[This message was originally posted in November 2009 at veikko.climax.dk]
Black Book: The Live History of Blur by Drew Athans
This 440-page book arrived to me in excellent shape this morning and I've already had a few hours browsing it. The first impressions are very very good. For starters, I really dig the look and feel of the book. The layout and typography are very clear and effective. There are no pics, but who needs them anyway?
Opening the book for the first time is guaranteed to give the 'WOW!' effect for any Blur fan. This is the first time someone has paid an effort to deep analyse over 200 live Blur recordings. The job in one word is amazing.
There are sixteen chapters in the book (one per year) and every chapter begins with an introduction of the era Blur were going through at the time. The intros are followed by the actual reviews that are very descriptive and enjoyable to read. By reading the reviews, you can easily revisit the past and imagine what was it like being at the actual gig.
The last chapters include a song and tour date lists that are very handy additions next to the main content. If you've ever wondered whether "Es Schmecht" or "All We Want" were ever played live, the Song Performance List has the answer ready for you. Interestingly, Tour Dates List features some dates that are not present on my site (for instance, the US dates in 1992) - that's one sign of heavy research Drew has done!
I really admire all the work that has gone into this huge one-man project. This book is not just for the Blur bootleg collectors, but to anyone who has an interest in the band's live history. The only thing that I feel is missing is the index that could list the shows in chrono/alpha order for easy searching. Hopefully it will be included in the future edition. Meanwhile, I'm sure this one will keep me satisfied for many years to come. Well done Drew!
The homepage of the book and Blur Live Audio Archive Project:
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