Live in New York City 9/14/07
A review by Carl Noone Jr. www.hi-noone.com
"Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy..." repeats the backing vocal
track of Underworld’s stellar hit "Pearl’s Girl";
a fitting description for this wild yet incredibly powerful performance
in front of a capacity crowd on Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield
Summer Stage. From the opening hypnotic strains of "Luetin"
followed by one of my personal favorites "New Train" and
all the way through their two-hour-plus set, Underworld was nothing
but spectacular during a show that gave New Yorkers everything they
waited five long years to receive. Lee Burridge later asked me jokingly
during the height of the show, "Just a tad spooky, eh mate?"
"More powerful than drugs," I responded, with "high-fives"
and laughter flying in response.
Karl Hyde took center stage, draped in sequins and a white Gibson
Les Paul guitar. Rick Smith was tucked neatly behind his glasses
and a wall of equipment, while opening DJ and "third member"
James Holden assisted throughout, scrambling around the stage with
his headphone cord dragging behind, poking, prodding, and endlessly
twiddling the knobs of the L-shaped bank of computers and samplers.
The stage production was a virtual color-filled bombardment of
visual weapons that ranged from up-close and comical video footage
of Hyde and Smith to the use of brightly-colored, inflatable tubes
facing in all directions that danced and blinked like strobes in
unison to the beat of the music. A single sliver of rainbow lights
twinkled to and fro across the bottom of the massive screen, at
points casting huge shadows of Hyde in the background. The depth
and clarity of the sound was brilliant, as expected, and I found
absolutely nothing to disappoint.
Stepping towards the end of the stage to perform "Crocodile",
(the third song of a perfectly programmed set list) Hyde easily
took command of the crowd. Bathed in a green glow and occasional
hand-held spotlight, he charmed the masses as he weaved and bobbed,
becoming the "King of Snake" as we were the cobras languishing
in the basket, waiting to be unleashed. Ending the set with a downright
beautiful song, "Jumbo" left smiles on everyone’s
faces. Even more emotive in a live setting than on CD, Underworld
miraculously evoked the mayhem-ish feelings of rave days gone by,
somehow managing to bring back that 10am feeling before the bells
even chimed 10pm!
New York City 9/14/07
2. New Train
4. Pearl’s Girl
5. Biro the Leggy
6. Two Months Off
8. Glam Bucket
9. Rez / Cowgirl
10. Born Slippy Nuxx
11. King of Snake