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An Evening of Entertainment

March 11 2005 08:51 PM ET (Permalink) (Comment)

I am so out of the loop.

I'd heard a while back that Muse was planning to book some US dates starting in April. Having heard nothing, I decide to poke at Ticketmaster and see what comes up. I'm surprised to find an Atlanta show listed. Cool. Ooh, tickets went on sale today. Cool.

I check 99x's website. Turns out they had a "freeloader" (their version of a frequent listener club) pre-sale yesterday that, from the listing on their website, "SOLD OUT!!" The pre-sale, that is.

I drive up to the nearby Publix and buy a ticket. Buying it in person and not on the website (or the pre-sale) saves me $5. Yay for pre-sales.

Next stop: Media Play. After weeks of debating, I decided to pick up the 10th Anniversary set of the Manic Street Preachers' The Holy Bible. Actually, my plan was to think about on the off-chance that they actually had the thing in stock when I got there. Best Buy's website said that none of their local stores were carrying it, and I wasn't sure if it was popular enough an item for local stores to carry.

I walk in and remember that the store has never had a Manic Street Preachers shelf tag. (I went looking there for Forever Delayed a couple of years ago.) So I wander over and am surprised to find three copies of the set staring me in the face.

Of course. They're in the Melissa Manchester section.

As I'm standing there debating it (as per my original plan), one of the store clerks comes over to see if he can help me find anything. I'm one of those "I'll come find you if I need you" type people, so there's always a hint of annoyance when I'm poking through a shelf and have someone interrupt me.

"Aha!" I think. "I can foil his fiendish plan! I already found what I'm looking for!"

Okay, that's not actually what I was thinking, but it makes sense in an after-the-fact, bad-silent-film kind of way.

The real event goes more like this: I turn to him and reply, "Well, I think I've found what I'm looking for." He's kinda stunned for a second. I have to wonder if he's ever come across someone who actually found what they were looking for.

He takes one look at the shelf in front of me and his eyes widen. "What?!? I can't believe we carry The Holy Bible in this section!!" (On the album's cover, the title is significantly larger than any of the other writing.)

I casually explain that the title is ironic: it's more of a hard rock album. (I casually leave out the part about how the lyrics are as dark and un-Bible-ish as you might find.)

He picks up a copy, examines the tracklist, and verbally deciphers "ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit'sworldwouldfallapart". (Which, by the way, contains a faulty apostrophe, but that's the son of Grammar Queen talking.) He gives me the look of realization - yes, it's in the right section.

Well, except for the Melissa Manchester part. I wonder if she'd approve.

Okay, so I've been nursing a... um... "non-disc" version of the set for a few weeks. I have to admit, I'm really digging the US Mix of the album. (The set includes the original UK mix and a glossier previously-unreleased US mix of the album done by Tom Lord-Alge.) Previously, all I'd heard of the album was "Faster", so it's mostly all new to me.

At first blush, the UK mix kinda sounds like a demo. I've read a number of reviews of the album bashing the US mix, but I think the key for most of those people is that they're intimately familiar with the original version, so the US mix just sounds like a bastardization. Coming at it fresh, I just love the greater width and clarity that the US mix carries. Some of the effects are overdone in places, but, even so, I think I still prefer it. (Then again, I've heard so many Tom Lord-Alge mixes - he's the "good" Lord-Alge mixer in my book - I may be accustomed to his style.)

The guy who wrote the liner notes says that the one song that clearly isn't improved by the US mix is "Faster", but I think I may have to disagree - save that some of the reverb / echo bits get cut off early for some unknown reason.

In fairness, though, I probably need to spend more time with both versions of the disc.

Oh, but I can't stand the packaging. The booklets are glued to the package. For the love of ... why? I'd have much preferred a single twenty-something page booklet than two ten page booklets that I can't take out of the thing. And they're at opposite ends of the three-disc set, so they're kind of unweildy to read. Feh.

By the way, while I was at Media Play, I wandered through the Used CD section to see if there was anything worth checking out. My eyes fell across a copy of Metallica's St Anger that had a sticker on it reading: "PREVIOUSLY NEW!" Whoa, really? A "previously new" disc in the Used section? Who'd have thought!!! How can I possibly pass up a "previously new" disc?!?!?

I almost bought it for that sticker alone.

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