It is not until the second rendition of Don’t Let Me Down, an underappreciated B-Side masterclass of The Beatles’ back catalogue, that Get Back (Rooftop Performance) comes into its own. That realisation is toward the end of the album, and it makes for an enchanting second listen, once all the background chatter and bandmate banter is exposed that much better. More than just a tie into The Beatles: Get Back, and thankfully so. Not quite the nine hours of content Peter Jackson provided with his three-part Disney+ miniseries, but a remastering of mistake-riddled songs that have become endearing because it marked the final live performance of The Fab Four.
Thankfully, this rooftop tie-in is more than a cash grab and does provide a great insight into the creative process of The Beatles and even some remarkable hidden pieces that fans have been clamouring for. Thank Jackson for that, and although his touch is absent from the album, it is clear his documentary inspired the release. Get Back (Rooftop Performance) should not work. An album with six tracks to it, the eponymous track rifled through three times throughout the ten-track display, would bore if it weren’t so different each time. A song that comes together, bringing the bits and pieces in by the second run through. Releasing blueprints and concepts is something artists invariably do, but for The Beatles, it works thoroughly well.
None of these tracks are going to ebb their way into a recurrent playlist, but hearing tracks like One After 909 and Get Back toyed with offer moments of brilliance that are lacking on the studio releases. A little nudge here or a bit of synchronisation there is all it takes to give these released tracks an edge, a necessary bite to leave their mark. Nobody can deny the impact The Beatles had, and listening to near-concept live album blends like this should give a brief glimpse into how much they managed in barely a decade. Get Back (Rooftop Performance) is an exploration of that impact. It is the cuttings and trimmings that fans rarely get to hear, because the airbrushing and studio work redefines the raw work of a live release. This album is the best of both in that regard.
For the starstruck fans, Get Back (Rooftop Performance) will likely be the best live Beatles album available. Not just presently, but ever. Some of their finest, darkest songs are explored on top of a rooftop in London, with the stuffy studios of Abbey Road rubbing off on four frustrated artists. That explosion, that release, these four have on the rooftop is defiant and exciting. The footage was good enough, but hearing it and listening to it over once more is fantastic. It’ll either bolster the final releases of these tracks, like it does for I Dig A Pony (which feels lacklustre on this release) or drag out some sudden inspiration that never appeared again, like the second take of Get Back. Either way, it’s a novel and simple release, but Get Back (Rooftop Performances) hides within it some truly great moments and stellar performances.