England - Full Moon 138 - 12/24/07
The Wedding Present
Scopitones (UK) / Manifesto (US)
2007 has been an active year for The Wedding Present (TWP) seeing the following releases: the 6 disc (!) Complete Peel Sessions 1986-2004 (on Sanctuary Records -- TWP were for sure among Peel's favourites) and Ye Ye (Best of the RCA Years). In-between came this double live CD, simply called Live 1987,
presenting recordings from England (Leicester Polytechnic, May 5th 1987) and Germany (München Alabama-Halle November 22nd 1987). Then there's the 'George Best 20th Anniversary Tour'. Not to mention David Gedge's post-TWP band Cinerama, who's also got the complete Peel Sessions 3-disc set put out. Long live TWP!
In fact these recordings were released years ago by the band. Being drummer Shaun Charman's idea, and the band's alternative to boost the black market's rather expensive and badly recorded tapes. Live 1987 is the first two volumes from this official live tape series. Somewhere up in my attic I've got a couple myself (live from Wakefield and Uppsala, both 1991). Quite decent recordings as far as I recall. But... why bother release these old live recordings today, and why bother listening to them? And, why a double bill with TWP live from that same period (half year span), which for sure gives quite an overlap in the set-lists? This is documentation for fans only (of course), but the interesting thing is the chance to hear TWP perform live before and after the release of their debut, George Best. When it comes to overlap in songs, 12 of the 14 from disc one (the May gig) appears on disc two as well, and 'living' proof of a band really improved as a band in 6 months. I find the German gig by far the better, even though there are charming moments on the May disc as well. And the striking thing is: oh, how bad I wanted to see TWP live back then. The German show also brings some amusing chatting, when Gedge pleases the crowd in Anglo-German: "This is ein neue lied". And asking if anyone has been to Leeds. None.
The German show (there are 7 songs on disc 2 that differs from disc 1) has got the Tom Jones show tune "It's Not Unusual" among the songs (which did come as a B-side with Kennedy 2 years later). What else? It feels of course good to hear the frantic, jangly indie pop frenzy when they (in and out of tune)
go through songs like "All This And More", "A Million Miles", "Shatner", "My Favourite Dress", "Give My Love To Kevin", "Once More", not to forget my big favourite: "Anyone Can Make A Mistake". And, finally, drummer Shaun's liner notes are proper stuff. The question is: are they going to release everything Shaun ever recorded? TWP as indie-pops answer to the Grateful Dead...
As John Peel once said: "The boy Gedge has written some of the best love songs of the Rock 'n' Roll era. You may dispute this, but I'm right and you're wrong!"
This live set is also made available by Stickman (for Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, BeNeLux, Scandinavia, Australia and Israel), by Talitres (France, Greece, South Africa, Argentina, Japan, Taiwan and Korea), and by Houston Party (for Spain and Portugal).
Copyright © 2007 Håvard Oppøyen