The above title of course paraphrases the late John Peel's much cited appraisal of the Mighty Fall and is certainly true in respect of this particularly hefty slice of revisionism. This five disc collection is perhaps only essential to the completist, when you consider that the set lists for each of the five live shows archived here are virtually the same. That said, to cast this observation as a criticism is, to some extent, to miss the point of the Fall. Again in deference to Peel, with the Fall you're never quite sure what you're going to get. Having attended more Fall gigs over the years than I care to mention, there is something uniquely life affirming about each experience. Even on the odd occasion when Mark E's commitment to the cause does not match that of his audience and he slopes off stage after 20 minutes, it's always something a little bit special. The multifarious incarnations of the band have accompanied me throughout life to the extent that upon hearing the words "Good evening, we are the Fall", it feels like home. When Smith begins his familiar tinkering with the amps, it's like pulling on a pair of comfy old slippers! All of which brings us to this live bootleg set comprising selected shows from the band's European and US tours in 2001. So what if running orders replicate themselves over the course of some five and a half hours, each gig is an entity unto itself. Save the occasional lacklustre performance, the band are in blistering form and the episodic between-song twitterings from Smith always manage to elicit a smile. The quality of the recordings (compared with that of some earlier live retreads) is creditable enough, if a little murky in places. Nevertheless, crank up the volume (neighbours permitting), close yer eyes and you're very nearly in the crowd (numbering about nine if the Haarlem show is anything to go by!).
With the Fall, there's never been room for ambivalence. You either adore them or abhor them. If you're in the former camp, it's unlikely you'll be disappointed with this. As Daryl Easlea states in his sleevenotes, the Fall are an English institution but they won't be around for ever. When the end finally comes and despite Mark E Smith's contempt for nostalgia, it may be documents such as this that will help to remind us.