This Case Is Closed

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For a band whose reputation is largely built upon their penchant for sonic magnificence, Television's posthumous legacy has been very poorly served by the bootleg community. Where they should transfix, they make you tremble; where they should spellbind, they leave you spluttering, a vicious reminder that though Television might have been sticklers for perfection in the studio, in concert was something else entirely. Maybe that's unfair. Television live recordings seldom utilized state-of-the-art equipment -- state of the Ark might be more appropriate, and This Case Is Closed is no exception. An open mic job from the original band's last ever show at the New York Bottom Line in July 1978 ("the first farewell" as the credits wryly note), when the guitars soar across a gripping "Marquee Moon" or an inspiring "Foxhole," Television's undeniable genius shines through. But the rough edges and muffled vocals will always remain more memorable (catch the Pythonesque Gumby backing vocals on "Kingdom Come"), and the audience is far too drunk for comfort. Oh, and there's a few minor drop-outs which are about as close as it gets to stereo. Someone, somewhere, has a crystalline Television live tape; maybe someone, someday, will ensure you get to hear it. Until then -- stick with the studio albums.

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