Paul McCartney’s Live Kisses captures the magical night of February 9 in the City of Angels – coincidentally, the 48th anniversary of The Beatles’ U.S. TV debut on The Ed Sullivan Show no less –when Paul McCartney decided to bring Kisses On The Bottom, his newly released collection of pop standards and two originals, to life at the very same Capitol Studios where much of the album was created.
The very special event will air on Great Performances, Friday, September 7 at 9 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.)
A few hours after the long awaited addition of McCartney’s star to the Hollywood Walk of Fame drew a traffic-stopping throng to pack the stretch of Vine Street in front of the famed Capitol Records building, McCartney took his place behind the same microphone that had captured so many of the most magical voices of the past several decades, while the core team that backed McCartney on his debut turn on Kisses, prepared to reprise their roles in this one-time-only concert event. McCartney and the assembled musicians had never performed this material live adding to the evening’s electricity.
The reunited all-star entourage included Grammy-winning producer Tommy LiPuma and Al Schmitt in the control room, musical director Diana Krall at the piano, and Kisses players John Clayton, Karriem Riggins, John Pizzarelli, Anthony Wilson, Mike Mainieri and conductor Alan Broadbent.
McCartney eschewed his usual tools of bass, guitar and piano to focus solely on his vocal interpretations of this material. In exclusive interview segments with Paul and Kisses On The Bottom collaborators Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, Krall and LiPuma, among others, Live Kisses offers new insight into the conception and creation of the Kisses… album, the McCartney family gatherings that introduced a young Paul to much of the material, the Fats Waller line from Live Kisses opener “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter” that gave Kisses On The Bottom its title, and more.
Live Kisses’ highlights include “Home,” “More I Cannot Wish You,” “Always,” “Bye Bye Blackbird” and McCartney harmonizing with his longtime live drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. on “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” “The Glory of Love” and “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive.” There are spontaneous moments such as a flubbed first take on “My Very Good Friend the Milkman.” Paul’s rendition of his new composition “My Valentine” receives acoustic guitar punctuation courtesy of Joe Walsh (who contributes another outstanding turn in a completely different mood on “Get Yourself Another Fool”).
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Paul McCartney’s Live Kisses is directed by Jonas Åkerlund, and Paul McCartney is executive producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer, and David Horn is executive producer.
Major funding for the Great Performances telecast is provided by the Irene Diamond Fund, Vivian Milstein, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Agnes Varis Trust, the Starr Foundation, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, and public television viewers. Visit Great Performances Online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information about this and other programs.