Recorded live at The Metro in Chicago, on November 11, 1998, this album captures The Legendary Pink Dots in very fine form, if not in very good sound. The set list features a nice cross-section of the band’s ‘90s output, with songs taken from the albums Hallway of the Gods, Crushed Velvet Apocalypse, and The Maria Dimension, among others, plus a song (“Pain Bubbles”) that would end up on their next studio album, the superb A Perfect Mystery. The line-up for this tour consisted of Edward Ka-Spel, Phil Knight, Edwin van Trippenhof, Ryan Moore, and Neils van Hoornblower. Highlights abound, such as Van Trippenhof’s raging guitar solo in “Grain Kings ’98,” but the real treat is the 10-minute “Saucers Over Chicago,” a version of “The Saucers Are Coming” adapted for the occasion, a reverse-take of sorts on Welles’ War of the Worlds. “Andromeda” also gets a powerful treatment, bringing the album to a close on a bombastic note. In terms of material performed and performance quality, Live at the Metro beats Farewell, Milky Way, released a year later though recorded four years earlier. However, sound quality-wise, the situation is inverted, as Live at the Metro sounds rather hollow, with too much echo. Despite this shortcoming, it makes for a very fine live document that fans will appreciate. But newcomers are better off trying some of the group’s highest-rated studio efforts before dipping their ears into this release.
by François Couture
(The date of this review is unknown)