Fireball 25 - A review from Ohio

Well, Fireball 25 is almost finished spinning in my CD player. Here's what I think (for those who care, and most of you who may not):

The biggest anticipation I felt, because I heard Slow Train about a month ago thanks to Stathis, was how Fireball would sound with Demon's Eye behind door number three rather than Strange Kind of Woman (as on the US version). I never thought I'd say this, but I preferred the album with Demon's Eye. Probably because SKOW was such as staple of later sets dominated by Machine Head tracks, I always felt SKOW belonged on Machine Head or WDWTWA more than Fireball. So while I won't part with my US CD (in no small part due to the inclusion of lyrics), I prefer the album with Demon's Eye (as opposed to the UK version of In Rock with the Sonic Youth intro to Speed King, which I rather dislike).

The remastered original album tracks were fine, with less improvement over the original than In Rock 25 was. That's not bad, because I always felt the original WB CD of Fireball did not sound that bad, at least to these rusty tin ears.

Then the remix of SKOW comes, and I'm blown away - Roger is a truly a magician. I'm Alone was nice to hear again (I don't drag Singles A's and B's out as often as I might, and now I have even less reason to). Freedom was nice to have on an official CD, though I must thank Gilles for giving me a peek at this a while back. As I mentioned before, I'd heard Slow Train before, with its No No No riff and all (see if you can spot this part in No No No - maybe I'm mistaken).

Contrary to most of the commments here, I thoroughly enjoyed the Noise Abatement Tapes. Think of how good the William Tell Overture would have sounded if they had developed it like Ritchie developed Beethoven's Ninth.

Like I imagine many others did, I found myself singing the omitted solos on the instrumental Fireball Take I. I would have preferred the Fools remix or some of the SKOW rehearsal, but nobody's perfect ;) Ditto for the backwards piano - sorry, Jon - how about some more Paganini? Tchaikovsky? Flight of the Bumblebee with Steve? *Sigh*...

I must express my severe resentment towards Simon - despite his as-ever excellent liner notes, must he tease us with mention of more rehearsal tapes, such as SKOW, if he's not going to release them? He must know that most of us in DPAS and amdp would sell a close relative or two into slavery to hear some of this stuff. And I missed the info on releases in various countries, especially since the US and UK versions of the album differed so significantly. Instead, we get two virtually identical sheet music covers - priorities? But these are very minor criticisms, one small blemish (politely called a beauty mark in other circles) on an otherwise superb package (and I for one am very glad Simon chose to keep the booklet inside the jewel case, where idiots like me will not lose it!).

That's the word from the great Midwest - have a nice day!

Mark D. White
Cincinnati, OH