The New York
Dolls: Pre-Crash Condition -
Morrissey Presents The Return of The New York Dolls, Live from Royal Festival
Thanks to the genius that is Stephen Patrick Morrissey, the New York Dolls graced the stage of Londons Royal Festival Hall during the 2004 Meltdown Festival. Oh hell, lets not pretend like this is not big deal. The Mozzer arranged the entire festival around the New Yorkers who started shaping music nearly three decades ago. Of course, if youre smart enough to plan a festival around the Dolls, then hopefully youre smart enough to capture the show digitally for posterity. The Mozzer and his branch of Sanctuary Records, Attack, did just that. The result is pure magic.
The album opens with what is probably the Dolls most well-known song, Looking for a Kiss. Some might shy away from beginning a show or a live album with ones most famous and potentially well-loved tune for fear of setting the standards too high or the live equivalent of premature ejaculation. Not the Dolls! And the good news is that the album only gets better from there. Most tracks are taken for the Dolls classic eponymous first release. That bit of information in mind, all you really need to know about the track listing is that it reads like a New York Dolls greatest hits compilation in the best possible way.
Live albums can be a risky venture at best: too much reference to the fact that it was recorded live at a festival and you risk alienating listeners, not enough live references and the music can become stale. Thankfully, this album succeeds at every possible turn. The mix is amazingly clean, so it sounds fabulous; yet it is in no danger of being over-produced. Johansens voice is noticeably older, but it suits him and the music. The guitars are precise, yet they never lose a fresh and raw sense of urgency. Some songs have been slowed a bit, but amazingly they come out sounding more dramatic and sensual rather than tired. These songs become just another chance to hang on to Johansens every drawn-out, snotty, New Yawk word. Lonely Planet Boy is a personal favorite here with a mini intro consisting of a tribute to former guitarist the late, great Johnny Thunders in the form of his classic You Cant Put Your Arms around a Memory.
My only complaint with the album, upon its initial review, was that there were two dialogue tracks stuck smack dab in the middle of all this great music. I was bitter about the interruption of flow; however, upon taking into consideration that this was the last show featuring bassist Arthur Killer Kane before his death, I have revised my opinion. In this case, the dialogue tracks still dont do much for the albums as a whole, but who could begrudge the Dolls for paying tribute to Kane by means of thorough documentation? Certainly, not I. Plus, the price to pay for the talk is cheap considering the amazing live gem that is Pre-Crash Condition.
This album can be purchased at Amazon
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