ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

Warner Music Vision, 75 mins

Rarely does a star arrive quite this fully formed for their first headline tour: the screams that punctuate the performance bear out that Seal is never again going to be able to walk down the street unnoticed. The occasional slo-mo sequences inserted into this live video exaggerate his star quality by increasing the sense of distance between us and him. Not that he needs it.

Seals in career fast-forward: already, hes re-jigging material from the album for this Dublin concert, basing The Beginning on Gus Isidores choppy wah-wah guitar, making it a funk jam and rather losing the smoothness of the original. Isidore, in head-to-toe leather, looks a lot like Phil Lynott but plays his guitar left-handed and strung upside-down like Jimi, which must make the menacing run through Hey Joe a lot easier. This show isnt as much of a metal thrash bonanza as his Hammersmith Odeon homecoming, though Whirlpool is getting there, halfway to a monster metal riff treatment that tilts Seal ever further away from his house beginnings with Killer, itself becoming more of an epic with each performance. Crazy, meanwhile, is transformed into a surprisingly tuneful singalong when it comes as an encore.

Hes yet to write anything to equal those early songs, though, judging by the two new numbers included here. “A” Minor Groove and Hide are little more than routine guitar workouts that so far go nowhere in particular, and might be in need of the Trevor Horn fairy-dust treatment on record. ☆☆☆☆

Andy Gill