Buzzcocks - Live in Hamburg (1981)

Back to my Buzzcocks fixation with this incredibly great concert recorded in Hamburg on the 23rd January 1981, i.e. only few weeks before the band gave up (at least Pete Shelley was the main responsible for that but United Artists was no more supporting so they hadn't enough money to go on). Great because the band has here more energy and skill that he has ever had, even in its punk days. They play fast (all the versions are played faster than in studio and even than in previous live versions) and furious (aggressivity is at its summum). They are no more the poppy side of punk and didn't take the new wave path as so many of their pairs (unfortunately Pete Shelley would take it some months later). They are dark, rough and powerfully melancholic. And above all, the audience is great, very responsive and enthusiastic. Not the kind of ones they met in the US or in the UK anymore. But Germany was always a land of welcome for musicians and bands after their peak of success and is more faithful than most of their original countries (Nikki Sudden and Kevin Coyne among others found refugees there). But back to Buzzcocks. The setlist mainly consists of their main hits but they play 4 songs of their splendid three part-singles (Diggle's "Why She's A Girl From The Chainstore" and "Airwaves Dream" and Shelley's "Strange Thing" and "What Do You Know?") released during the previous autumn (and recently up on FS). Surely their failure precluded them to perform all of them during concerts (I would have loved to hear "Are Everything" and the genius "Running Free" too). And there is a live (and stunning) version of "I Believe" which is not so frequent. This concert was filmed and provided a live DVD (see the Youtube capture below) that I used to make the cover sleeve, but it's great to be able to listen to it without the image too. Surely one of the best live testimony of the band and one of the greatest live capture ever. The sound quality is quite correct. I didn't separate the songs since this kind of thing must be listened in its continuity. Catch this gem here.

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