There are tons of great DJ Shadow concert bootlegs floating around out there on disc and vinyl, but the stunning clarity and seamlessly mixed content of the official Live! In Tune and On Time puts all the rest to shame. This 20-track, 78-minute CD (packaged together with a 24-track DVD) is culled from a performance at London's Brixton Academy during the 2002 Private Press tour.
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Shadow's set draws from his entire career, and there are lotsa flips on the original scripts -- some subtle, some extreme -- to keep long-time fans happy. Deft hamster scratching and hyperkinetic jungle gymnastics juice up Private Press' "Walkie Talkie"; there's an inspired mash-up of U.N.K.L.E. tracks "Drums of Death" and "Lonely Soul"; and early singles "What Does Your Soul Look Like? (Part 3)" and "In/Flux" are augmented by harder beats and scratches without destroying their beautifully blunted vibe. Unlike most DJs, technical wizardry and the art of songcraft are not mutually exclusive pursuits in Shadow's world, which makes this disc like practically anything else he puts out -- essential listening. -- Michael Alan Goldberg