The end of the Lords of the New Church was messy, but inevitable. From the moment original drummer Nik Turner departed, the seamlessness with which the band married the twin spirits of '70s punk and '80s rebellion began to crumble, while the lengthening wait for a new, fourth album also rankled. Still the band held itself together sufficiently to continue touring until 1988 finally saw the last threads of unity snap. Surprisingly, performances throughout the band's final months remained strong, as though all concerned knew that an end was in sight and wanted to go out with a bang; and the three shows culled for this set, from Germany that October, are no exception. The dozen tracks, however, do highlight the peculiar dilemma that the Lords were in, as one of the most formidable writing teams of the early to mid-'80s simply ran out of steam, and now found itself combining old favorites with even older covers. The Creation, the Kinks, and Robert Johnson all take a bow around the expected Lords classics, while a couple of latter-day Stiv Bators-Brian James originals simply cannot hold a candle to the seething energies of the earlier material. Still, the fact that the Lords are so poorly represented on the CD racks makes Farewell Tour 1988 an essential purchase, while the sheer energy and excitement of the recording raises it to heights that the band itself had not seen in five years.
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