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Friday, January 3, 2014

Bauhaus: Rest In Peace: The Final Concert

BAUHAUS: REST IN PEACE: THE FINAL CONCERT (1983 / 1992)

1) Burning From The Inside; 2) In Fear Of Fear; 3) Terror Couple Kill Colonel; 4) The Spy In The Cab; 5) King­dom's Coming; 6) She's In Parties; 7) Antonin Artaud; 8) King Volcano; 9) Passion Of Lovers; 10) Slice Of Life; 11) In Heaven; 12) Dancing; 13) Hollow Hills; 14) Stigmata Martyr; 15) Kick In The Eye; 16) Dark Entries; 17) Double Dare; 18) In The Flat Field; 19) Boys; 20) God In An Alcove; 21) Hair Of The Dog; 22) Bela Lugosi's Dead.

This certainly cannot be a long review, since most of what needs to be said about the live avatar of Bauhaus has already been squeezed out for the review of Press The Eject... Formal info is as follows: Rest In Peace is a faithful recording of Bauhaus' last concert, played at the Hammer­smith Palais in London on July 5, 1983, one week prior to the official release of Burning From The Inside and fifteen years before all four members would play again. The show itself, al­though captured on tape, remained in the vaults for almost a decade, before it was finally released on two CDs in 1992 — and the appropriate title «rest in peace» actually reproduces the words of David J, spoken at the very end of the show, once the final echoes of ʽBela Lugosiʼ have died down: most of the fans present, unaware of the band's suicidal plans, never figured out what that properly meant until it was too late.

The large delay between recording and release is understandable: first, it seemed pointless at the time to put out two live albums in such a brief time interval, and second, the sound quality is highly questionable — almost as if they were taping this as a personal memento rather than a po­tential commercial product or even historical document. Studio or live, Bauhaus is one of those bands that draws its power from atmosphere and sonic nuances rather than particular chord changes, so listening to a poor-sound-quality Bauhaus album falls in the same category as wat­ching a black-and-white version of Snow White. For those who still have all the hits ringing and reverberating in their ears, subconscious will do the trick and restore the missing colors, but God forbid you ever fall upon Rest In Peace as your introduction to the band.

The setlist is relatively predictable: in the first part, the band largely concentrates on recent mate­rial from the still-unreleased Burning, and later on, they fall back upon the classics with a ven­geance — the encore is almost half an hour long, reminding us of just how fruitful the short ca­reer of Bauhaus was in the first place, if they need so much time to properly summarize it. On the other hand, they do need some extra time to include a few rarities: the distorted post-punk-rocker ʽBoysʼ (originally the B-side to ʽBela Lugosi's Deadʼ) and, oddest of all, a prayer-style, nearly accappella (accompanied only by a thin pseudo-church organ melody) rendition of David Lynch's ʽIn Heavenʼ from Eraserhead — come to think of it, Eraserhead and Bauhaus must have come out of the same womb, even if it took Murphy and Ash several years to realize that ("we got the words wrong", Murphy admits in the middle of the performance, which must imply they did not have too much time learning them).

Altogether, the show was certainly done on the level, but the wooden sound quality does drag it down, and the relative lack of surprises means that even hardcore fans will probably not want to sit through the whole thing more than once. Unless, that is, the hardcore fan should happen to be a major specific admirer of Burning From The Inside — this is the only live Bauhaus album where you are going to get so many non-Murphy-targeted songs in one place (this covers most of the difference from the post-reunion Gotham performance). For me, however, that's a minus.

Check "Rest In Peace" (CD) on Amazon

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