Rock 'n' Roll Circus #5.
Recorded live at the Robin Hood Club, Dudley UK on 10-Oct-1997 except:
1 The Pavillion, Glasgow, Scotland 7-Sept-1997
2 Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone UK on 9-May-1997
3 Fairfield Halls, Croydon UK on 5-Oct-1997
Ian released his strongest album for many years, The Artful Dodger, in 1997 and then toured the UK and Europe in the spring and autumn of that year. Many of the gigs were taped by fans, and many of the best quality tapes date from the autumn tour. The band and the performances just got better and better as the tour went on, so by mid-October (when this show was recorded) they were able to deliver a blinder almost every night.
This is one of the very best audience recordings you can ever hope to hear. Compression, distortion and a muddy sound (common with audience tapes) is non-existent here: the performance is a delight to hear, and the recording is almost 'professional' in quality, as the Dudley show (and Glasgow and Croydon, I believe) were recorded onto minidisk. Unlike the Live In Scotland set, the minidisk masters were not used (although I understand they would have been made available if asked); instead third-generation cassettes were used instead. The quality is still outstanding, however.
The packaging is professional in quality. The CDs are "manufactured" with proper labels (rather than being CD-R produced on a PC or something). The packaging also contains several photos from Ian's live performances (although they were taken at Reading, not Dudley).
As a live document of Ian's 1997 tours, this CD gets a firm recommendation from me.