I think I have reached a point where Coheed and Cambria are starting to be a pain in my ass. The Second Stage Turbine Blade LP gets reissued and immediately three different versions get put out right off the bat: the green VIP package, the white retailer, and the black tour-only version. It does seem a bit hypocritical of me to bitch and moan about this since I’m into other bands who put way more variants to their releases…ISIS, Converge, Minus the Bear, etc. But for some odd reason, even though there are only three different versions, I found this a bit annoying.
Usually variants are available via a label’s webstore, a specific distro, during the band’s tour, or a friend of a friend of a friend who knows someone who was roommates with a band member’s second distant cousin in Peoria, IL. Or something like that. With Co&Ca reissuing Second Stage Turbine Blade it was no different. Maybe I’m just complaining for the sake of doing so. Ha!
So here it is…the tour-only version of SSTB. The band initially posted that it would be available at shows and have “different/alternate cover art” and be on black 180gram vinyl. And be hand-numbered. Sounds great to me! Well…the “alternate” art was nothing more than a black-and-white version of the regular cover and back art, which in a way was a nice idea but a bit of a letdown. It works with the simplicity of the black vinyl for sure, but I was expecting something completely different and new when I read & heard “alternate” art. Yeah, yeah we’re getting into semantics and reading too much into this. Just being nit-picky as usual.
The vinyl is indeed 180gram but at the end of the day that doesn’t mean shit to me because I don’t own a high-end system and wouldn’t be able to tell the difference sonically anyways. 180gram/heavyweight only means that it has a less of a chance to warp and get fucked up in transit or on the shelf. The insert is the same as the other two versions so no need for pics of that as you know what it looks like if you own it or read the prior gazillion posts about this release. The A-side label is as the others but the on the B-side label is where the hand-numbering happened with a different image altogether. I dig it.
The VIP pass that came with the bundle came in handy for the Tampa, FL show of the tour I went to. (Where else did you think I got the tour version anyways? eBay? Riiiiiiiiight!). All the pass did was afford you an early entry to the venue and a special performance of sorts. In Tampa we were treated to an acoustic song by Travis Stever (guitars) from his Davenport Cabinet side-project. It was a nice treat but nothing for me to really rave about. I did though take that opportunity, after Travis was done and they still had not let in the general crowd, to hit the merch stand and do some shopping. I spent a good 5 minutes debating whether to get the vinyl at that moment or wait after the show. If I got it prior to the show, I’d have to lug it around all night and protect it. If I waited til after I ran the serious risk of missing out on it as they’re only selling 40 per night and more than likely it’d be sold out. So I went with the first option. But alas, I did not have to worry about holding it all night! I may hate people but I have great customer service skills and know how to b.s. and schmooze with others. So since we were going to standing by the soundboard towards the middle back, I kindly asked the soundguy if it’d be cool to stash my record in a little nook between a sound rig and a “desk” set up. No problem!
I was able to enjoy the show with no worries. Well, only worrying that someone would steal the record. But that didn’t happen. The show went well. It wasn’t as great as I had hoped though. Hearing SSTB in its entirety was great but I felt that the acoustic songs prior to the show and then the miscellaneous songs after SSTB lacked a bit of punch that I know Co&Ca are capable of. They could’ve at least played “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth:3”, but they did not. That was a letdown for me. Maybe I have seen them live so many times that I’ve become that jaded asshole that criticizes every little thing instead of just enjoying the show for what it is and not what it could be.
I thought the $25-a-pop pricetag on these would deter some people from buying multiple copies. It didn’t. But people still didn’t get multiple copies as the merch guy was somewhat strict (at least the impression that I got) on having as many copies to go around. I’m waiting to see if and when any pop up on eBay from anyone who purposely bought just to flip. I wouldn’t be surprised though if any leftovers end up on the band’s MerchNow webstore. It’s happened before. And it would at least help out those who couldn’t make it to a show or got shut-out at the merch table.
And this is where I should have some witty and snarky remark to close the post…but I can’t think of anything…so here are pictures of the white retail version. Enjoy!