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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 30 October 2001
I have, once or twice, been tempted to write a review of a CD that I've really enjoyed. However, until "Play", I've never really bothered. This should attest to the sheer quality of Magazine's live CD.
It has been said that "It's Alive" by the Ramones (and I own it) is one of the greatest live albums of all time. It is a damn fine release; but having heard "Play", I'd have to relegate it to the status of Second Greatest live Album of all time.
Essentially, Magazine's songs transfer absolutely fantastically to a live setting. The quality of this recording helps a great deal, and what you get is an album that is eminently listenable in terms of sound, but also retains the more energetic side of live performance.
As the first reviewer missed "Shot by Both Sides", so I regret that the album didn't give me the chance to hear how well "Back to Nature" and "Motorcade" worked in a live environment. This is no bad thing; my regret that these two songs were not played simply attests to the great quality of those that were on the set-list.
Again in concurrence with the initial reviewer, I would recommend this album mainly to established Magazine fans, as the greatest pleasures do come in hearing my favourites translated into a live environment. Nevertheless, it's a brilliant album.
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on 9 September 2009
This disk is interesting as it restores some missing tracks from the original Play concert recorded in Australia in 1980 - namely Feed the Enemy & Shot by Both Sides. I suspect this still isn't the full concert as its still considerably shorter than the RockPalast video filmed on the same tour. The production on these two songs isn't quite as good as the rest of the disk as it probably didn't get as much post production work and, to be honest, the original release didn't suffer from not having them on it. Still interesting to hear them though. Unlike the other reviewer, the rest of the disk sounds absolutely fine to me.

The second disk is an earlier recording featuring John McGeoch and Martin Jackson. It was obviously not recorded with the intention of being a full standalone release but the quality is still excellent. It's a desk recording is probably similar quality to the BBC Live concert CD. This disk is all Real Life period material plus some of the earlier singles. It's a fairly raw recording but still sounds absolutely fine to me - better than some of the live stuff on Live and Intermittent. Barry Adamsons bass sounds fine to me, it is thinner than the bass sound on Play but this was probably recorded on his old Gibson or Rickenbacker rather than his later Ovation bass which had a much fuller sound and had more effects on it.

The liner notes include the lyrics to most songs but nothing else different from the original Play album

If you are a fan, you'll buy this and I doubt you'll be disappointed - it takes a great live album that I've always loved and made it better with some real rarities. It's certainly far better than a one-star review.
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on 31 October 2009
The expanded release of the exceptional live album 'Play' is a joyful extension to its original 1980 incarnation. A record of the band's performance in Melbourne earlier that year, it showcased Magazine's musicality, versatility and live presence. In 'Play +', it becomes a 2CD set, the first featuring 2 additional tracks from Melbourne to those on the original LP release ('Feed the Enemy' and the iconic 'Shot by Both Sides'), the second featuring the July 1978 performance in the Lesser Free Trade Hall of their hometown, Manchester. The second disc is a rare live document of earlier songs, but critically features their keynote guitarist John McGeoch, a stalwart of The Armoury Show and Siouxsie & the Banshees. By the time of the Melbourne recordings, McGeoch had left Magazine, his place being taken on that tour by Robin Simon, the excellent guitarist on (arguably - perhaps) Ultravox's greatest album, Systems of Romance.

The extended Melbourne CD is, of course, a very different experience to the original LP - it seems unusual not to have Devoto intone 'and now, 3 little words' at the start of the album, or have the lush keyboard swirl of 'Parade' herald the fade in of side 2. But it extends and completes our vicarious enjoyment of the show. The additional Manchester disc fills a gap in the live documentation of the band, capturing guitarist John McGeoch as part of the Magazine live experience.

The 2009 release of 'Play +' is no doubt intended to coincide with Magazine's reformation. McGeoch sadly having died 5 years earlier, his place is this time taken by Noko for live concerts as fresh as though Magazine had never left, including a stunning series of performances on Jools Hollands' 'Later...' and their night at the BBC's Electric Proms in the Roundhouse. For a slice of that to see how 30 years doesn't have to age a band's live performance at all, you can get the Live DVD Magazine - Real Life&Thereafter:In Concert Manchester 02/09 [DVD] [2009] [Region 1] [NTSC], also from Amazon.
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on 24 May 2004
Live albums... are usually,if you're honest,a bit disappointing,a bit hollow,if you're honest, a bit dead.Not this one daddio! "Play" grabs you from the start with a compelling "Give Me Everything" and doesn't let go until the gracefully deranged finale of "Definitive Gaze".The boys are firing on all cylinders tonight,Dave Formula's opulent keyboards,Barry Adamson's liquid basslines and John Doyle's precision drumming providing Howard Devoto with a looser canvas to display his wares.Despite no John McGeogh,who was off being a Banshee,Robin Simon(ex Ultravox!-note the exclamation mark,no Ure here) plays an absolute blinder from start to finish and if you didn't know better,it could be McGeogh.But hey I'm rambling now,most of you will know or heard of the studio albums ,maybe it's time to play "Play"-geddit! You should.
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on 4 April 2007
...and the words are 'Buy this CD'.

