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The Roxy, Boston, USA (May 12, 2000)

Wire love noise. In fact, the band hates the absence of it even more. The show was late in starting, due to a few faulty mikes. That didn't seem to bother the band, let alone the audience. While this was being remedied, the ambient music rushed through. I've no idea if it was actually Wire, or even Wire related, but it had touches of Bastard, Dome, and Insiding floating about. Bruce and Colin even popped out on stage a bit to help set up. Bruce, ever the tech wizard, made sure all was afloat before the band proper came out, sans any introduction and jumped immediately into Pink Flag.

This writer just shivered... they were back once again and still going strong. Mostly taking material from their first three albums and Ideal Copy/Bell is a Cup..., the set was longer than it seemed (nine songs, two encores) and quite a delight.

As mentioned, they hate the absence of noise. In between songs, either Bruce or Colin strummed their guitars, effects at the ready. After a smooth rendition of Silk Skin Paws, they hit their first high with an incredible version of Boiling Boy. It was reminiscent of the IBTABA version while maintaining the structure of the Bell Is a Cup... version—it grew from gentle strumming to its intense peak then back down again.

The band streamed through a handful of early songs (Another the Letter, He Knows, Mercy), even offering a quick call-response with Lowdown (Colin was quite amused by that). A frenzied reading of Advantage in Height saw everyone, band and audience alike, grooving to a second peak that evening. A full rendering of 40 Versions, though a little fast, brought everyone to the conclusion that these four men were still at the top of their craft and quite enjoying it.

Encores for the night were obvious: a jesting and jerky 12XU and the aural assault of Drill. The last song offered amazing drumming from Robert, hammering bass from Lewis, an interesting display of different guitar effects by Colin and all of it anchored by Bruce.

Through all the feedback (intentional or not), dissonant melodies combining, and the wonderfully bent wordplay, Wire is back. They haven't missed a beat and their noise still inspires the best of us.

Set list: Pink Flag, Silk Skin Paws, Boiling Boy, Lowdown, Advantage in Height, He Knows, 40 Versions, Another the Letter, Mercy.

Encore: 12XU, Drill.

Jon Chaisson

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