This is a customized remix of one of the best live documents of the classic Magazine lineup that included guitarist/composer/occasional-sax-player John McGeoch. By the time they toured in 1980, and recorded their live album “Play,” McGeoch was gone.
In addition to McGeoch’s presence, what I like about this recording/show is the aggressive crunch, which is lacking in nearly all of the (scant) other 1978-1979 recordings that exist in good fidelity. Instead of coming across as a mannered post-punk/proto-synth-band, they hit with the punch of punk - bass, guitar, keyboards, drums, and Howard Devoto all coming for your ears in equal measure.
The Boston ’79 recording is probably not a complete set list, but it’s close. I’m guessing the ultimate source was an FM broadcast.
The proximate source of the version presented here is the early 1980s vinyl bootleg “Back to Nature,” which I believe remains the only source for the show. The raw LP contains quite a bit of distortion, but when I scrutinized it, I discovered that it was a mono recording, and that the distortion was almost entirely in one channel.
The customized version presented here is therefore the clean vinyl channel doubled to two-channel mono for the digital rip, with some mild EQ applied. Without the noisy channel, the recording really stands up.
- My Tulpa
- Give Me Everything
- Definitive Gaze
- Back to Nature
- The Light Pours Out of Me
- I Love You Big Dummy
- Thank You
- My Mind Ain’t So Open
For the curious, I’ve compiled a Spotify playlist of 1978-1979 live performances of songs that do not appear on the Boston ’79 tape. The first three - released as 12-inch b-sides in 1980 (but recorded earlier) - are the sonic peak of available McGeogh-era recordings, including the definitive version of “20 Years Ago.” The additional tracks come from the other official sources, all of which I find less compelling than the Boston tape - but great to hear the extra songs live.