Today, i enter a succession of live Underworld documents from 1996 with recordings from Roskilde and the US Organic festival.
First (re)impression: It's going to be a solid year.
At first blush, and also taking a gander at the bootlegs chronologically ahead of these, Underworld were settling into a setlist that usually included "rez", "cowgirl", 'Born Slippy", "Born slippy.NUXX", "Juanita", "Cherry Pie/Rowla" (always perfection when played live together", and one or two tracks from "dubno" or previews from the next long player "STITI".
In these two gigs, I hear and sense a jump from a band that was experimenting with what their live show might contain to one that was confident and willing to let a more regular setlist be explored from night to night. Samples enter and exit, Karl Hyde adds some ad libbed revelations, but it seems (if memory holds), that 1996 was a year of fewer tracks, fewer improvs, and instead very solid performances of a shorter setlist. It's all leading up to the mysterious, legendary "European Club Gig" that has been making its way around the internet for many years - a testament to Underworld's live prowess.