There are tons of great DJ Shadow concert bootlegs floating around out there on disc and vinyl, but the stunning clarity and seamlessly mixed content of the official Live! In Tune and On Time puts all the rest to shame. This 20-track, 78-minute CD (packaged together with a 24-track DVD) is culled from his performance at London's Brixton Academy during the 2002 Private Press tour. His set draws from his entire career, and there are lotsa flips on the original scripts -- some subtle, others extreme -- to keep long-time fans happy. Deft hamster scratching and hyperkinetic jungle gymnastics juice up Private Press's "Walkie Talkie"; there's an inspired mashup of U.N.K.L.E. tracks "Drums of Death" and "Lonely Soul"; early singles "What Does Your Soul Look Like? (Part 3)" and "In/Flux," and Endtroducing's "Stem/Long Stem" are augmented by harder beats, scratches, and alternate samples without destroying their beautifully blunted vibe; and Shadow taps the MPC for an expertly rendered version of the ever-tricky "Organ Donor." He also drops Handsome Boy Modeling School's "Holy Calamity" and Quannum stablemate Blackalicious's "Halfway Home" (both of which he co-produced).
Unlike most DJs, technical wizardry and the art of songcraft are not mutually exclusive pursuits in Shadow's world, which makes this disc, like practically anything else he puts out, essential listening.