Aug 112012

I saw Tom Waits on Letterman last night. I know he doesn’t play live that often. Beside that concert film he did coming out of the Frank’s Wild Years period, I don’t recall seeing him play live on a screen since his early hobo piano balladeer days. He was pretty good last night, but I much preferred his sit down on Dave’s couch. I’ll take Waits the raconteur or actor any day over Waits the musician.

You can have your early Beatles concerts. I love the Beatles above all other bands. I know they made girls wet their pants and were probably the first band best known for not playing live, but I think their brief performance on the rooftop in Let It Be so far surpasses any live clips I’ve seen from their early days that the band is only the second-greatest live band best known for not playing live.

Give me XTC from their live days over any other audience-fearing band I can think of. It’s the weekend. I know Andy usually looks like a smacked ass. I know E. Pluribus Gergely‘s “Man or Machine” criticisms of the band. I’m down with their music and the band’s overall Man or Machine conflicts. Their music has a high degree of difficulty without being prog. They can play. Original drummer Terry Chambers IS a machine, and I mean that as a compliment.

Pop the following full XTC concert up on your Google or Apple TV and watch along with me.

(Am I missing a better live artist best known for not playing live?)


  18 Responses to “Greatest Live Band Best Known for Not Playing Live”

  1. This is the great lost rock nerd Holy Grail. I have never seen more that a single live video (most were them playing over the record) and to find a full show from XTC at the top of their game? amazing! I am a Facebook hero for posting and claiming I found it (thanks for making me cool to other people who are watching music on You Tube on a friday night)

  2. and for the post, used to be Steely Dan until they started to play EVERY YEAR, I went to 5 shows since 2003 and had to pass this year.

  3. REM was famous for not touring behind their two biggest LPs (Out Of Time and Automatic For The People) it was only a 5 year gap, but it appeared to be a long time in pop music for a band that was that big.

  4. I’ve come across a clip or two at a time from this show but never the whole thing. Glad you’re digging it.

  5. cherguevara

    F-ing A! There goes an hour.

    There are rumors that the elusive Kate Bush will be performing “Running up that hill” at the closing ceremony of the Olympics on Sunday.

  6. Never before has anyone worked so hard to say so little.

    Thanks for the clip. It reaffirms everything I hate about that band, and that mega asshole Andy Partridge in particular. To be that arrogant with really nothing to show for it is abominable.

    E. Pluribus

  7. Thanks — I was supposed to see XTC in Mpls whatever year Partridge cancelled the tour.

  8. This is great! 30 minutes in observations.

    They play the recorded intro to Respectable Street instead of just doing it live. Odd.

    What Andy lacks in subtlety and pitching in his vocals he makes up in fealty to the lyrics. Even a crammed with lyrics song like Burning with Optimism’s Flame doesn’t tongue tie him at all. He seems to hit every lyric accurately.

    The guitar playing and interplay are outstanding. Wouldn’t have thought they could pull off Jason and the Argonauts, but that version is awesome. Can clearly hear what both guys are playing too.

    Hail King Colin. Great playing, and better natural singing than Andy.

    Visual: Slap a hankerchief on Andy’s head and he’s dressed like the Python Gumby “Oh, my brain hurts!” character. Dave Gregory looks like the actor in the Airplane movie.

    Are they opening for someone else? The audience seems uninterested.

    Definitely enjoying the show!

  9. cherguevara

    Andy’s vocals are definitely snotty and affected but they are also not helped by being way, way too loud in this mix which also causes it to sound like he is stomping all over Colin when they sing together, though he is also clearly not making any effort to blend with him.

    One interesting thing about XTC is that despite the fact that Colin didn’t write nearly as many songs as Andy, many of their singles were Colin’s tunes. What other bands have this dynamic?

  10. ohmstead

    Yeah – apparently she is going to release a remix of R.U.T.H to coincide with the performance…hope it’s not just a rumour.

  11. Wow Kate Bush that would be like supercool if she did show and sing. If there is a hill wonder if she’ll sing “Running up that hill.” That is if she runs up that hill. Seriously I love that song. Especially where she sings we both matter. Its such a beautiful, uplifting song. I love the drums and the searing lyrics and melody.

  12. cherguevara

    Well, not only did she not perform but NBC cut out the part of the ceremony where they played her song, in addition to all the other stuff they cut…

  13. I missed the closing ceremonies. Did they show more women’s beach volleyball instead?

  14. diskojoe

    I have this concert on DVD (I originally had it on VHS & I had it transferred on DVD) & I just happpened to watch it a couple of weeks ago. The thing that stood out to me was the fact that Andy’s not wearing glasses. I don’t know whether that that was due to stage fright. Any thoughts?

  15. ohmstead

    Was out of town without tech…so just catching up…no it wasn’t more women’s beach volley ball…it was much worse…they cut away to premier a new situation comedy about an animal hospital. Now I have nothing against pet health care but c’mon…

  16. ohmstead

    Probably shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up…but the anticipation of a possible live Kate Bush sighting inspired me to indulge in one of my favorite little pastimes…what I like to call – the medically inadviseable obsessive inventorying of new covers of Running Up That Hill.

    My recent research revealed that there is now a Gregorian Chant version as well as an A cappella edition by a Helsinki-based group called Club for Five (frankly, a little bizarre and upbeat in a most unsettling way).

    However, the really bad news is that I came across a cover by Tiffany (yeah – that Tiffany – whose last North American tour I think took place in a series of suburban shopping malls). Now I am personally all about peace, love, and nonviolence but after listening to Tiffany’s soul-less and artless rendition of one of the significant touchstones of my college music listening days I began to find myself rationalizing a public execution…or at least a good horse whipping.

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