It may be hard to remember in the post-punk, post-hipster, and post-everything world of 2014, but before punk broke -- and even a little after -- rock & roll could be pretty darn close-minded, and God help you if you're a conceptual, quirky new wave band trying to play a 1977 biker bar, because Bowie is the only weirdo allowed 'round here. That's what happens on Miracle Witness Hour, an archival audience recording of Devo sourced from a gig at Cleveland's skeevy biker bar (now closed), the Eagle Street Saloon. You can almost hear jaws drop as the smattering of applause after each song certainly wouldn't drown them out, but Devo are on a mission, and perform with the vigor of later, bigger gigs, even when they're being widely ignored. Hearing early classics like "Joko Homo," "Mongoloid," and "Uncontrollable Urge" in this atmosphere is quite interesting, while the inclusion of "Secret Agent Man," "Timing X," and a couple others prove that writing for the band's second album was already underway before their debut was even recorded. Fan favorite "Be Stiff" appears in its earlier, slower version and has not quite reached its full potential, but the sound quality here is surprisingly good, and for fans, the desirable release bridges the gap between the primordial Hardcore Live! series and all the live albums and videos that come from the later Warner Bros. era.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries