Recent, and not exactly scientific, evidence has proven that punk’s authenticity can be proven not with a specific number of safety pins in one’s shirt, but when one has at least three times as many live releases as studio albums. Following in the footsteps of The Stooges and MC5, the New York Dolls have just released their eleventh live album, Live at the Fillmore East. While there seems to be no substantial reason for this release (other than possibly to show off new members Sami Yaffa and Brian Delaney) it’s hard to turn away from a collection of songs about trashy loverboys and Rock’n’Roll nurses.
With ten tracks, clocking in at just over forty-five minutes, Live at the Fillmore East is disappointingly incomprehensive, not to mention the fact that the ordering of the songs is confusingly random in relation to their actual performances. Highlighting the set are “Rainbow Store” and “Dance Like a Monkey,” off of One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This, possibly the least laughable “comeback” album of all-time, mainly because they’re the only songs that are being recorded live for the first time. More than half of the tracks on Live at the Fillmore East are culled from the band’s first album, all of which seem to be making their eight or ninth appearance on a live release. While it would’ve been nice to include some rarities like “Down, Down Downtown” or “Teenage News,” classics like “Puss ‘N’ Boots” and “Babylon” sound just as elegantly sleazy as they did more than thirty years ago.
The production quality of Live at the Fillmore East is deliciously raw, making for a much edgier sound than 2004’s Live from Royal Festival Hall 2004. When considering the actual purpose of this release, the only likely answer one will come to is that with so many bands reviving the decadent and riotous glam of the Dolls, the band wanted to make sure that the music world knows that even in 2008 no one does uptown-class-meets-downtown-trash like New York City’s original jet boys.