It has always been widely known that, since their inception, Fugazi has been keeping a running library of their live shows. While it had always been rumored that at some point the band would oversee the release of said material, no one was really quite sure when or how these tapes would see the light of day. Thankfully, with the band on temporary hiatus, Fugazi were able to release 20 of the shows through an Internet site devoted to the venture, fugaziliveseries.com. Each of the 20 volumes contains an entire show, including all the interruptions and introductions, allowing each to stand as a pure document of the band in the moment. The sound quality varies from disc to disc based on the recording technology of the time, and the cover art maintains continuity by using one image repeated on each disc. Vol. 1 of Fugazi Live Series, recorded in 1987 at the Wilson Center, is Fugazi's first show. The show, a benefit for Positive Force (a Washington, D.C., activist collective), while a bit rough around the edges (Ian MacKaye had never done the guitar and vocals thing in his earlier bands), with broken strings and a fudged ending to "Furniture," was no doubt an important moment at an important time in the D.C. scene. Granted, it is hard not to notice the lack of eventual second guitarist/vocalist Guy Picciotto, but this absence makes those familiar with Fugazi understand how important his role in the band was. Having said that, Fugazi still has power, even as a three-piece. While "Turn Off Your Guns" and "Word" may not have gotten much exposure over the years, they're still solid tunes, and it's obvious (even this early on, although it may be hindsight talking) that "Waiting Room" would become a song to be reckoned with. It may not be glossy, but it is an interesting (and to Fugazi fans, necessary) document, which allows the listener to witness at least aurally the birth, warts and all, of one hell of a live band.
AllMusic Review by Chris True