Echo Lounge, Atlanta, USA (September 21, 2002)
I never thought that Wire would make new music; I never thought that they would ever visit Atlanta; and, most importantly, I never thought that they would rock as hard as this. I knew before the gig that Wire would concentrate on new material, as I had read a few superb Wire articles in local Atlanta newspapers over the past week; this makes perfect sense to me because I've always pictured Wire as a band that always looks forward instead of resting on the past. Having purchased Read & Burn 01 on its week of release, I was looking forward to hearing the 'third phase' of Wire onstage.
99.9 was a good opener and I enjoyed the way that Newman took stage alone and sang to the pre-recorded music; this opener achieved a fine 'calm before the storm' effect. Thereafter, Spent and Raft Ants provided intensity in the tight confines of Echo Lounge.
Material from Read & Burn 01 was also spot-on: Germ Ship, The Agfers of Kodack, and I Don't Understand were the ones that really stood out—The Agfers of Kodack, in particular. The studio recording is lightning fast, like a lightweight boxer darting around the ring. The on-stage performance had more of a crunch, lumbering like a bulldozer from hell, while Lewis sang in a menacing tone.
The two encores were the stuff of classic concert memories. When Wire played Advantage In Height, my mind went blank as to its name. My excuse: I only expected to hear new material, and certainly didn't expect anything from The Ideal Copy! Reuters was killer on-stage, the menacing bassline at the conclusion of the song sounding better than ever. Lowdown and Pink Flag rocked—a perfect way to end the night.
This was a classic show. Colin Newman's menacingly calm vocals, Grey's thundering percussion fought for attention with Lewis's intense performance. As always, Gilbert played to the side of the stage, like an anonymous guitar technician. The whole package rocked.
Photography: David Hunter