The Tubes

Wild in London

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Ask a serious music historian what artists had the wildest, most insane live shows in the '70s, and the Tubes are likely to be mentioned along with Kiss, Alice Cooper, and Parliament/Funkadelic. Back then, a Tubes show was more than a concert -- it was a theatrical event and a musical circus. That type of wilder-than-wild showmanship didn't disappear after the Nirvana/Pearl Jam/grunge upheaval of the early '90s, but it became harder to find. Post-'80s alterna-rockers who are known for their over-the-top theatricality on-stage (Mushroomhead, Powder, the Genitorturers, the Dresden Dolls, among others) are the exception instead of the rule, which is why it was good to know that the Tubes were still touring in the mid-2000s. This 73-minute CD documents a Tubes show at Shepherd's Bush Empire in London on December 6, 2004; Wild in London isn't in a class with What Do You Want from Live (a great live album the Tubes recorded in 1977), but there is still a lot to enjoy -- and Fee Waybill sounds quite inspired on old '70s and early-'80s favorites like "White Punks on Dope," "Don't Touch Me There," "She's a Beauty," and the kinky "Mondo Bondage." Of course, some longtime Tubes devotees will argue that no audio-only release can truly capture the glorious insanity of a Tubes show -- that a live Tubes release really needs to be a video or DVD because they are so visually dynamic on-stage. But What Do You Want from Live was a classic despite the audio-only factor -- and Wild in London also shines (although not as brightly) even without the visuals. No casual listener should choose either Wild in London or Tubes World Tour 2001 (a CMC International release) over What Do You Want from Live, but this disc is still worth hearing if one is a truly hardcore Tubes addict.

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