If to be great is to be misunderstood, then Bill Hicks certainly must have had plenty of evenings such as the one documented on Flying Saucer Tour, Vol. 1 during his too-brief life. With track titles such as "Worst Audience Ever" and "Vs. the Audience" offering a hint of the material contained on this album, Hicks finds himself facing a Pittsburgh audience that seems thoroughly unprepared to digest his scathing (and yet hilarious) opinions and social commentary. Never one to back down, Hicks decides to really let it fly, playing for well over an hour and using every trick in his repertoire to slowly rope the crowd in. In some ways, it's hard to blame the audience for their initial reaction -- although Hicks died in 1994, his comedy still sounds far ahead of its time even heard a decade later. Hicks himself even seems to realize this, at one point telling the audience, "I stand alone with these theories; you know how lonely it is being me?" Later in the evening, he impersonates the crowd's languid response towards his humor by asking himself, "Why do you have to try and change people's minds and beliefs? They don't want to stand out; they want to be in the crowd. They don't want to have beliefs. They don't want to rock the boat. They just want to hear dick jokes and go home." And although Hicks does occasionally throw the audience a bone with brief descents into prurient humor, he holds fast to his own muse, focusing mostly on philosophical terrain that lesser comedians would fear to tread. As the first in an anticipated series of complete Bill Hicks performances to be released by Rykodisc, Flying Saucer Tour, Vol. 1 is a wonderful testament to the brilliance of one of the great liberal thinkers and comedic minds of the last 20 years.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Bekkala