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Wire review (spoiler ???)

From: (Tom Dube)
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 87 16:26:08 edt
Subject: Wire review (spoiler ???)

Wire played the Ritz on Saturday June 13.  It was their first New York
appearance since some legendary shows in 1977.  A late arriving crowd
filled the place to a tolerable level of unpleasantness.  Many Ritz
shows are intolerable, but I keep going back, and this was Wire.

In 1977 I was a student/punk at UConn (Connecticut). I didn't know about
the New York shows.  But, if I had known I would have been there.  Even
then I knew that Wire was special.  And Wire had a reputation for
their live shows.  They confronted the audience, never giving them what 
they wanted, but instead challenging them with something better.  They
seldom played any of their "hits", but instead offered extended bursts
of monotonous noise.  Punk Art.

The following is a paraphrase of Colin Newman explaining the name
"The Ideal Copy":
  When we reformed, we didn't want to be another reunion band of
  old bald men playing our former hits.  We even considered hiring
  another group of bald men and making them go on the road and
  play the old Wire songs.  That would be sort of an imperfect copy.

The Ex-Lion Tamers opened the show for Wire.  They were not bald, they
weren't even very old.  They performed	the "Pink Flag" album.  Not the 
songs, the album!  Note for note in the correct running order.

Most of the crowd didn't get the joke. The Ex-Lion Tamers looked
a bit embarrassed, but they did get favorable crowd response.

Wire took the stage.  They still have hair.  Graham Lewis looked
completely ridiculous.  I assume it was intentional :-)  .
He had an awful "New Wave" haircut, short on top/long in the back.
And wardrobe, Yikes!!!   Tight-fitting soccer shorts, a polo shirt,
a LARGE stopwatch around his neck, and a pair of "Statue-of-Liberty"
glasses which he wore throughout the set.

Colin Newman was a bit more subtle.  He wore a baggy white suit with
a black shirt and red suspenders.  Since "Commercial Suicide", I've
doubted Colin Newman's taste. So, this may not have been a joke.

Bruce Gilbert and Robert Gotobed were dressed casually (or perhaps
were making fun of the way that I dress).

Much to my delight, the band opened with a couple of songs that I had
never heard before.  Then, in a change of tactics they played nearly
all of "Snakedrill" and "The Ideal Copy", some song from "Commercial 
Suicide", and only two more unfamiliar numbers.
By far the best crowd reaction came on "Ahead".  After all, "Ahead"
is a dance club hit and MTV video.

One musical highlight was a version of "Ambitious" that had a real
sinister sound completely lacking in the recording. I also enjoyed
this because it was one of the very few songs on which Lewis
did any singing. 

Despite claims of musical incompetence, the band played quite well.
(Actually, I suspect that Lewis has trouble playing ans singing at
the same time.)
I give the number one star to Robert Gotobed and his exceptional
bass drum rhythms.

During the performance, there were a lot of idiots yelling out
old songtitles and "Punk Rock!".  Colin Newman responded with
some angry remarks that I couldn't quite understand.

Other jerks threw cups at the stage.  Graham Lewis pointed out
one such person and the bouncers removed him. He then said "This
isn't for us, it's for your protection".  Maybe I believe him.

After leaving the stage, Newman and Lewis returned immediately
far an a cappella version of "Up to the Sun", or "Vivid Riot of Red",
or perhaps something else :-).

Then, after a lengthy absence the entire band returned for And here
It Is ... Again....And It's Called `Ahead'.  Playing your hit 
twice always was a standard punk device.  I guess they've learned
to give the people what they want.

And, I think that they found that it is possible to stage both a
concert and an event at the same time.  Or perhaps they found a way
to annoy almost everyone but me.
                                    Tom Dube