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GEOFF BAKER GOES
TRIPPING THE LIVE FANTASTIC
They've hailed it as "the ultimate Paul McCartney album", 36 tracks spanning 30 years of the best of rock and roll.
But for Paul, recording Tripping The Live Fantastic started out as something far simpler.
"What we tried to do with this album was to give people a chance to take home with them a souvenir of the show; a beter quality bootleg of what we hoped was just a good, fun, party night out", he said.
But recording this triple-vinyl, double cassette/CD was one of the most ambitious live projects Paul has ever mounted. He took on the road with him a 32-track Mitsubishi desk, over which sound engineer Jeff Cohen would nightly twiddle, recording every song, every Soundcheck jam.
For 102 gigs, the tapes rolled. And when this greatest show on earth cranked down, a very patient guy called Pete Henderson listened to every track - that's something in the region of 3,200 takes! - before, with Paul and Mr. Golden Ears himself, Bob Clearmountain, they honed it down to the best of the brilliance.
If you were on the tour, it's impossible to listen to 'Tripping' without each track evoking a memory - Twenty Flight Rock, the old Beatles stomper from The Kaiserkeller days; Ebony & Ivory, when Stevie Wonder turned up at the LA Forum to guest with Paul on the encore; the jokey ' bet you don't know this one ' introduction (and subsequent crowd roar of delight) on Got You Get You Into My Life; Birthday, worked into the show just so that Macca could celebrate July 4th in Washington in style; The Long and Winding Road, the crew's 'Our tune' and Sergeant Pepper, the rabble-rouser that always got even the politest crowd up and hollering. Add to that such rockers as Get Back, Coming Up, Can't Buy Me Love, I Saw Her Standing There and - of course - Yesterday, and here is an album that is truly 'all the best'.
For some, who weren't there, it's more than a good hint of what magic those nights were. For those who caught a gig, it's a means of forever reviving the memory.
And for those who were there, always there, every show, it's a very evocative reminder of the best nights of the best year of a life.