So, with our ears just about recovered after that date at the Roundhouse last century, we step back into the ring with My Bloody Valentine.
> My Bloody Valentine: 'Isn't Anything', 'Loveless' & 'EPs 1988-1991'
When the group trundle on stage and slam into the first track, we don't know what's more surprising: Hearing a Brand New My Bloody Valentine Song (called 'Rough Song' on the setlist), or the fact that it has, ugh, keyboards on it. It sounds, well, like MBV at their poppiest. Pretty, ethereal, absurdly loud and probably quite different to how it eventually will on plastic.
The first two-thirds of the set tonight are alternately remarkable and a bit of hard work. There are, of course, some stunning moments. The energising full-on juddering rock out of 'Honey Power'. The ear-splitting, squalling, 'Only Shallow' that laughs at your Vitamin Water and jogging, deciding instead that the best way to detox in January is to explode every molecule out of your body.
A few tracks in, one smart alec in the crowd asks when the new album is. Shields does his best Silent Bob, and with his only spoken sentence trolls half the internet by answering "maybe in two or three days... three days". We'll see.
'Come In Alone' is perhaps the song that best captures the MBV Live Experience tonight. The smooth riff of the Loveless track is wrestled and ripped out of the guitar by Shields, note by note in a visceral, thrilling, exhausting experience. Like a sculptor, his method seems to be hacking away everything that isn't the solo until he's left with what he wants.
All the while, Debbie Googe pounds her bass so hard it's a wonder she doesn't go through them like a drummer with sticks. Primal Scream's loss is our gain.
Sometimes, though, the vocals go from buried in the mix/part of the soundscape to being, to my battered ears, utterly imperceptible on any level during 'When You Sleep', whose melody is one of the band's loveliest.
The between-song tuneups and lengthy gaps also make for a disjointed experience as Shields occasionally struggles to draw out the exact sound he wants from his guitars. It feels rusty. Awkward, even. About halfway through 'To Here Knows When', Shields calls things to a premature halt... he's not happy about something, and he lets his sound guy know.
We restart and the run of the last five tracks is as good as any you'll see this year. It ends with a perfectly civilised five-minute aural holocaust during 'You Made Me Realise', as the secondary characteristic of sound and its actual form as physical vibration meld in a perfect marriage of noise and melody.