Devoto is the overlooked genius of the Manchester post punk scene, and this album is fine testimony to his skill as a writer of great originality. The band on this outing, post McGeoch, have the perfect balance, with Barry Adamson in particular playing basslines of wonderous originality and energy. Of course it reminds me of my youth and those times, so I can't help being biased, but I'd rate this as one of the best live albums ever, and a perfect introduction to Magazine - the studio albums lack the Grade A consistency on show here . Play 'Thank you' or 'Parade' at concert volume levels and disagree with me if you dare...
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on 9 October 2000
Encapsulating the energy and originality of Magazine was always going to be easiest live. Play is taken from their Australian tour of 1980, and sees them tearing up the stage in furious form. Their often disturbing, nerve-jangling post-punk songs burn with a rarely seen controlled energy. Replacement guitarist Robin Simon slots into the fine mesh of Magazine's sound perfectly, assuaging all worries of weakness after John McGeoch's departure.
Not an ideal place to start for the curious, Play is just what the veteran fan is after. Shame that 'Shot By Both Sides' is absent.
As a musician, this has provided me with much inspiration.
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on 14 July 2009
i find the five star rantings of the other reveiwers baffling, all these songs are inferior to the studio versions full stop, who is playing that additional guitar on the light pours out of me? it is tottaly out of touch with this great(studio album) track, magazine seem in a straight jacket compared to the studio, they seem like a cover band doing magazine material, correct me if im wrong but wasent this recorded after mcgeoch left? some bloke called simon something taking over? although nowhere disaterous it is a very average peice of work, where devoto alters the vocals (slightly)it is always wrong. I saw magazine live in spring 1979 when second hand daylight was just being released and the gig was awesome, towering stacks of speakers stretched to the limit, you could FEEL the sound of the synthesizer high or low frequency, and everything was so clear, the band superbly drilled and accurate with monster tracks like 'back to nature and feed the enemy, that remains one of my top four ever rock gigs, perhaps i was lucky, the playing here is more RELAXED,just not enough intensity, and ample evidence of why the guitarist was sacked. NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 February 2015
This review is of the original vinyl 10 track LP

If anyone needs an object lesson in how to capture the feel of a live concert they only need to look here and at Dr Feelgood's "Stupidity". Atmosphere drips from the speakers like sweat runs down the venue walls, capturing Magazine in a powerful performance. These recordings are highlights of a 1980 Australian tour recorded at the intimate Melbourne Festival Hall on 6th September , with the band in a short-lived line up featuring Howard Devoto on vocals, Barry Adamson on bass, John Doyle on drums, Dave Formula on keyboards and Robin Simon on guitar. Devoto snarls menace, but the band as a whole by this stage of the tour were extremely tight and proficient. The production gives great eminence to bass and keyboards, both mixed deliciously high in a fine display of pyrotechnics.

The track listing is:

Side one:

Give Me Everything
A Song From Under The Floorboards
The Light Pours Out Of Me
Model Worker

Side two:

Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
Because You're Frightened
Twenty Years Ago
Definitive Gaze

At the time the album was slammed for missing off hit "Shot By Both Sides" but in retrospect this isn't designed as a hits package rehashed, it's a choice of what worked best on the night and as a result hangs together superbly. Go for the released version Play+ if that matters to you, but for my money the album works in its original incarnation and leaves you wanting more, as all good live albums should. Engineer John Brand worked wonders here, the only curiosity being the concentration on the band with little in the way of audience ambient noise. For some concerts that wouldn't be the way to go, for this one it works. Play it loud.
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on 27 October 2009
The original album is superlative. Probably my favourite live album of all time. This re-issue adds the two missing songs from the original Melbourne concert that didn't make it onto the original album, and a second CD includes an older concert from the John McGeoch era. The two extra songs are good, but somehow they seem to dilute the brilliance of the original album. Maybe I just love the original too much to have it alterred like this. I want it to start with the soaring guitar line of Give Me Everthing, but I have to wait for song 2 for that. The second CD is very good. Sound quality is good and the concert is very good, although not up to the stellar standards of the main CD.
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Commences with "Feed the Enemy," as the sound becomes crystaline in its clarity dripping through the recording forever with a glint and a sparkle, but the opener appears too fast. Their second album crept at a funereal pace, rather than galloped, but for a live sound this recording hits another level, as the band work in unison to reshape the songs into differing formulas. After the opener it glides along and begins to ooze other elements, then gently pulsates into a rhythm of its own making.

Permafrost stands alone, ice still and frozen as a monument to a time

Model Worker transcended to become finally injected with some zest unlike its album take but as we reach Parade the paranoia has fully seeped in, a lock gate opening and out pours a torrent as the memories flood into view. It is just one of those songs. Thank you for letting me be myself again; bangs and grinds into a sultry floor shaker. Howard get all steamy and sexual. Shot by both Sides loses energy as the power chords are tamed but then Howard takes the song for a surreal walk. Previously unreleased the song is a curiousity.

Twenty Years Ago is given a jazz Funhouse treatment, before we are chauffered back to the bleak double glass vision of the "Definitive Gaze." A carousel whirl around the sounds spinning inside Howard's bleak internal vision. His cynicism is allowed full commentary. A fitting way to end the recording.

The second Cd is not as good as Ramones It's Alive, as it sees Howard meandering then navigating with his hand firmly on the tiller all the way through his earlier ouevre. Undertaken in 1978, a huge divide as punk and post punk fractured into the shards of fey romanticism, straight after this. Within the confines of 1979/80 the bands shifted from their punk linear roots into other textures.

Magazine play the first album with elements of the second beckoning, but rather than bestride the slow permafrost freeze of the second album, it appears the speed level has been upped. Within the set list however are some big gems, "My Mind Ain't so Open" or "Big Dummy" whilst the rest have been cranked up and suffer for it.

So is the scond CD purchase worth it if you already have the Melbourne Festival Hall version? Yes of course, as an artifact of an era this is essential along with the first two albums, then it drops a level and goes down around Correct Use of Soap onward.

The second live album is raw and rougher in mix but songs are cryogenic out takes from the 1970's zeitgeist coated around them. So if you are going to splash out, then take them both at the same time rather than just the one.
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