The Two Ring Circus

Onge's Review

The Two Ring Circus is an album of two halves: the first half is comprised of extended remixes of tracks from The Circus album with the second half, The Touring Circus, being made up of live tracks recorded at a concert in Germany. Remixes in general are never as good as the originals and here the trend continues. Mixes of Sometimes, It Doesn't Have To Be, Victim Of Love and Don't Dance are found, none of which enhance upon the original versions, although thankfully they aren't radically different from the initial mixes and hence don't feel too unfamiliar. Not all the remixes are mediocre however, with the new versions of Hideaway and Leave Me To Bleed actually improving upon the mixes found on The Circus. Hideaway is a great song, with the overly simplistic musical backdrop of the original replaced by a rich and engaging arrangement. Leave Me To Bleed in its new form also has more polish than its original making these two remixes clear album highlights.

The Two Ring Circus is a time-killer release that actually stands very well on its own. Collecting remixes as well as re-recordings and live tracks, it at once makes for a good alternate take on the previous album as well as showing off further strengths of the duo.

AllMusic Guide

Some other The Circus tracks find themselves re-recorded with a full orchestral accompaniment, namely If I Could and the marvellous Spiralling as well as Wonderland's My Heart... So Blue. These new versions are interesting and have an undeniable charm, but are no real improvement on the original versions. The album concludes with seven live tracks. Live renditions of Victim Of Love, The Circus, Spiralling, Sometimes, Oh L'amour (in the form of a fine extended performance), Who Needs Love (Like That) and the excellent Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! make for a pleasant conclusion.

There are slight differences between the tracklisting found on the UK and US versions of this album. The US version also includes the decent Gladiator Mix (also known as the Dave Powell Mix) of The Circus, but at the expense of the live version of this song on The Touring Circus portion of the album.

Summary

Although there is no original material on this album, and it's not overly popular with the fans, it does not mean this is a release to overlook. The number of tracks make for a longer than normal Erasure album and The Two Ring Circus still contains some enjoyable musical moments.

Fan Reviews

Below are some fan reviews written by visitors to this very site. Once you've read these, please feel free to use the form at the end of the page to write your own review.

  1. Almost too much to believe, the album that had become our lives was now…released again in yet different form! Having been an extreme fan of the orignal album and the original remixes, I found some of the mixes on this one clashed with my sense of sonic loyalty. However, a masterpiece in its own right, this album gave us remixed treats and treasures, not to mention the orchestral versions. Erasure was now not only damn good, they showed that they knew how to titillate us with further pleasures and excitements, and reminded us that violins were real instruments too.

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by Mig, Santa Cruz, CA
    1 January 2006 2:53 pm (GMT)
  2. This half remixed half live Circus is really great but it’s not for being compared with the original Circus indeed, including I refuse to agree on the opinions that affirm songs like Hideaway or Leave Me To Bleed were improved here. I think actually these 2 ones sound excellent on their respective original versions and both ones were simply very well-remixed on this record. The other 4 remixes – It Doesn’t Have To Be, Sometimes, Victim Of Love and Don’t Dance – are more than Ok to me, but I feel the Shiver Mix to Sometimes, the Vixen Vitesse Mix to Victim Of Love and the Boop Oopa Doo Mix to It Doesn’t Have To Be would be better choices for being put here. Regarding the live part from this one, extracted from The Touring Circus, I think it’s unnecessary to say how great it is and my fave live one here is Oh L’Amour and Don’t Dance (it’s amazing how great this one sounds live). Actually I think Erasure are one of the few bands that sounds equally terrific as much on studio records as on stage performances.

