Catalog # SAB 327/328/329
Release Year 2008
3CD Length 78:21 / 74:55 / 78:05
Date/Venue Various O2 Arena, London, 2007
Source Audience Recordings
Quality EX- / EX
Fink's Comments (rates this release 4.75/5.0)
A nice 3CD set documenting the entire 31st August 2007 main show with various highlights from other main shows of the London Earth Tour stint. The 31st August 2007 recording is very decent and I'd happily grade it as a solid EX- recording with a mostly unobtrusive audience level. They are audible throughout but only intermittently get in the way of the recording, although a certain screaming female does manage to make herself heard throughout and she's at her most vocal during the quiet keyboard/piano segment and during 'Kiss'. The show is also circulating on the O2verload release 'For Your Memories - 21 Nights In London Vol. 13' as a different, impressive enough audience recording, however this Sabotage release is superior due to the recording being clearer and more powerful - the O2verload release is great, but the recording pales slightly in comparison to this one.
All that said, this isn't a phenomenal recording by any means and it's questionable whether it deserves to be on a pressed release which people have paid for as there are superior recordings circulating from other shows - but it is what it is. The show itself contains a few extremely rare performances, which I guess slightly justify it being a pressed release. An unusual main show performance of the INXS track 'What You Need' adds a hard-edge to the first half of the show, matched by the usual excellence of 'U Got The Look'. The highlights of the first half of the show really come during the piano segment with the only live vocal performance of the 1992 outtake 'A 1,000 Hugs And Kisses', and it's a lengthy 2 verse & chorus performance. It's matched in excellence by a stunning almost full length 'Sometimes It Snows In April' as opposed to the heavily shortened version normally performed, with the first half of the show brought to an end by one of the longer version of 'Purple Rain' of the tour due to various break-downs throughout the performance. The second half of the show is again highly enjoyable, but not exactly taxing - 'Crazy' is very short in comparison to many other performances, and the "sampler" set isn't one of the longer or more interesting of the London stay. Still, there's more than enough quality from this show to make it appealing and the fact the quality is better than the previous O2verload version is reason enough to praise it.
The remainder of Disc 2 features "highlights" from various other main shows in August & September and again they are extremely respectable recordings (obviously excluding the material made available via 3121.com which is a stunning soundboard), none of which would fall below EX- quality.....none of which except the 2 minute press conference to announce the London residency which is appalling quality - although as recording equipment was banned, it's perhaps a nice little oddity, no matter the quality. Disc 3 begins with a portion of the 14th August main show and it may very well be the best quality recording on this set - a really impressive, clear audience recording. The following highlights from both 18th August & 1st September shows are both impressive and above any criticism, however the closing two highlights from 4th August and 24th August are average at best, and the 8 minutes from the 4th August show sounds especially out of place on a set with such other high quality recordings - a very strange inclusion to say the least which would have been better left off all together. Small complaints aside, this is still a very good product containing some of the better quality recordings of the London main shows.
Now, onto the artwork and the cover - oh, the cover. I have to give credit where it's due and that's one of the most stand-out front covers I have seen for a long time - love it. The booklet contains a review of the show by Sabotage, again deserving of a thumbs-up, however they get a thumbs-down for letting their ego take over with the quote (explaining why the circulating recordings of the London shows are not up to their high standards) "...most fans are either lacking professional equipment or attitude or experience - or even a combination of these.". Cheeky fuckers. Overall I really like this release as it contains a vast array of material played at the main shows, presented in (mostly) excellent quality. They have chosen to include one of the more enjoyable main shows, and the added highlights include a number of genuinely rare performances. Sure, there are a few omissions (no killer live version of '3121' is included, nor the OTT live 'Planet Earth'), however what is here spans the 3 discs well and it's manages to steer clear of being repetitive.