On 27 June 2007, Paul McCartney and his touring band played a secret concert at the Amoeba Music record store in Hollywood, Los Angeles.
The show was free of charge, and the audience included Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach, Olivia Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Alanis Morissette, and actors Woody Harrelson, Rosanna Arquette, and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
McCartney was touring that year’s Memory Almost Full album at the time, and the setlist contained five songs from it: ‘Only Mama Knows’, ‘Dance Tonight’, ‘That Was Me’, ‘Nod Your Head’, and ‘House Of Wax’.
The bulk of the set – eleven songs – consisted of Beatle songs. There were also cover versions of Carl Perkins’ ‘Matchbox’ and the 1920s standard ‘Baby Face’, as well as Wings’ ‘C Moon’, and a pair of other solo McCartney songs (‘Calico Skies’, ‘Here Today’).
‘Baby Face’ had been performed live by McCartney for several decades. A version recorded in 1974 appears in the Wings documentary One Hand Clapping.
McCartney’s 1980 song ‘Coming Up’, recorded at the Amoeba soundcheck, was included as a bonus song on the 2019 vinyl edition.
The EP was issued on 12″ vinyl, CD, and digital download. In America it peaked at number 119 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
Amoeba’s Secret had deliberately low-resolution artwork, to give the impression of a bootleg release. This aesthetic was retained for Live In Los Angeles and the full Amoeba Gig release.
Two of the recordings received Grammy Awards nominations in 2008. ‘That Was Me’ was shortlisted for the Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, and ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance. Both lost out to John Mayer recordings. During the ceremony McCartney performed ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ with Dave Grohl on drums.
Three Amoeba recordings were released on formats of the ‘Ever Present Past’ single in 2007.
The UK 7″ single was backed with ‘House Of Wax’ from the show, while the UK CD contained ‘Only Mama Knows’ and ‘Dance Tonight’. The iTunes single package contained ‘Only Mama Knows’ and ‘That Was Me’.
Live In Los Angeles
On 17 January 2010 the UK newspaper The Mail On Sunday gave away a covermount CD in Britain and Ireland. Live In Los Angeles contained 12 tracks from the Amoeba show: ‘Drive My Car’, ‘Only Mama Knows’, ‘Dance Tonight’, ‘C Moon’, ‘That Was Me’, ‘Blackbird’, ‘Here Today’, ‘Back In The USSR’, ‘Get Back’, ‘Hey Jude’, ‘Lady Madonna’, and ‘I Saw Her Standing There’.
The cover artwork for Live In Los Angeles was based on the same design as Amoeba’s Secret. It was issued on the Upfront label, and bore the MPL Communications logo.
The audio for these live releases was mixed by David Kahne at SeeSquared Studios, New York.
The Extended Set
On 16 November 2012, premium members of Paul McCartney’s website were contacted with the offer of a 14-track download of the Amoeba show. It was one of the final offers for subscribers at a time when the membership tier was being ended.
Titled Live In Los Angeles The Extended Set, the album added ‘Nod Your Head’ and ‘House Of Wax’ to the Live In Los Angeles tracklisting. ‘House Of Wax’ had previously been released on the ‘Ever Present Past’ 7″ single.
The full Amoeba show was finally released on 19 July 2019 as Amoeba Gig, remixed by McCartney’s audio engineer Steve Orchard.
Amoeba Gig contained seven recordings that were previously unreleased: ‘The Long And Winding Road’, ‘I’ll Follow The Sun’, ‘Calico Skies’, ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, ‘Matchbox’, ‘Baby Face’, and ‘Let It Be’.
Furthermore, the vinyl edition contained a bonus recording of ‘Coming Up’ from the Amoeba soundcheck.
The album was not a commercial success, spending just one week on the UK album chart, at number 82.