Wednesday, July 05, 2006

All That's Left Is You and Me...

Ride - Nowhere
Ride - Nowhere (Live at Brixton Academy)

For the duration of their 100 date, 9 month world tour in 1992 Ride were the best live band on the planet. As always, hyperbolic statements like these are open to debate, but I truly believe that during this tour, which accompanied the release of their second album ‘Going Blank Again’, nobody could touch them.

If you’re going to make proclamations like the one above, I guess it helps if you can back it up. Posted here are two versions of the track ‘Nowhere’ - one the original studio recording, the second, a live version recorded at Brixton Academy in March 1992*. ‘Nowhere’ originally appeared as the closing track on the ‘Fall EP’, and was the title of their debut album, though the track was absent from the vinyl release, only featuring on pressings of the CD. The studio track was atmospheric but inconsequential, more of an audio representation of the desolate cover of the album, which depicted a wave in the middle of the ocean. It even ended with the sounds of the sea, but on the whole wasn’t my favourite Ride song or even a track I paid much attention to.

Live it was completely transformed into a near ten-minute epic of dub-prog psychedelic noiserock with Andy and Mark’s duelling guitars producing immense sheets of squalling white noise, Steve’s monstrous dubbed-out basslines and Loz a whirlwind behind the drum kit. They became an amalgamation of Pink Floyd and Sonic Youth, featuring King Tubby on a bass with strings made of tractor tyres. Even Andy’s somewhat weedy vocals are perfect, adding a feeling of isolation as they are completely overwhelmed by the power of the music.

I caught them on the opening date of the tour at the Oxford Apollo in February ‘92 and wasn’t prepared when they unleashed the revamped ‘Nowhere’. I can remember turning to my brother to mouth, “What the fuck’s this?”, before we were pinned to our seats by noise. To me, this is what Ride were all about; this is what they did best. I’d even go as far as to say, this tour was the last great thing they did as a band, the final time they operated as a gang - four best mates connected as one, creating the most amazing music imaginable.

Archive of Ride’s live dates during 1992, with complete set lists here
Brilliant Ride fan site
The official Ride website
* Search ebay for the VHS release of ‘Ride: Live at Brixton’ that the live version of ‘Nowhere’ is taken from
Buy ‘Nowhere’, ‘Going Blank Again’ and other Ride albums from Norman Records


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