    9 out of 10
    Reviewed by Ocean Soul, Rio de Janeiro
    28 January 2006 5:36 pm (GMT)
  3. The question was How to improve The Circus? With a live album, with remixes for clubs or with weird versions? Why don’t we put all together? I imagine that this was what Daniel Miller and Erasure thought when they released The Two Ring Circus. Beginning with some remixes, I generally prefer the original versions and this is not the exception but they are ok. If somebody buys this album they won’t be disappointed because of these remixes. For fans, it is an excellent way of listening reinterpretations more taking into account that V&A joined Flood to mix Sometimes again. Besides, here it is a What if Andy would have been in The Assembly? In Leave Me To Bleed -Vince Clarke/Eric Radcliffe Mix- (Eric was also a Yazoo producer). But no doubt, the strange things here are the orchestral versions: they are fit to show that Erasure make songs beyond any instrument (in the past too many people thought that synth bands didn’t make music). Congratulations to remixer Andrew Poppy. But the best part is at the end; all the live versions are fantastic The Circus, Spiralling, Sometimes and Who Needs Love Like That. But there are two songs that exceed their original versions: Gimme Gimme Gimme and Oh L’Amour. This last song came from death with this live version and nowadays –here in Argentina- this is the version that broadcasts on the radios.
    Summary: They could have made just a live album but they gave us the rest as a present.

    9 out of 10
    Reviewed by Hernán, Buenos Aires-Argentina
    22 July 2008 9:05 pm (GMT)
  4. I don’t really like the idea of remixes, thinking that any song should really be judged on how it was originally released and that any reworking with the intention of improving it ought to have been done before it went public. But I bought it cheap while filling in the holes of my Erasure back catalogue and really enjoyed the Touring Circus side, from the same tour as the Live At The Seaside video. Andy’s German impressed his audience and Erasure’s version of Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! was a thumping good tribute to Abba.

    6 out of 10
    Reviewed by Paul, UK
    2 August 2011 12:43 pm (GMT)
  5. definitely proof that more of something good is….good! extended versions 80s 12″ style means that the tracks retain their tunes and their dancebility. The orchestral versions are very beautiful and the live tracks on some formats give you a taste of what an energetic band Erasure are live!!!

    7 out of 10
    Reviewed by Paraic Ireland
    25 June 2013 3:48 pm (GMT)
  6. Here is an tale of 3 stories, the remix, the orchestral and the live performance. I like the variety that is offered and for me a highlight is the beautiful orchestral arrangement of Spiralling. I don’t believe this album detracts from the original compositions – maybe all these years later erasure fans are more appreciative of this album.

    10 out of 10
    Reviewed by Louise
    27 September 2015 7:37 pm (GMT)
  7. This is another album of which I do not tire listening. (16 song Sire release) I tend to be a ‘remix guy’ so many of these mixes improve the originals (or at least do not diminish them) for me. The orchestral mixes were gorgeous and so unlike anything else the boys had released. They have lost their luster over the years and yet remain important.

    Sometimes (Erasure and Flood Mix) [8/10]
    It Doesn’t Have To Be (Mix By Pascal Gabriel) [9/10]
    Victim of Love (Little Louie Vega Mix) [8/10]
    Leave Me To Bleed (Vince Clarke and Eric Radcliffe Mix) [8/10]
    Hideaway (Little Louie Vega Mix) [9/10]
    Don’t Dance (Daniel Miller and Flood Mix) [8/10]
    The Circus (Dave Powell Mix) [6/10]
    If I Could (Orchestral Arr. & Thanks To Andrew Poppy) [8/10]
    Spiralling (Orchestral Arr. & Thanks To Andrew Poppy) [8/10]
    My Heart… So Blue (Orchestral Arr. & Thanks To Andrew Poppy) [9/10]
    Victim of Love” (live) [7/10]
    Spiralling” (live) [7/10]
    Sometimes” (live) [8/10]
    Oh L’amour” (live) [8/10]
    Who Needs Love (Like That)” (live) [8/10]
    Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” (live) [9/10]

    8 out of 10
    Reviewed by Jonathan Andrews – Florida, USA
    14 March 2016 6:43 pm (GMT)

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