The Dreams' Dream
Rhino Handmade, RHM2 7846, 2003
Ain't That Nothin'
Little Johnny Jewel
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
(Limited edition of 5,000)
Also released April 2011 as a vinyl record (2 LP), R17846
on 180-gram white vinyl as part of Record Store Day 2011,
in a numbered limited edition of 3,000.
Tom Verlaine: Guitar, vocals
Richard Lloyd: Guitar, backing vocals
Fred Smith: Bass, backing vocals
Billy Ficca: Drums
This show has been around for some time as a bootleg (reviewed here) but this official release shows it in a better light. The original recording has been produced and remastered by the same team that worked on the Rhino reissues of Marquee Moon and Adventure and the sound is excellent, as good as it could be. What previously sounded fuzzy now sounds intense; what sounded blurred now sounds sharper and more forceful
Television have always lacked an official live album (or ten) and while it's great to finally have one, I might be alone in thinking it's a shame that it had to be this one.
The shimmering beauty of Marquee Moon and Adventure owes much to the clean, ringing sounds of guitars. There's no denying the power of these songs played like this but I miss the silences, the holding back, the spaces which give Television's music its particular grace. The feeling that there doesn't have to be something happening all the time. Here, it's a relentless attack of distorted guitars, the sound of a terrific rock band. But Television were never merely a "rock band". It all works fine in, say, "Satisfaction", but then "Satisfaction" is just a rock song (I mean it's a great rock song, but...).
It is without a doubt the performance of a band bursting with energy and confidence and gaving a great time - just listen to the locked-in precision with which Fred Smith and Billy Ficca carve the groove through the heart of "Ain't That Nothin'". But it pins you down with sound and somewhere in there something just gets lost. It sounds like Television playing their best-known songs with everything turned up to "11". The beautiful moments that I know are in these songs just don't shine through. After a while the noise of Richard Lloyd's chainsaw guitar just gets irritating.
Im not sure exactly why I don't want to listen to this very often. It's not as if I don't like distorted noise. It's just a shame to hear something like "The Dream's Dream" crashing along rather than being allowed to breathe a little.