It's with some regret that I give a Skinny Puppy release four stars and not five, but it's not really down to the quality, workmanship or performance - It's mainly down to the slightly lacking amount of content.
Obviously, an "official" bootleg is a good thing overall, the quality is better than other bootleg albums out there and I would heartily recommend this to any SP fan to own. They have done a great job with the audio, especially as the booklet proclaims: "Recorded live with a digital handheld four track with post mix of the built in stereo mics and feed from the console. All tracks are complete takes with no edits or overdubs"
The simplicity of the recording is both this CD's greatest asset and one one of it's pitfalls - It's great that it's pretty raw and unedited, the sound is fantastic considering that , but at the same time some tracks do phase out elements of the music during play. Sometimes Ogre is almost non-audible, and other times it's cEvin and Justin that fade into the dissonance.
The other point to note about the audio is that for a live album, the 'energy' is largely flat. But maybe that's just me harkening back to being there in the crowd during this tour. Anyway, on sound quality terms it is, in the main, a great capture of the tour.
My main issue with this release is the lack of content, as I eluded to earlier. Play time comes in under an hour, and although the song selection is good I feel it's not a correct representation of the tour it is taken from. Having the album only containing 'older' songs is not the problem, at all. But the tour had a very broad spectrum of material and basically I just would have liked to have seen this live bootleg show that off. Capturing good quality, live SP, from songs of any age, seems to be a never ending trudge through poor YouTube videos and awful MP3 captures.
Basically, it would have been nice to finally have a defining collection of well recorded Live SP songs. If that were the case, and if this release had more content, this could have been an amazing CD set to be treasured - Instead, this is 10 songs from the In Solvent See tour on CD. (But that isn't a bad thing, anyway) Just a slight shame, because as I said earlier, the tour actually covered more material than this CD represents.
HOWEVER, please don't take that too much to heart or let it put you off buying. The only reason I am giving it (a regrettable) four stars is just for the content. What content there is on this release is done well, and is very enjoyable. I would certainly suggest this is more than worth the price, and if you are a SP fan it should be part of your collection.
In summary: A very enjoyable, worthwhile yet short live CD. It could have been so much more in my opinion, but what is on the CD is excellent.
Skinny Puppy recorded raw through the soundboard and via a handheld recorder by Ken `Hi-Watt' Marshall mixed together with no editing or trickery. Tracks are from Skinny Puppy's older catalogue but updated with new sounds and samples. Sound quality is rather good for a bootleg and this version is limited 2LP gatefold that is built like a brick.