Ride – In concert at Gothic Theatre, Englewood, Colorado – April 3, 1991 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Perennial favorites Ride in concert this weekend. Recorded at the Gothic Theatre in Englewood Colorado on April 3, 1991 and broadcast sometime shortly after.
Ride were one of the pivotal bands of the so-called Shoegaze era (a name a lot people cringe at, me included) – likened to a Tsunami of guitars against a background of swirling feedback, Ride came to epitomize the early 90s as one more element in a rapidly evolving new music scene all over.
Ride released three EPs between January and September 1990, entitled Ride, Play and Fall. All three EPs made it into the UK top 75, with Play and Fall reaching the top 40. Ride’s top-75 placing was a first for Creation Records. The first two EPs were released together as Smile in the USA in July 1990 (and later released in the UK in 1992), while the Fall EP was incorporated into the CD version of their first album, Nowhere, released in October 1990. The band were often labelled as part of the “shoegazing” scene, but the band rejected this, Bell stating “my first reaction was like, this is another boring tag. These days…that’s pretty much still my reaction”. Gardener said of the band’s influences “We liked the noisy bands of the time. When we were at art college we went to see My Bloody Valentine, House of Love, Stone Roses and Sonic Youth. I think these all had a lot of influence on us in the early days as they were great gigs”.
The band recorded two sessions for John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 show in 1990, and their popularity with the show’s listeners saw them with three tracks in the Festive Fifty that year, with “Dreams Burn Down” and “Like a Daydream” at numbers 3 and 4 respectively, and “Taste” at number 25.
Nowhere was a critical and commercial success, reaching No. 11 in the UK, and the media dubbed Ride “The brightest hope” for 1991. Demand for new material was high, and the band recorded another EP, Today Forever, released in March 1991. The EP marked a change in direction for the group away from the noisier early style. Ride made their first international tour to Japan, Australia and France later on that year. Tickets for the performances in Japan sold out within minutes.
In February 1992 the band broke into the UK top 10 with “Leave Them All Behind”, and the following month saw the release of the band’s second album Going Blank Again. The strain within the band was already apparent, Bell stating “By the time the second album came out we were touring too much. We were tired. We then took time off, but it was too much time off”.
1995 saw the dissolution of the band while recording Tarantula. Gardener and Bell had led the band away from their shoegazing roots to become more contemporary, hoping to change their style with the times. Ride bassist Steve Queralt has remarked that the band had two future directions open to them, and they chose the wrong option. Gardener had become interested in dance music, and wanted Ride to incorporate that into their style, while Bell disagreed. The track listing of Carnival of Light gives an indication of the tension that was mounting between the two guitarists, with the first half of the album being songs written by Mark Gardener and the last half of the album being songs written by Andy Bell – Andy Bell had refused to let his songs be interspersed with pieces written by Gardener. Years later Andy Bell explained “Imagine an argument where the way you win, is by saying ‘I don’t want my songs on the same side of the album as yours’ and it ACTUALLY HAPPENS. We were allowed by the people around us to behave like total babies.”
The band called it quits in 1996, after completing Tarantula – but have since reformed in 2014.
By all means, crank this one up – you need the distraction right now.