Firesign Theatre

Back from the Shadows

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When the 25th anniversary of the first Firesign Theatre album rolled around, the group had been on hiatus for about eight years, ever since the Eat or Be Eaten album. Getting together again to do a series of anniversary shows, no one was sure how it would work out; after all, the group stopped performing together for a reason, and there were definitely several points in their past where disharmony was the overriding theme. Well, the reunion shows not only succeeded personality-wise, but the group discovered that their audience was an intensely loyal bunch, making the shows extra special (just listen to the way everyone chants along with the Nick Danger episode, if you need proof). Apart from "Toad Away," the material on the Back From the Shadows album was entirely taken from the first four classic albums, and all four members sound like they're having a ball performing it again, especially with the reaction they're getting from the audience. Although the album was originally released as a two-CD set on Mobile Fidelity, it went out of print for quite some time; Whirlwind Media finally reissued the album on a single DVD, which not only includes the album in its entirety in 5.1 Surround Sound, but also adds a 56-minute video component containing interviews with the band, as well as an interactive component. If you didn't pick it up the first time around, all of the bonus material makes it almost irresistible this time around. [If that's not quite enough to make you want to spring for a DVD player, here's extra incentive: There's also a DVD out there with some of the troupe's video-only releases, called All-Day Matinee.]

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