If one were to go and watch a football match featuring a returning from retirement Pele, Jairzihno and Tostao, you would probably expect, in spite of the brilliance that they demonstrated in their youth, for them to not be very good. Why should we expect better from recently unretired band of their countrymen?
The CLUAS Verdict? 5 out of 10
Aside from in one of the episodes of David O’Doherty’s recent TV series where the comedian played a lunchtime show with no advertising to a crowd of about 7 I don’t think I’ve ever seen Vicar St. so empty as it is tonight. Did you know that if a disastrously low number of people buy tickets for a gig they can draw the curtains across the balcony so the room doesn’t look as pathetically empty? I didn’t. My skills at estimating crowds are really rather poor so it’s hard to gauge precisely how many people it takes to fill the floor of Vicar St. 2/3’s of the way so let’s say there were x people there where x ∈N.
I’d like to be able to say that the other x-1 people and I that were in attendance witnessed something magical from the reformed Brazilian legends if for no other reason than so I could smugly lord it over people I meet who weren’t there (and that’s a lot of people) however I’m not able to do that. This was a really sloppy performance which alternated between being occasionally brilliant and rubbish cabaret. When it was good, which was usually after Sergio Dias (the only of the original 3 core mutants present due to his brother Arnaldo’s illness and Rita Lee just not fancying the idea of a reunion at all) figured out which of the many effects he had built into his guitar he wanted to use and which switch turned it on the results were a fantastic collage of psychedelia, classic rock and lounge music which approached being mind blowingly good. That’s a remarkable feat because ordinarily I hate that sort of muck.
These reunion shows that have been happening over the past few years have tended to be severely hit and miss affairs, if a band is newly returning to the live circuit the occasional glitch and lull between songs can be forgiven (hello Slint at Vicar St.) and with practice and more regular gigging the band can reach some approximation of their previous standards (hello Slint at Primavera) but Os Mutantes have been playing gigs for over a year now since they got back together and the level of inconsistency demonstrated at this gig just isn’t good enough, and anyone who paid over 30 quid to see it should feel mighty pissed off.
2007 - REM live in the Olympia, by Michael O'Hara. Possibly the definitive review of any of REM's performances during their 2007 Olympia residency. Even the official REM website linked to it.