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  #1  
Old 06-08-2016, 07:10 AM
potatobroth
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Underworld... live?
This is not Underworld live experience that I loved.

When I think back to the dozen or so Underworld concerts I’ve been to, I get a huge smile on my face. The visuals, the lights, the segues, the unique setlists, the new arrangements of classic songs, the never heard before snippets and sometimes even fully-realized tracks (I’m looking at you 5 Points) all gelling together to create this amazing one-of-a-kind experience. It’s an energy that can barely be described in words other than “you have to see this band live!” But with this tour (and for the most part, the Barking tour) all of that is pretty much gone.

I saw Underworld’s Barbara Barbara tour a few months back in NYC and brought with me a few friends, some of which have never seen Underworld. They thought the experience was… just good. Oddly as a rabid UW fan for 2 decades I found myself just agreeing with them. The setlist itself was fine but the uniqueness was completely missing. There were no segues, there was almost no improvisation, and the rare tracks, like Juanita, may as well have been pulled right from their respective albums. They were identical to their released versions. Sure there were a few surprises like Dirty Club (a mix that was far inferior to both Dirty Guitar and Dirty Epic) and Ring Road+Minn. And there were a few mixes that felt inspired like King of Snake and Rowla, but overall those were the exceptions and not the norms.

The visuals were almost non-existent. The dots and dashes were quite beautiful during the one (or two) times they were used, but that’s it! Not a single other time was that giant screen used other than to show some live-feed video of Karl or announce the song’s title. This was a huge missing piece.

It’s hard to watch this shift happen, and even harder to imagine why its happening. Are the visuals too expensive to create? Is the stress of mixing live too much to handle anymore? Maybe the average concert-goer just doesn’t care the same way that I do? Is the passion gone?

I’m just a fan and obviously can’t begin to know why the show’s format has changed so much, but I have noticed and think its for the worse. Have we seen the end of the amazing Underworld Live experience?

Anyone else feel this way?
  #2  
Old 06-08-2016, 07:29 AM
Dunwho
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Re: Underworld... live?
I agree completely with all of the above.
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  #3  
Old 06-08-2016, 09:39 AM
joethelion
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Re: Underworld... live?
yea - absolutely agree.

and it's like... it just doesn't make sense to essentially play the 'album versions' of songs

or, to bring all of the video equipment - to barely use it
  #4  
Old 06-10-2016, 01:43 AM
bazwint
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 163
Re: Underworld... live?
Couldn't agree more.

Sadly the "art" has gone. They just don't seem to enjoy the pressure of improv like they used to. Getting old... (like me)

I really enjoyed the two shows I saw this tour. But that's enough. Back in the day I'd have been trying for half a dozen.
  #5  
Old 06-10-2016, 07:43 AM
joethelion
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Re: Underworld... live?
the unfortunate thing is ... they legitimately could re-use old fragments, structure them into (or between) songs, or even add elements of other mixes into songs**, and call them "improvs" and I'd be happy

...but now, they're kinda just going 'the Prodigy' route - playing album versions, pauses between tracks...


** for example, a while back when I saw Depeche Mode, the intro to the song "Home" was the Air Version, which then transitioned into the album mix... or like how whenever they play "Never Let Me Down Again" - they incorporate the 12" version
  #6  
Old 06-10-2016, 08:06 AM
potatobroth
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Re: Underworld... live?
I struggled with even starting this thread but its been eating me up inside since when I saw them on the Barking tour.

I look at the Chemical Brothers show from a few years back and they crushed. It wasn't mixed on the fly but it had a very live and unique feel. This current Underworld tour is all start and stop, with little to no variation. All the new tracks sounded exactly like the album (I guess I can excuse these tracks), but most of the older tracks as well. When I read on these forums that the highlights for some was Juanita I thought to myself, "why?" - it was identical to the album version, felt insanely long, and with no visuals to add any punch.

Without the improv and visuals, and with the addition of stop-and-go between each track - UWLive has become a different beast. A much much less interesting beast at that.

Like joethelion said above: why bother bringing the video equipment to barely use it?

Last edited by potatobroth; 06-10-2016 at 08:41 AM.
  #7  
Old 06-11-2016, 03:31 PM
joethelion
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Re: Underworld... live?
Quote:
Originally Posted by potatobroth View Post
I struggled with even starting this thread but its been eating me up inside since when I saw them on the Barking tour.
what's funny - is that I also almost started a similar thread back around 'Barking'
but then I thought maybe I'd come off as just complaining about not getting what I wanted (know what I mean?)
  #8  
Old 06-13-2016, 06:43 AM
potatobroth
bungalow
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 2,096
Re: Underworld... live?
Quote:
Originally Posted by joethelion View Post
but then I thought maybe I'd come off as just complaining about not getting what I wanted (know what I mean?)
yuuuuup. i even worried about it getting back to the band and coming off as ungrateful. (i actually thought there'd be a lot more opinions voiced in this thread but for and against.)
  #9  
Old 06-13-2016, 09:04 PM
jetpig
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Join Date: Dec 2011
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Re: Underworld... live?
so i haven't listened to the new album, or any of the live stuff since its release as a result. That said I agree on some levels here. I had a fantastic time at the bowl show, and the energy was intense, so they've still go 'it'. That said it's REALLY odd to me how Rick was talking about the freedom his new desk gives him and how the show /had/ become a scripted thing of him just controlling lights (barking/post-barking and pre-dubno?) and yet there's not a whole lot of actual use of the live format. My understanding is that there was some fumbling at coachella weekend 2, showing that it's all still being done live, but what's the point if there's no major changes from show to show?

I wonder if they've just grown away from using the live setting as a testing and experimentation ground. They obvioiusly jam out in studio and improv there still, but it'd be nice to see a curveball more often than at the setlist on the first show of a tour.
  #10  
Old 06-14-2016, 03:25 AM
Mike
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: UK
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Re: Underworld... live?
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetpig View Post
I wonder if they've just grown away from using the live setting as a testing and experimentation ground. They obvioiusly jam out in studio and improv there still, but it'd be nice to see a curveball more often than at the setlist on the first show of a tour.
This is it. I also wish that they would fluid nature of the live shows, but I have come to accept that this will not happen. Underworld recognise that people who come to see them don't pay good money to see a band fuck around on stage anymore. They come to see a solid performance with all the hits.

R&K have already done the nostalgia in 2007/2008. With the help of Darren Price they played some memorable gigs, with a revival of some of the back catalogue, along with new bridges and improv sections. But the energy that they had playing live in the 90s was driven by creative urges to produce music and try new things (e.g. Tomato live art jam on stage, systematically recording the shows to use in the writing process). This energy did not translate into those 07/08 shows.

The new way works for them, and I am glad to say I have enjoyed seeing them in 2014, 2015 and 2016 - they sound better than ever and I am satisfied.
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