on 24 October 2006
I make no bones about the fact that I'm a hardcore Hicks fan. For the newcomer, he's a very dark, intelligent comedian who's not afraid to say what he thinks, no matter who might be offended. Bad language abounds, but it seems perversely appropriate in many cases. Sadly he died in the early 90's, so his material focuses on a relatively narrow band of (largely American) social and political history (conspiracy theorists will enjoy his musings on JFK).
As for this CD, the downside is that a substantial amount of the material has been heard on many of his other CDs (in particular "Shock and Awe", which is the previous, abridged release of this show in Oxford, 1992). However, this release is a two-disk, unedited recording of that performance and there are some genuinely funny and insightful moments which have not been heard before.
My advice for newcomers is get this CD if you want the full Hicks experience which includes the sort of ramblings that rarely make most comedy releases. If you like your delivery short and snappy, get "Shock and Awe". For Hicks fanatics, get this CD to hear Bill at his most relaxed whilst in the company of an appreciative and responsive audience, and savour his classic material intermingled with some genuinely clever improvisation which reveals yet more depth to the legend. You will not be disappointed.
on 26 August 2007
First of all this is the same concert that was previously released as 'Shock & Awe', with a hefty chunk (about an hour by my count) of extra material that was not on 'Shock & Awe' due to it being a very poor quality recording and only recently digitally tuned up - much like what they did for the DVD of 'Sane Man'. So if you own 'Shock & Awe' this is repetitive but the extra material makes it well worth it, in particular an extended twenty minutes of rant on the subject of drugs/music/etc is fantastic.
If you're new to Bill Hicks this is a good starting point, a concert in Oxford (Hicks got better reception here than in the states and it really shows in their reactions and that he's a lot more playful with them) in 1992 just after Bush Sr lost to Clinton and the LA riots were fresh in the world's memory, needless to say both get a lot of time in the concert. So, for the newcomers out there Bill Hicks was a revolutionary and hilarious political stand-up comic whose material will offend you if you're easily offended and quite possibly if you aren't. He was a blindingly intelligent, highly subversive, relentless and often aggressive act who has been dead over a decade (he died tragically young aged 32 from pancreatic cancer) and yet is still relevant and hilarious because his targets were institutions and attitudes that still exist today and haven't changed a bit. I'd highly recommend you buy this if you're new to Hicks because it's absolutely typical of his material, is one of the longest recordings out there and is one of his funniest shows.
For seasoned Hicks fans this is an essential, even if you own 'Shock & Awe' this will have you in stitches and is guaranteed to cause asthma attacks, so much of the material on this recording isn't on any other I can find and you'll definitely enjoy it.
What is it about Bill Hicks that makes him so unique? It is said that the best comedy works on several layers, and Hicks' definitely does, but one of those layers is not funny. There's actually a deeper, more serious message to his material that places him above almost any comedian before or since. What makes Hicks special is that he wanted to make people laugh and also make them think at the same time, and to do it without separating the two, well this record will make you laugh (also possibly cry) and think in equal measure. The message is angry, it's subversive, but it's ultimately a message of love and hope.
Bill Hicks: how to affirm the sanctity of human life and wet yourself laughing in one sitting.
Recorded in Oxford, England (and with the material missing from Shock and Awe) this CD is another gem showing Bill at his funniest. This has no new material, but shows how he adapted his act for different audiences and how the English react to his wit and humour. I love it that he can make you laugh and open your eyes wide to the irony in life at the same time. His political jokes are sharp and witty and his life observations are not only true, but hilarious. The jokes about the gulf war and George Bush are especially funny and pertinent taking into account modern developments. Sadly the 'Goat Boy' jokes go on a touch too long and wear a bit thin, but that's a minor fault. This isn't as caustic as Rant in E-Minor, or as fresh as Dangerous, but it is a great album regardless. Not necessarily one to share with your mum, but one to share with all your friends, family and colleagues and as many people as possible!!! Simply brilliant.
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on 1 March 2012
Bill Hicks (1961-1994) had a style of interaction and delivery that made him more than a comedian, and raised his profound insights of life to the level of philosophy. He doesn't just entertain, he shares his being with you. This performance was recorded on the 11th of November, 1992, at the Oxford Playhouse, England. Just fifteen months later he died from pancreatic cancer. This particular night, however, he was at the top of his game, and performing like a world class comic genius.
This 2 CD set was released in 2003 and carries the full title of 'Bill Hicks Salvation - Oxford November 11, 1992.' An edited version of this performance is also available entitled 'Shock and Awe - Live At The Oxford Playhouse 11.11.92.' The inner-sleeve of the CD cover contains eight very positive press reports about Hicks' performances from University Student nespapers, The Irish and Birmingham posts, and The List (Scotland). Following these is a quote from Bill Hicks himself; 'We could still evolve - even in the elventh hour. If I can stop smoking, anything is possible.'
1) Intro. 2) Ding Dong. 3) Puppet People. 4) Kennedy & The Warren Commission. 5) Smoking. 6) Polls. 7) Dick Jokes. 8) News/Movies/Religion.
1) Religion/Drugs. 2) Film. 3) Kids. 4) Fries. 5) Backed Up. 8) Sleep & The Message.
