This is a very nice first proper Vinyl reissue for the legendary mail order only limited edition Spiritualized live album from the band's first US tour in 1992 - recorded that November and recorded in San Diego and Los Angeles.
Yes it still has the embossed effects pedal cover and everything. I prepared for this review by listening to the original CD I bought at the time as one of my favorite bands of the time having seen Spacemen 3 an awful lot and by this point seen Spiritualized I think 3 times as well as often seeing Jason and the band sitting on the floor rolling at all sorts of gigs in London when they weren't on tour.
So I am very familiar with the album having played it regularly over the years and the new version sounds pretty much the same with only very minor (if any) audio enhancement courtesy of John Rivers re-mastering, but then why mess with a record that didn't need fixing. So roll a big one, sit down and enjoy this wonderful trip of an album.
Take Good Care Of It that opens the set is a good mellow rush that sadly isn't at the sort of immense volume it would have been at back then and try as I might I can't fill my music room with enough smoke to create the right atmosphere as all those floaty sounds start to lift you up and get you into the right headspace. Then, at at the end of the song, the main difference is that I can hear then audience screams and cheers with much greater clarity.
I Want You is that great building Love song being sung by Jason both to his greatest love of all (the drugs) and also to his Band mate and girlfriend Kate: a short, sweet and potent love song built as ever around a repeating riff and that swirling organ sound and a nice sax solo. A very cool version of one of the band's early singles.
Medication would always have been the cue for the room to become foggier yet as Jason's whispered vocals are the calm before the storm to come that rises and falls like the first hit has just hit. But you need a bigger hit to come, you just need more medication and the near Henry Cow-like section before Jason's very fragile vocals talks the talk of just one more time to feel this good is to be fucked up inside. I know most of the audiences would have been by this point, swaying away and shuffling along and watching whatever the light show would have been.
Angel Sigh is the sort of song to sit on the floor and roll another one to and listen to Jason's love song as the music rises and crashes like a lover during the course of a night of intense passion, almost with the rhythmic pulse at the center working towards a climax. This is wonderfully spacey music to get close and personal to.
Walking With Jesus is performed a lot faster than Spacemen 3 often played it but sounds great as it was one of the songs they played the first time I saw Spacemen 3 opening for Suicide at the Town And Country Club. It's always a song I love hearing live - the power of it and the freak out guitars over the repeating insistent minimal riff. This is a great version of one of Jason's classic songs oh and the organ on this is brilliant it sounds like a Farfisa or something similar.
Then a properly epic 14 minute version of Shine A Light (Clear Light/Clear Rush) hits you from its whispered, barely there beginnings. It starts to build like the stars coming out at night and a shimmering light coming down in the light show building like a Sun Ra squalling jazz freak out with the guitars screaming and wailing against that manic sax while the keyboards and drums steady the ship before it starts to float in the middle section: pulsing, waving, drifting, floating, shimmering percussion to make sure you feel properly trippy like birds are flying in the sky as the waves come crashing in trying to keep your eyes open as everything takes hold at once and you're enveloped by the tsunami of sound.
The album and (gig closes) with Smiles which is hopefully what Jason could see on the blissed out faces in the audience as this really kicks in with the most prominent bass rumble on the album as they build towards one last freak out. The sax builds in the middle and has a great dance groove going for the guitars to then go crazy with loads of wah wah and effects as the intensity would be incredible at full volume. Even at a more civilised home volume it's immense and shuddering: a truly shattering end to a concert and what for me has been a classic album from the day I first got it.