Today, i continued chronologically with my Underworld bootleg collection, and entered 1995, amazing to think that this was 15 years ago!
Underworld took off with the re-release of "Born Slippy.Nuxx", with the arrival of the "Trainspotting" film soundtrack and some help from Pete Tong. But in 1995, as with the 1994 dates i discussed previously, the live performances were really loose and were drawing on a small catalog (compared with today's canon). But these were also the days to hear the really rare tracks played live. During future tours, you'd be pretty much guaranteed to hear "Nuxx" and "rez" and "cowgirl", along with many other noted singles. But in 1995, Underworld was generating a buzz from their debut, but were not yet a bona fide super group. You'd get sneak peaks at tracks from the next LP ("rowla", "Juanita"), some rare remixes (e.g. UW's remix of "Leave Home" by the Chemical Brothers) and other deep cuts (e.g. "Spikee"- a B side vinyl cut, not readily available until 2003's Underworld retrospective "1992-2002", unless yhou had a VHS of "footwear repairs" or a rarer still comp. cd).
Today i listened to T in the Park -Hamilton, Scotland, 6/8/95 and Leicester University, 10,20,95, as well as the 1995 lowlands festival
Sadly, these boots are not of the best sonic quality, suffering from volume fade outs and audience noise. Someone in the fan trading community commented on the Leicester gig: "You can only polish a tud so much". But still, these gigs are very listenable and free-flowing, in particular Lowlands, which is pretty much one solid hour of mixed tracks.
They also broadcast a few things loud and clear: UW are not afraid to riff on a track for a good 15-20 minutes, nor are they hesitant to throw caution to the wind and give the crowd a solid dose of improvisation. In particular, the Leicester gig has at least four lonnnng improvs consisting of barrages of beats and crazy effects, as well as a killer version of "Mmm skyscraper i love you" that swells to 21 minutes in length.
"oich Oich" makes a rare live appearance here, at least a year before it hit the US on the back of the "Pearls Girl" EP. The original "Born Slippy" and "spoonman" also feature in both shows.
By 1996, the show would become more polished and the setlist a tad more predictable. But in 1995, Underworld were using every weapon in their smallish arsenal of tracks, to great effect.