Courtesy Jeff Gilman

2 Additional Photos & flyers

If you have photos from this show write us at fugazilive[at]dischord.com .


By: Thomas Johnson over 2 years ago

This was an insane show in several ways one being that a friend and I had just come out from the East Coast to Chicago to find that Fugazi was playing right in town later that evening we have each scene the band album by showtimes by that point they seems to be in New England all the time, so it was great. We called her Vic and of course it was totally sold out by then, but the girl I spoke to on the phone said you should come down and try will call. I don’t ever remember not being able to get tickets when they were in the Northeast so to arrive at the VA can see all kinds of people hanging out looking for a ticket I remember one girl offering her like 14 whole doc martens in exchange for a ticket but we walked up to will call I don’t think it was the same person but we told him you know adverse story and They said OK it’ll be 5.50 each! Oh I just remember being so excited going in there and seeing him in such a big hall beautiful place but yeah the crowd was fucking ridiculous the other thing that stands out in my mind about this night and I wish there was a video but it was like bullshit because they really did have to stop repeatedly but this gigantic 66 skinhead probably about 300 pounds wearing a Chicago police jacket just punching the fuck out of everybody and at one point I think it was guy who got real pissed at him and called him out specifically but yeah other than that bullshit, it was an amazing show in its own right. Thanks guys!

By: gunter habets over 8 years ago

On their strenuous, taxing 1991 tour (adding up to a total of 112 live performances), Fugazi hit the state of Illinois two times, the first gig taking place in Champaign on June, 6 and the second concert being this appearance some two months later at the Vic Theatre in the city of Chicago.

Quite the venue, as Guy and Ian lead their listeners to believe, “Let me tell you all a little bit about this building, the Vic Theatre was originally built in 1527, it’s a very old building, they used to build tall ships here, (…) where we’re standing right now is exactly, this is what used to be the hull-shaping area right here, and as you can see it’s a very tall building (…). John Dillinger was shot in the alley and performed his last performance here and was punched in the stomach and died (…). Charles Lindbergh landed here (…).”

By: gunter habets over 8 years ago


Digging deeper, it appears these statements do not hold up entirely, even though there is in fact a whole lot of history behind this particular venue.

According to its website,

“The Vic Theatre, designed by architect John E.O. Pridmore, opened in 1912 as the Victoria Theatre. It took three years to build the luxurious five-story vaudeville house. The lobby floor and staircases are still Italian marble, and the interior still has most of the original ornate wall sculptures. The acoustics are near perfect, and the balcony has wonderful sight-lines.

(…) The Vic can easily accommodate 1400 people with seating for 1000.

When there’s no live music, hit the Brew & View. The Brew & View is the Vic’s alter ego, transforming the theater from music to movies. Three bars are open throughout the films, creating a cinematic experience miles away from the strip-mall multiplex. Movies at Brew & View tend to be second- and third-run, as well as cult and underground favorites. The lubricated crowd will often speak along with the dialogue or even dance (go see ‘Grease’ there). If you want to quietly concentrate on the movie, this is the wrong place. But if you want to see an old or new favorite for five bucks while drinking cheap beers, this is paradise.”


By: gunter habets over 8 years ago


In a recent article, “Awesome & Awkward: The Evolution of The Vic Theatre”, author Janell Nunziato provides some more context, mentioning inter alia, that the theatre, despite having closed its doors on a number of occasions, “has been home to a variety of acts that continue to resonate within the walls”, including vaudeville (“a fancy French term that describes a genre of theatre that provided a variety of entertainment from the early 1880’s until the 1930’s”), an automobile repair shop, a porn movie theater, the Roberto Clemente Theater which featured Spanish-speaking movies and, more recently, musical performances by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dave Matthews Band, No Doubt, David Bowie, Green Day, Pearl Jam, The Beastie Boys, Bob Dylan, and Rage Against The Machine, to name a few.

As to John Dillinger, well, he appears to have been killed in a shootout with the police on the evening of July 22, 1934, as he left another theatre in Chicago, namely the Biograph Theater, with two female companions, following a screening of Manhattan Melodrama. American aviator Charles Lindbergh’s link to the city of Chicago appears to include having pioneered and operated the Robertson Aircraft Corporation airmail service route from St. Louis to Chicago.


By: gunter habets over 8 years ago


Now for the live Fugazi recording presented here. The trouble, so to speak, is that this performance is off to a rather frustrating start, due to the issue of crowd-surfing and some security personnel with a temper. Several altercations arise, with both Guy and Ian addressing these situations, interrupting a number of songs in the process (cf. Merchandise, Dear Justice Letter, KYEO).

