Wire reissue Document and Eyewitness, release 1980 Electric Ballroom show in full for the first time

Wire reissue Document and Eyewitness, release 1980 Electric Ballroom show in full for the first time

Wire, post-punk legends and one of the very few bands from the era to keep on pushing forward today, have just reissued of their 1981 album Document and Eyewitness. In keeping with the band’s penchant for defying expectations, the re-release is not simply a trip down memory lane; the album captures the group’s most controversial moment: their 1980 show at London’s The Electric Ballroom, the band’s last before a five-year hiatus. Conceived as a multimedia event that would feature absurdist “actions and interventions,” experimental performances by Wire members and their associates, and, of course, very little of the band’s then-released music, the show was meant to expand on the ideas the group had showcased in their divisive-but-accomplished residence at the Jeannetta Cochrane Theatre late in 1979. So, an audience already nonplussed by the lack of Pink Flag vehemence in the band’s recent music was treated to Colin Newman singing while wearing an oversized beekeeper’s veil, D.A.F. joining in for a chorus sporting headdresses made out of newspaper, an inflatable jet, a huge white sheet paraded across the stage through the whole evening, Angela Conway (of A.C. Marias fame) dragging two tied-up men, and a life-sized goose lamp.

Dadaist derring-do aside, the original Document and Eyewitness album was a flawed register of the polarizing show, including just a handful of numbers from that evening and filling out the tracklist with songs recorded at “normal” gigs in 1979: Wire’s supporting slot for Roxy Music in Montreaux and their own show at the Notre Dame Hall in July. These three concerts are being released in their entirety for the first time, as part of Wire’s Legal Bootleg series. Meanwhile, Document and Eyewitness has been remastered and expanded for the reissue, including singles, B-sides, and rehearsals from the period. The album is available both as a double CD and on vinyl; the latter including a second LP with selections from the Notre Dame Hall show, whereas the CD gets all the extra goodies. The three shows’ bootlegs will be available digitally.

Document and Eyewitness is out now via the band’s own Pink Flag label.

• Wire: http://www.pinkflag.com

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