I got a chance to see the Paul McCartney concert film Rockshow over the weekend and it made me nostalgic. Not for the past, but for the way our rock stars used to approach their shows.
First off, what I didn’t realize was that McCartney approached this show from 1976 as a truly band project. Band members Denny Laine and Jimmy McColloch took the lead on vocals for a few songs with Paul singing backup and laying low on their songs.
Secondly, unlike the shows now, he felt no obligation to play certain Beatle songs. He did not play “Hey Jude” or “Let It Be”. He ended this show with the song “Soily”…that’s right, a deep cut from the “Band On The Run” album. Paul now usually ends his shows with The Golden Slumbers medley.
Last, like Butch Cassidy, I kept asking myself, “Who are these guys?” I knew Denny Laine was a longtime member of the band but I didn’t realize he was in the Moody Blues until he sang “Go Now”. I didn’t know Jimmy McColloch at all. He was a great looking kid and played a mean guitar. It wasn’t until I looked it up on Wikipedia that I saw he died in 1979 of a heroin overdose at the age of 26. The drummer Joe English was insane and reminded me of Keith Moon as he seemed always on the verge of losing the beat but kept it going strong. He’s still around but out of the music business. Linda passed away in 1998. And Denny Laine’s discography seems to end at 1999.
It was Paul’s first big tour since he was with The Beatles so he was playing with something to prove. While Paul’s shows are still great and he has an amazing band it would be pretty cool if he mixed it up a bit. I know it’s tough when fans pay $300 a seat, they’re going to demand he plays Beatles songs but I’d love to see him bring Denny and and Joe back and play a few Wings classics. Kind of like what The Rolling Stones are doing with Mick Taylor on they’re current tour with Taylor playing a couple songs from the era when he was in the Stones. It would be nice to be reminded of how well some of these Wings songs hold up.
Rockshow comes out on Blu-Ray on June 11. It’s worth a viewing or two.
Here’s an interview with biographer Chris Salewicz about the movie.