October 26, 1996, Philadelphia, PA. - The Dark Harvest Festival II. You hear the almost childish tune of a keyboard followed by the sound of a distant bell toll. In a startling sort of fashion, the voice breaks through the dreamy state - "Let's skirt the issue - of discipline. Let's start an illusion with hand and pen. Re-read the words and start again..." The concert has begun...
Of all of the live performances that I had ever heard of Rozz Williams', Accept the Gift of Sin has to be by far the most exceptional. The first time I gave it a listen, I immediately felt as though I were right there as the performance was commencing. Like a gift from beyond the grave, David E. Williams has helped bring us one of the most special live Rozz Williams performances ever mastered to CD. This collaboration between the two is a perfect illustration of Rozz's strong ability to adapt his own unique signature vocal styling and feeling to a wide variety of music.
The CD opened up with electro-symphonic versions of old Christian Death classics "Cavity" and "When I Was Bed." Though I enjoyed both of these (as always), the highlights of the CD did not begin until the third track, when Rozz asks the crowd that "if anyone knows the words - feel free to join in," and begins in to the classic, "Tommorow Belongs to Me" from the 1972 movie, "Cabaret" (I wonder if Liza Minnelli would approve?). "Beautiful Brownshirted Man" was yet still another major change of pace as a catchy accordian-driven ballad.
The fifth track, had to have made this performance. I almost did not know what to make of it when I heard the first few words over the atmospheric background, recognizing the lyrics as a cover of the old 70s pop tune, "I'm Not in Love" by 10cc. I honestly did not like the origional, but something about the way Rozz expressed this song in voice made it one of the saddest songs I had ever heard - hitting me like a ton of bricks.. It took me a long pause after I had heard it to continue the CD. If anything, this song made the performance nothing less than perfect.
Lightening up the mood a little bit, the sixth track - "Dream a Little Dream of Me" - somewhat of a trip back in the history of Tin Pan Alley music (the name given to the publishing buisness that hired composers and lyricists in the early 1900s to create popular songs to be sold as sheet music.) "Dream a Little Dream of Me" was one of such songs, humored by its light-heartedness and innocence. This duet between Rozz and David is to be described disturbingly as "delightful" (how's that for Deathrock?).
Bringing the performance to a close is the intense noise driven "Mindfuck (Soundtrack to a Murder)," from Rozz's spoken word album, Every King A Bastard Son. Lyrically horrifying. If this performance was a dream - here is where I would wish to wake up..
"I could die a thousand times, but i'll always be here..."