These are five songs from the third rehearsal of Wire's recent, stunning comeback, recorded at the Ritz in London, November 29, 1999. And regrettably, The Third Day is only a limited edition, 1000-copy EP the group peddled at its 2000 tour gigs, because frankly, it's jaw dropping. As those who attended the tour could attest, the four original members declined to replicate their 23-year-old versions. Instead, as seen here on a mind-blowing "Pink Flag" (two ashen versions for good measure) and an equally wicked "Mercy," the group hurls a viscous cacophony the old recordings always hinted at -- like on 154's later "A Touching Display." In place of the underground-touchstone scratchy guitars on the Pink Flag and Chairs Missing classics that launched a thousand bands, Bruce Gilbert and Colin Newman are all roaring thrust, all dense wall of sound eruption. Recall, Wire-heads, My Bloody Valentine doing "Only Shallow" on the Loveless tour in 1992, and you're in the fuming, exploding, deafening, needles-screaming-in-the-red ballpark. Right in step, bassist Graham Lewis doubles the solidity into a distorted, crunching slam of a sound. Yikes. Even tap-tap-tap master Robert Gotobed sounds as if his kick drum's a howitzer and his snare's a tommy gun. 154's more gaseous "Blessed State" is similarly reinvigorated (though it had less far to go; sadly, this wasn't subsequently performed live), and "Art of Persistence" is a great find. Speaking of "find," how does one find this surprisingly must-have document?
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