Burning Airlines/NMC PILOT 52.
Running time: 63m 55s
Running time: 66m 05s
1 Collateral Damage bonus disc available with the first 5000 copies only.
With Ian's 2-CD Once Bitten Twice Shy anthology hitting the shelves, and the resulting press coverage, this CD has been rush-released in a desperate attempt to cash in on all the publicity. It showcases a CD's worth of previously-unreleased live material - indeed, songs that have never been released in "live" form before.
The disc opens strongly enough, with a blistering version of Life After Death and a beautiful version of Ships and Letter To Britannia. After that, the sound quality heads south - the sound balance is all wrong on We Gotta Get Out Of Here and if Ellen Foley is present (Ian's acknowledges here, so I assume she is) then she is completely inaudible.
Things get worse for While You Were Looking At Me, while for American Music it sounds like the microphone (yes, we're talking audience recording here folks!) is right in front of the drum kit. In fact, on all these tracks the source has been either an (off-air) FM tape or and audience recording.
Don't get me wrong, therse are all "mice-to-have" tracks, but just don't expect to get the last word in sound quality. In fact, the whole package has a "bootleg" feel to it, right down to the booklet which, despite being written by Campbell Devine still contain the odd typo here and there. Even the title is a nod to glorious bootlegs past (Behind Enemy Lines, anyone?).
Initial copies come with a bonus disc, called Collateral Damage, which is actually much better quality. It is taken entirely from (off-air) FM tapes, and was recorded in Long Island and Chicago. Granted all the material here has appeared in live form before (on Welcome To The Club), but it is certainly interesting to hear these performances from earlier in the tour.
Good tho' this set is, it could have been so much better. It is a shame the original broadcast masters weren't tracked down and used (if any effort was spent searching for them, the booklet doesn't say). I think I'd also have preferred the 1989 San Jose show to have made up Disc 2, as this contains several YUI Orta tracks that have yet to appear in "live" form.
So, in conclusion as a live album this release is let down by the less-than-ideal sound quality. It's better to think of this as an "official bootleg" in which case it is a more worthy release.
Note that there is no indication on the packaging of the presence of the bonus disc. No sticker, '2CD' logo on the case - nothing.Adrian Perkins