TRIPPING THE LIVE FANTASTIC
Paul McCartney (Capitol 94778)
As if playing four continents weren't enough, Paul McCartney has managed to eke even more mileage out of his recent world tour with "Tripping the Live Fantastic," a 37-song sampling that is, at two hours and 18 minutes, nearly as long as the show itself. Still, the show holds up on record almost as well as it did onstage. Thanks to a genuinely first-rate band, the recent efforts (like "My Brave Face") sparkle, the oldies (like "Ain't That a Shame") sizzle, and the Wings-era hits are delivered with spunk and accuracy. But the Beatle stuff is the real test, and though this slick six are no match for the Fab Four, there are few things in music as well-matched as that voice and those songs.
SERIOUS HITS . . . LIVE!
Phil Collins (Atlantic 82157)
So long as he's the darling of pop radio, there will never be a need for a Phil Collins greatest hits collection. After all, there's no point in buying what you're going to hear over and over anyway. dTC Collins' concert album, "Serious Hits . . . Live!" is another matter entirely. Sure, the songs, from "Sussudio" to "Separate Lives," are familiar enough, but the performances -- well-crafted and confident, full of musicianly wit and jazzy subtlety -- push the material one step further, so that the best bits take the listener unawares. And when was the last time a Phil Collins hit seemed like a surprise?