On August 9, 1991, the day following the concert, music critic Greg Kot, in an article “Fugazi Making Punk Rock Relevant To Today`s Crowd” published in the Chicago Tribune, appropriately notes,

“Fugazi is the underground band of the moment because it not only has dug back to the essence of punk but has made it relevant.

For this quartet, the relationship between the band and its audience isn’t a commercial one but a sacred trust. Which is why the band demands that ticket prices be kept to the bare minimum (admission to the Vic show was $5.25, a throwback to mid-’70s levels).

Only one other thing matters: the music. Which is why Fugazi dispenses with light shows and stage props.

Such single-mindedness has struck a chord with young listeners, as demonstrated by a Vic crowd that was foaming at the mouth by the time Fugazi took the stage after two opening acts, Pegboy and Nation of Ulysses.

Singer-guitarist Ian MacKaye urged, ‘Take care of each other’ before ripping into the opening song. But the pumped-up crowd was soon swirling, slamming and stage-diving so frenetically that the band was forced to stop playing several times to cool off confrontations between zealous stage-divers and security guards.

‘We’re not your (expletive) soundtrack so you can get into fights,’ guitarist Guy Picciotto said in dousing one disturbance.

The band’s persistent peace-keeping paid off, and the sheer force of its music eventually rechanneled the room’s energy.”


By: gunter habets over 8 years ago


Another reason this recording fails to grab my immediate attention is because the guitars are rather low in the mix, Ian’s vocals slightly distant and the bass a low rumbling difficult to discern, especially during the noisier, up-tempo parts.

Two Beats Off, double-tagged with Summertime (Fitzgerald) / The Place I love (The Jam) lines, is the song that really lights the show up for me personally and comes off better sonically, probably due to its slower pace and intricate rhythmic shifts.

A number of early live staples follow suit and these sound quite good and engaging as well (Song #1 through Waiting Room), maybe because there’s just one guitar in the mix at this point, which makes it easier to discern.

The recording has been documented on cassette originally and it appears that the tape was turned a couple of seconds into Shut the Door, causing a slight drop-out. However, I feel the audio improves slightly but significantly once the song cuts back in, sounding more balanced overall.


By: gunter habets over 8 years ago


As such, this rendering of the powerhouse song is remarkable. The paired guitar play is outstanding while Brendan and Joe lay down the groundwork. Momentum gradually yet steadily builds, the music once surges then folds, surges then folds.. .

From the recording, it is clear that someone puts in numerous pleas for the band to play In Defense of Humans (the last recorded live version of the song dates as far back as May 12, 1990), but these are not granted.

Nevertheless, Shut the Door merges seamlessly into Exit Only and from here on out the rest of the recording, performance and set list are top-shelf and highly enjoyable in my book. Note that Turnover is served unusually late yet no less impressive this time around, and that KYEO includes one last lull during which Guy and Ian taunt a number of hardheaded crowd surfers.

To conclude, it can be mentioned that the set presents a total of 18 songs. It draws 5 songs from the Steady Diet of Nothing album, 8 off of Repeater, 1 from the 3 Songs 7 inch, 1 from the Margin Walker EP and another 3 off of the 7 Songs or self-titled debut EP.

By: John Lishamer over 12 years ago

First time that I saw Fugazi. Great show!

By: John Roper over 12 years ago

So was I.

By: Joshua Davison over 12 years ago

I was there!

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Fugazi Live Series FLS0375 Fugazi Chicago, IL USA 8/8/1991

If you had a different price in mind for this download Click Here.
Show Date:
 Vic Theater
Door Price:
Played with:
 Nation of Ulysses, Pegboy
Recorded by
 Joey Picuri
Mastered by
 Warren Russell-Smith
Original Source:
Sound Quality:
 Poor Good Very Good Excellent
Play Sample Track
1. Intro
2. Reclamation
3. Sieve-Fisted Find
4. Merchandise
5. Dear Justice Letter
6. Interlude 1
7. Styrofoam
8. Two Beats Off
9. Song #1
10. Margin Walker
11. Bad Mouth
12. Give Me The Cure
13. Waiting Room
14. Shut the Door
15. Exit Only
16. Long Division
17. Blueprint
18. Encore 1
19. Turnover
20. KYEO
21. Reprovisional
22. Outro

Please Note: Available recordings have been mastered to correct for volume shifts, drop outs, etc. but some sonic anomalies will still exist, especially early in the set when the mix is being settled. The band has rated each show for sound quality and set the general price of a download at $5 per show. If you have a different price in mind feel free to utilize the alternative pricing option.