It's all in the Brochure
This CD documents Wire's grand return at Royal Festival Hall on February 26, 2000. Along with about half of Wire's set from the night, some tracks from 'guests' also make an appearance. The best of these is Immersion's collection of ambient textures, shifting bass and subtle, yet piercing noises. He Said's piece makes the transition to CD rather less well, and it seems like the live performance has been heavily distorted for some reason. The third act, DJxDJ, was something of a failure at Royal Festival Hall, but the abridged version included here actually works rather well, merging various sound loops from Wire's '80s output.
By and large the selection of de-facto Wire tracks contains the best moments from the night. The undisputed highlight of the disc is Another the Letter with Advantage in Height coming a close second. Both are far more powerful than their album counterparts, the former starting with shrill feedback before the elements come in one by one, like clockwork. Advantage... is similarly tight, pruned from the studio version to good effect.
The sound quality is generally okay, although it could be better. Some effort has gone into cleaning up the original sound source and in some cases this works, especially with Silk Skin Paws, which sounds like a studio track. At other times it falls a little flat, notably with the weak drums in Boiling Boy, the bass drum sounding like something from an '80s rhythm box. Each track is segued via amusingly faked cheering, presumably culled from the night.
It's all in the Brochure has its problems, but these are mostly outweighed by the quality of the material. One might question the value of purchasing an item that is mostly composed from pieces available on studio releases, but that would be missing the point. This is one of the few Wire live releases that actually exists and several of the tracks are different enough to pass as new pieces in their own right.
Those that were there on the night will find this a great keepsake and if you missed Wire's jaunt around the UK and USA during 2000 then you should pick up a copy if only to see what the band is up to these days.
Craig Grannell (June, 2000)