Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Before The Dawn: UK First Issue Triple CD Release

I wanted to properly absorb everything fully about this release before creating a post for it.

I did buy the 4LP box set version as well, which you can see in my first photo here, but I won't be opening that one up. Sorry! This post will be for the CD set only. Everything has been fully scanned for this post. I did break some things up into smaller sections, so that they would show up a little better.

When an audio release was first announced for BTD, admittedly I had some concerns that the final product would be a hack job similar to the Hammersmith '79 video. Needless to say, I was more than surprised to learn we would be getting the entire show, with the inclusion of Never Be Mine, which didn't even make it into the final setlist.

A hell of a lot of time and work went into producing the absolute best sound quality on these CDs and it shows. The end result is superb, leaving the overall sound breathtakingly fresh and sharp. So if you bought a certain bootleg that's been floating around for sale online, or been listening to home-made recorded MP3s, they really don't compare at all - so get out there and buy this release if you haven't already.

One thing that's abundantly clear throughout each CD is the virtual removal (or significant minimizing) of the audience during each song. This was a very smart decision to make, and the results are stunning as it leaves you more focused on the performance. If you didn't attend any of the shows, the CDs offer you a chance to hear just how strong Kate's voice still sounds in a live setting. Never Be Mine, which was only a rehearsal, has been flawlessly inserted into the first CD with audience cheers at the start and end of it. It's pretty impressive how well it fits considering it was never part of the show.

While the art design on this set is stunning, the choice in packaging leaves a lot to be desired. Once again, everything is horribly presented in my least favourite packaging in the world - the dreaded digipak. While the absence of the horrible CD pockets is appreciated, this redesign is actually no better. Removing and replacing the CDs can be pretty difficult. I've even experienced major difficulty with this myself, and I've also heard about several instances where one of the CDs (usually the third one) has literally snapped on people when trying to remove it from its backing - so I would advise extra care. If you're like me and many other people who despise digipak packaging, I would suggest storing the CDs in separate CD cases for ease of access. Storing the CDs separately will also cut down on the wear of the CD packaging; something that this type of flimsy structure is easily prone to.

I also would have liked to have seen something a little different on the CD designs, especially as the artwork is exactly the same on the inlay. It would have been a great opportunity to incorporate some of the fish designs or other things themed around each section - but since this is such a minor thing I'm not going to moan over it

The booklet is absolutely gorgeous. Even though many of the photos already appear in the tour programme or online, there are also new ones included.

The space dust on these pages appear courtesy of SPACE.

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