The combined running time for both these discs is just under two hours in length. This a pure Bill Hicks performance with an audience who actually understands where he is coming from, and encouraging him at every turn. There is a photograph of Bills Hicks on the inner sleeve stood outside of Oxford University. Behind the second disc is the following explanation of the title of this album:
'Oxford University's Motto is Dominus Illuminatio Mae Latin for "The Lord is my Light" from the beginning of Psalm 27, which continues with "and my Salvation." Since this recording was made at Oxford and since Bill tried so hard to help liberate people from ignorance and illusion, the chosen title is Salvation.'
Much of the wisdom he conveys is as valid today as it was then - and Hicks always offers the best of criticism for the political and military behaviour of the country that he emerged from - the USA. Priceless...
on 26 August 2011
I should begin with an admission. I was in the audience for this which makes this review partisan. That said, I had no concept of Bill Hicks at the time and was only there because a boyfriend dragged me along. I haven't listened to a recording of it since.
The first thing that struck me - other than how much more jaw ached from laughing - is how prescient Bill Hicks was. All the material about Bush and the evangelical right is as valid today as it was in 1992, if not more so. I can't imagine what he would have made of contemporary America with the so-called 'War on Terror' and Pop Idol etc. Sarah Palin would be an entire show!
Beyond the actual content, Bill's skill is in telling highly visual jokes. One can picture the vignettes, such as the scene with Jack Palance ('Pick up the gun') or grammy with Chuck Norris. His use of the microphone to make sounds - the ubiquitous gun shots, the monkeys - is inspiration itself!
Obviously not all the material works, though I'm sure this is a personal matter. I for one am less interested when he's talking about porn or drugs than the political stuff. Partisan or not, I do have a few criticism. There are quite a lot of visual gags that are dependent on Bill's facial expressions; obviously these don't work in this format. He also uses a strange Robin Williamesque British accent. And at 1 hour and 50 mins it's just not long enough! (As an aside, I'm sure the night I saw him, the show was longer. I seem to recall a whole section on gun control.)
Nevertheless, this is some of the finest, funniest, most savage stand-up comedy you will ever hear. If you've never heard the genius that is Bill Hicks, you should start here; if you know this show already, it's time to reacquaint yourself.
It's funny with Bill Hicks how you go through phases of loving him & loathing him. At the moment, I'm just starting a love phase and this CD (which I thought was crude, puerile rubbish) has been overturned in my estimation.
Yes, there is a lot of Goat-Boy routines and his rather disturbing 'Satan's c.ck' routines, but these are mostly on the second CD & you can forgive the man (as he'd just given up cigarettes and hadn't been laid in 3 years).
The contents of the CD are very interesting as it is a full run-through of his entire act. Flying Saucer Tour Vol. 1 is the only thing comparable, but this is better as:
a) The audience is more lively and engaged.
b) The material is more advanced and wittier.
It includes the usual themes of drugs, pron, the LA riots, politics and Christianity, but has several interesting snippets that aren't available on the compilations he did later. For example, Bush being voted out is covered in great depth, along with material about the Gulf War (e.g. Saddam Hussein to the Arms Dealer who sold him Scuds: "I don't think you understood me when I said 'I need a weapon I can *aim*!'")
And the best thing is there is lots of material where he takes the rip out of England (which I always think is his best stuff). He takes on Snooker (on all 4 channels as it seemed in the 90's), our 'crime' ("Yesterday some Hooligans knocked over a Dustbin in Shaftesbury!") and the fact that we have Chips with everything ("I saw a Hooker offering "Head & Chips" in London; You haven't had good head unless you have a Piping-hot plate of fries with it!")
That being said, there are bits to avoid and Hicks seems to run out of steam in CD2. You also may get fed up with all the stuff you've heard before (e.g. Christians & Crosses), although thank God he spins the material slightly differently each time.
All in all, this CD is worth having and far from being a waste of time. It is one of only two CD's where the content hasn't been edited, abridged or played with and so offers the nearest approximation to a Bill Hicks gig outside of the DVD Totally Bill Hicks.
Incidentally, am I alone in hoping that Mr Hicks struck a 'cord' with some people at the concert?
Even now, I'm hoping that Bill's insistence that women should "f artists" bore fruit at this particular show & that maybe there is now a 17 year old novice-comedian playing Jongleurs in Oxford (who was born of a single mother and wears a curious goatee beard). Maybe Children aren't so bad after all...
P.S. Just to make it clear - this isn't the actual material for Rant in E-Minor (which was taken from several performances), but it is essentially the same routines you'd find on there.
on 2 December 2011
I'll limit this to just a few words as that's all that's needed. A chance to hear Bill at his best, his greatest, unedited and complete, simply breath taking. Satire this is not, it's pure observation, bitter, sweet, acrid, beautiful. Even twenty years on his words are perhaps more relevant today than they were when spoken. The man was so ahead of his time it's no real wonder he didn't get the plaudits he so deserved before his tragic and untimely death. It's a true credit to a geneius that we're still laughing, crying and wondering what he would make of society today. How can I sum this performance up...... BRILLIANT...... Buy it and spread the word, Bill deserves it !!!!!!!
on 27 November 2015
I saw Bill on this tour. Great to hear it again. Still a genius.