This wonderfully presented box set offers a real insight into the range, depth and durability of John Cale's back catalogue.
Of the Reed-Cale duo, Lou Reed has been in the limelight for a long while. Cale has not produced the blockbuster album to match Reed's Trasformer. But steadily, quietly, Cale has put together an impressive back catalogue allowing him to fill two full CDs of live tracks with more spilling over into the DVD. And still you're left wondering how so many classics were left out.
In terms of the tracks, Cale shows a clear passion for the Helen of Troy album and the little known Sabotage album. Both are mined heavily for tracks. But these live tracks aren't straight lifts. My personal favourite, Mercenaries, is no longer a rocky, screamy track. It is slow, hypnotic and menacing. Rosegarden Funeral of Sores, too, as it's never been heard before. And Femme Fatale seems to have a new beat altogether. Some of the DVD tracks are splendid, with Heartbreak Hotel delivered as a terrifying avant garde white noise track. Graveldrive - a new one on me - was pure madness. But at the same time, Cale is able to soften things down for Style It Takes and Hanky Panky Nohow.
I'm dorry Cale didn't find space for some of his 1980s material - from Music for a New Society; Caribbean Sunset and, especially, Artificial Intelligence. But then again, what would you have left out?
This is a lavish presentation - at a giveaway price right now - and will leave you wanting more. If only CDs did encores.