Live at the Gallery Club, Manchester, 1982 showcases two early performances from this most precious of bands, two superb hometown hootenannies packed with tracks from the Chameleons' debut Script of the Bridge LP. From the seminal "In Shreds," which appears in distinctly different arrangements on both sets, to other early favorites, "Pleasure & Pain," "Second Skin," and "Don't Fall," these two shows are powerful -- highlighting the band at its very best, ragged and ragtag and packed with a raw energy that often had trouble translating to studio material. What makes these performances, and this DVD, so important both to genre historians and to Chameleons fans is a heaping helping of songs that never made it to contemporary vinyl. From the seven-song Hacienda set, listeners are treated to "Men of Steel" and "Years Ago," while the 12-song Gallery set delivers "Nathan's Phase," "Here Today," and "Things I Wish I'd Said." One final gem, "View From a Hill," wasn't included on the original pressings of Script of the Bridge but was later appended to the Dead Dead Good CD reissue. While none of these songs can be considered groundbreaking, they remain important nevertheless as blueprints, or spy glasses, into a world that has been relegated to myth. Indeed, no one was aware that these precious video minutes had even survived -- the band itself could barely remember the Gallery club production, despite it being filmed very well with multiple cameras. Of the two, it's easier on the eyes -- the Hacienda footage, like most everything filmed in that club, tends to the dark side of midnight on occasion. But that's only a minor glitch in terms of the utter wealth returned to fans after nearly 20 years.
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AllMusic Review by Amy Hanson