Again”, “Picasso’s Last Words”, “Lady Madonna”, “The Long and Winding Road”, “My Love” and “Richard Cory”.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Paul-McCartney-Wings-Rockshow-BD_02

Deluxe restored this film for Blu-ray and DVD re-release, originally filmed on 35mm. It’s a generally soft and grainy looking image and the 1976 production with its rather steady camerawork is downright stiff by today’s post-MTV standards, but it fits for this era and McCartney and his band. The AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement looks generally clean, although noise and increasing grittiness do become factors in the dimly-lit portions of the performance.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Paul-McCartney-Wings-Rockshow-BD_03

High-res audio options in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (96kHz/24-bit) and LPCM 2.0 (96kHz/24-bit) are included. They both have a warmth and natural presence to them, with smooth highs and punchy, deep lows,with strong instrumental separation. Things seem to sound rather close-mic’d and just a little on the dry side, especially in the stereo mix. The 5.1 mix overcomes this somewhat with its ambience in the surround channels and slightly aggressive panning of instrumentation that includes electric guitar often panned hard-left into the FL/SL channels.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

Paul-McCartney-Wings-Rockshow-BD_04

The liner notes and deluxe Blu-ray Book packaging make this one a classy set, but actual on-disc supplements aren’t really all that overwhelming.

The supplements:

  • A Very Lovely Party (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:10:06) – A brief behind the scenes look at Sir Paul and Wings.
  • Illustrated Blu-ray Book packaging with new liner notes by Paul Gambaccini.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Paul-McCartney-Wings-Rockshow-BD_05

A classic concert film finally makes its return to home video, and it’s been well worth the wait, for this fully restored, full-length version of Macca and Wings on Blu-ray, even if the disc keeps falling out of the Blu-ray Book sleeve it’s packaged in.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B00CG0YLGG[/amazon-product]

Purchase Rockshow on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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[amazon-product]B00CG0YLGG[/amazon-product]

Purchase Rockshow on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

 

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