Paul is Live (Capitol 27704)
Anyone looking for proof that Paul McCartney did not die in the 60s need look no further than Paul is Live, because no possible imposter would have the audacity to release such a piece of trash in Paul's name. No, we have no one but Uncle Paul himself to blame for this one, certainly one of the most cringe-inducing live albums in recent memory. I think it was around the time of the release of this CD that I finally, after years of devoted McCartney fandom, threw up my hands and said "Is he fucking crazy?" Of course, I bought it anyway, forcing myself not to look at the smirking Abbey Road parody cover art, featuring Paul (in shoes) walking his sheepdog across the famous crosswalk.
Yuck, even describing it now makes me wince. Factor in a track listing of warmed-over leftovers not included on Tripping the Live Fantastic, and you've got a recipe for one tremendously disposable album. Drawn from the tour in support of Off the Ground, Paul is Live subjects us to live versions of "Looking For Changes," "Biker Like an Icon," "Peace in the Neighborhood," and a couple of improvised soundcheck tracks ("Hotel in Benidorm" and "A Fine Day") about all of these, the less said, the better. We shall acknowledge them now and never speak of them again, okay?
The Beatles songs are all decent, and well-played ("We Can Work it Out," "Magical Mystery Tour," "Paperback Writer," "Lady Madonna,"), and a couple of Pauls' solo tunes are good ("Live and Let Die" and "Let Me Roll It," the latter being probably the only truly interesting track on the CD). But there's way too much "Paul having a great time putting on a real rock show" in this one. At least Wings Over America actually rocked. Paul is Live rocks, but more in the sense of a rocking chair. "Kansas City," recorded in Kansas City? Fuck you, Paul.
Listening to it now, I see that my anger is directed much more to the cover than to the actual music. Who cares, I'm giving it a one anyway. (Said in Tony Soprano voice): Paul may be "live," but he's dead to me.
Review by Ivan Loverling