"...makes the Stooges' METALLIC K.O. seem like a Phish jam."
Nicholas S. Blakey | Jamaica Plain, MA USA | 08/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The single best line ever written about Wire's DOCUMENT AND EYEWITNESS comes from an article A.D. Amorosi wrote for MAGNET magazine (August/September 2000 issue): "...a violent live album that makes the Stooges' METALLIC KO seem like a Phish jam." And while one can hear the bottles being thrown on this album as well (literally: on "Instrumental (Thrown Bottle)"), unfortunately Flipper tactics had not yet come into their own so Wire chose to throw dada instead at their dense and impatient audience. Amid screams for PINK FLAG material, the audience never once allow Wire to demonstrate their amazing chameleon-like capability to never do exactly the same thing twice (like Coil and Madonna after them). Read: they never got it. This CD is split into four parts: part one is a relatively calm excerpt recorded live in London in July 1979 performing tracks from what ultimately would have been the follow-up to 154 but which never happened. The opening sonic slaughter of "Go Ahead" (which absolutely destroys the studio version) has to be heard to be believed, drumming mistakes and all. Part two is an excellent version of "Heartbeat" performed in Montreux when Wire opened for Roxy Music (sort of like when Prince opened for The Rolling Stones), much to the chagrin of Roxy's audience. Listen for the whistling. Part three is an excerpt of Wire's last concert for five years: The Electric Ballroom in London on 29/2/80, opened by D.A.F. (and documented by them on DIE KLEINEN UND DIE BOSEN, also on Mute) who were at a starvation-amphetamine meltdown peak. Wire perform an avante-garde/dada performance perfectique, goading the audience with their music and sarcasm, not really indicating if they mean any of it or not. An examination of this document by headphones reveals the absolute apall of the audience, who came to hear "12XU" (which Wire gratefully disembowel) and not the outre art-attack of such pieces as "ZEGK HOQP". By the end, the concert boils down to merely being one big pissing contest. Brilliant and exceptional. Part four is the band's last, posthumous single ("Our Swimmer" b/w the exceptional "Midnight Bahnhof Cafe") added as a bonus and near pre-cursor to what was to come in 1986 with SNAKEDRILL (see "A Serious of Snakes" for the link, "Drill" for the mood). A worthwhile purchase for the casual fan and an absolute must for the die-hard."
B. Maloney | 07/14/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This album is harsh, no bones about it. You need to be an extreme Wire fan or a record collector to have any need for this album. As mentioned the 12XU is all cut up, I think Wire was having the [heart] out of all the louder, faster, harder wankers that can't digest anything less than a overplayed anthem - which I thought was brilliant. "Eel Sang Lino", "Our Swimmer" & "Witness to the Fact" seem to have had the makings of solid songs. Unfortunatly the recording & performance is too [messed] to save the cuts - it's too bad they never did those songs in the studio. The 'Heartbeat' cut is brilliant, but the studio version on Chairs Missing still wins out.Overall this album is a tosser, unless your a Wire nut pass it up."