Stuffography Dates and Prices (Zhukovskii, 3 March 1983)

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Сроки и Цены (концерт в Жуковском, 3 Марта 1983)

Dates and Prices (Zhukovskii, 3 March 1983)

bootleggers 1983


Review

by Dzhon

Now available by internet! You can dig up a reasonably good quality recording at Pustiye Mesta

It's a reasonably clean recording, though clearly recorded by somebody who either didn't have a soundboard or had no idea how to use it, or was kind of making it up as he went along. Occasionally one or another of the mikes will go off or one of the "amplifiers" (is this one of those legendary occasions when they were amping through the TV?) will squawk unhappily, and sound level is somewhat inconsistent.

Things get underway with what seems a fairly restrained, album-faithful version of "Tonight"...faithful, that is, until halfway through when the mad keyboard kicks in, and then the whole thing goes pleasingly berserk and sets an anything-goes tone for the evening. If this is odd, however, it is only a warm-up for "Ashes," which incorporates what sounds like someone picking up a saxophone for the first time in his life and quack-quack-quacking at random over a totally schizoid Dr. Who Coverkeyboard and frantic drums. But it's so wonderfully uncontrolled and ill-advised it brings new life to those old "Ashes," and I find myself happily quacking along.

Next up is a very early take on "Eye," everyone's least favorite song off of Silver Day and there's nothing to particularly recommend this version either. The rarity "Knife Cutting Water" follows and is simply bizarre, all over the place, each instrument seemingly playing a different song, but dominated by the Waits-ian keyboard, which once again spins totally out of control by the end of the song, while someone goes ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah in the background. I don't know quite what to make of it. It either eerily prefigures Laurie Anderson, or it's nothing in particular.

Then it's "Sun on Cold Water," also among the rarest of the rare, which features a simple, repetitive Dylan-esque riff, but it's easy see why it never became an album track. Kind of boring, really. "You Soothe Me," shows that the big B was biding his time for quite a while waiting to do that Vertinskiy tribute album. I actually like this semi-camp version rather more than one that crops up on Vertinskii Songs.

"Vana Khoya" is at least two times longer and sillier than the Radio Africa version. You have to love the meticulously plucked violin string simulating, well, something. Possibly a dulcimer. Or a sitar. I want some of the magic pelmeni they were ingesting when they composed this one. A relatively straight take on "Captain Africa" is then followed by "Dying Ducks and Bilious Screech Owls Take Over the Russian Forest in Anticipation of the Arrival of the Mad Nightingales," my own name for the more than 15 minutes of demented improvisation that sounds either very avant-garde or very, very intoxicated, depending on your point of view. I've listened to it both after five shots of vodka and entirely sober, and can report that the former condition is to be recommended.

Finally the owls and the ducks resolve themselves into "We'll Never Get Any Older." This is nowhere near as good as the Aroks i Shtyor version, but has merits of it's own: Gakkel gets to let it all hang out in a great cello solo; the keyboardist, Sergei Kuryokhin, peppers the song with lots Addams family organ chords; and every so often there's kind of a loud WAAAaaah noise which is possibly a kazoo...or just possibly a Kitty Karry-All doll. This remarkable instrument reappears on "Wonderful Dilettante," which is otherwise similar to the version found on Aroks i Shtyor. A spare, dirge-like version of "Rock 'n' Roll's Dead" mellows things out, both Boris and Dyusha sounding fairly ì¸ðòâ themselves: off-key and barely conscious. They pull themselves together, however, for a evening-ending medley of "Babylon" and "Aristocrat," shimmied through with something like their usual aplomb.

Also included on my copy (but not the Internet version) are two tracks recorded at a later date: "New Days" and "Theme For a New War." The first features an unusually hard-rocking guitar and Boris standing rather too close to his mike. Sounds to me like a song that with a little more tweaking and fine-tuning could have become something distinctly album-worthy; as it is, though, it has a half-finished quality. On the other track, Boris is now apparently standing about two yards from his mike (except for near the end of the song), but go Lyapin, go! Davai, davai! One of the wonderful things about some of these live albums is that he really gets to kick out the jams. But for the generally murky quality of the recording, this could be an absolute gem.