Bauhaus

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

What should have been a straightforward posthumous concert video, consisting of many of the remaining numbers filmed by Chris Collins of the band's Old Vic live show after other clips had appeared on Shadow of Light, turned out to be nothing of the kind, to its detriment and no doubt to the band's anger, given how it was assembled without their input. Rather exasperatingly, the video begins with a ridiculous framing device involving a strange Victorian gentleman being pursued by three young pubgoers around various buildings and metalworks, while the studio version of "Lagartija Nick" plays on the soundtrack. After the song ends, the gentleman ends up in a room where a record player and film projector are playing Bauhaus -- and then the concert footage finally begins, except that in between songs the camera pointlessly cuts back to the man watching the screen. At times the video returns to him even while a live cut is playing! Add to that an ending "video" for "The Sanity Assassin" which consists of nothing but promo stills and clips from other videos, and the whole thing gets ridiculous after a while -- a pity, because the live numbers themselves include a number of heavy-duty winners. As the Shadow of Light clips show as well, Bauhaus kicked out the jams live, with David J and Haskins being a stone-faced, spot-on rhythm section, Ash able to turn out piledriving riffs and more delicate, restrained performances equally well, and Murphy simply running riot on stage, combining Bowie's sense of drama and Iggy Pop's thrashing explosiveness (and not-bad physique) to come up with a perfect hybrid of impulses. The best numbers appear at the end, with "Stigmata Martyr" and "Dark Entries" showcasing the band's abilities at brutal aural drama, and the concluding "Spirit" (mistitled "We Love Our Audience" on the sleeve) given a particularly lovely reading. A pity one has to get through so much silliness to get to them.