Wings Over America [Bonus Tracks]

Not Rated

For such an expensive, three-record concert souvenir, made by an artist as commercially astute as Paul McCartney, a consumer-conscious review seems appropriate. The Wings fan with all the studio albums, for instance, may find Wings over America a legitimate alternative; excepting the single side of acoustic material, these performances are rawer and more driven than the original recordings and, in many cases, much the better for it. "Rock Show" is placed in its natural habitat; "Magneto and Titanium Man" becomes more sinewy and sinister; "Time to Hide" is reborn and simply wonderful. "Soily," the encore original, is a perfect climax, one of the best fast songs McCartney has written. In other words, there is probably enough novelty here to make Over America worth owning. From the above, non-Wings fans

particularly those who find them wimpy

can infer that this is as good and tough as you'll get this particular band.

On the debit side, the acoustic set is unremittingly maudlin. Many of Wings' mediocre songs

"My Love," "Listen to What the Man Said," "Silly Love Songs"

successfully resist transcending mediocrity.

There isn't much stage patter; crowd noise is kept at an unobtrusive but effective level; the cover painting compares favorably to a witty James Rosenquist, but the poster inside is downright cheesy. Caveat emptor.