The Way We Were
The Way We Were (2005)

Is it a live CD with a bonus DVD? Is it a DVD with a free live CD? Are The Residents trying to look like Emus on the cover? I don't know, but once again Ralph is hanging around the school gates trying to tempt us into a very strange car with his latest limited edition sweetie. This is, we're told, the whole of one of this years handful of Australian shows. It's kind of a 13th Anniversary Show revisited and was knocked into shape pretty quickly. This might explain why some of the tracks here sound like quite faithful renditions of the originals (or faithful renditions of previous interpretations of those originals). As Residents fans we're not used to this, sometimes nearly a whole song goes by before we leap up and yell "oh! It's Kaw-liga", or whatever. Still, here this isn't that bad a thing with great, energetic versions of The Sleeper, Dead Wood and an amazing Would We Be Alive which even samples the original metallic break the track is based around for extra recognisability.

The songs previously performed at the aforementioned 13th Anniversary Show are a tad 'heard this before' (always with that Picnic In The Jungle!) but the fantastic version of Their Early Years is a tantalising glimpse of how God In 3 Persons could have been live. Dead Wood is pretty wonderful also but I was a little disappointed with the Wormwood tracks. The backing is fantastic but the vocals on the delicate They Are The Meat and the usually awesome Burn Baby Burn are really off, though to be fair they are way too high in the mix. The new, gloriously fucked up and innovative version of DDA's Betty's Body is a winner, offering a further glance into the twisted world of the gal's would-be suitor (stay well away love!). After a quick dip into a this-could-be-1989 rendition of Ober with spot on organ sounds etc Molly gets to ruin Teddy Bear. I'm sure this would have been better at the actual gig but, on a live album her voice, which just plain isn't as interesting as the Rezsinger's, can't carry it off (in my humble opinion, let's not get into that debate again). She amply redeems herself by participating in the utterly brilliant Ship Of Fools, which remains one of the most important Residents tracks ever.

The DVD contains five live tracks (more actually) which have been filmed in an even more over the top way than DDA live with a mad combination of on and off stage cams and computer graphics. It affords a nice glimpse of what the show was like (sort of) and I'm happy to report that the spartan garage light and inflatable giraffes look of the 13th Anni shows has been superseded by a hi-tech extravaganza involving aluminium step ladders and sheets. These tracks are ok I guess, but then you see Ship Of Fools where the performers suddenly become one with the graphics and that bit is absolutely brilliant. Even better there is also a longish section on the DVD called Lots of Knots. This features some computer graphic madness and some NEW music. Yes, The Residents have made an early 90s style 'rave' video!