The title track from the album Mezzanine, went through many changes (roughly about five different variations that differed majorly from each other, none of which have ever been heard) throughout the production and mixing stages of the album. Gradually, Massive Attack became frustrated with the song during the mixing process and settled on the way it sounds now, not ultimately been satisfied with it but being forced to stop working on it. This also makes it probably the last song to be completed for the Mezzanine album.
Mezzanine, the song, was responsible for lending it’s name to the album, Mezzanine and not the other way around. Typically, Massive Attack have always left the naming of all their albums to the very end. 3D decided to name the album after the song because of the no man’s land or twilight zone or even a floor between floors (as the lyrics in the chorus would seem to suggest) the song embodies, which were the same qualities that the album, Mezzanine embodied as a whole come it’s completion time.
Mezzanine was first played live in its finished form during the 1998 Mezzanine tour. Since then, it has become a near permanent fixture to the live setlist in all subsequent tours. It’s live arrangement is typically the same as the regular album version with both 3D and Daddy G (except for when Daddy G was absent for some of the North American 2006 tour) performing live vocals.
3D on both the naming and recording process behind Mezzanine – “The track we called Mezzanine [was named] quite a long time ago but it changed shape quite alot over the last six months. In fact, we completely reinvented it about five times, out of frustration” [Mezzanine Interview Disc - March 1998]
3D on the meaning behind Mezzanine – “Slightly confusing when you feel like you’re in two places at once, one is an altogether more exotic place and the other is the reality where you struggle to find a grip” [Vox Magazine - May 1998]
There is a distinct possibilty that the opening intro song of the 1997 tour was one of the earlier versions of Mezzanine, as indeed it contained a few lyrical lines (“Give me evenings, Give me weekends”) that would eventually make their way onto the finalised Mezzanine track, even though it also seems to contain some resemblance musically to Angel.
The embed below contains the only recording (from the Berlin Arena 1997) currently of this early version of Mezzanine that was played at some of the 1997 live shows.
I’m a little curious of you in crowded scenes. And how serene your friends and fiends. We flew and strolled as two eliminated gently. Why don’t you close your eyes and reinvent me.
You know you’ve got that heart made of stone. You should have let me know. You could have let me know.
We’ll go ’till morning comes. And traffic grows. And windows hum.
Spending all week with your friends. Give me evenings and weekends. Evenings and weekends
I could be yours. We can unwind. All these half floors. All these half floors. You’d agree it’s a typical high. You fly as you watch your name go by. And once the name goes by. Not thicker than water nor thicker than mud. And the eight k thuds it does. Sunset so thickly. Let’s make it quiet and quickly. Don’t frown. It taste’s better on the way back down. I could be yours. We can unwind. All these half floors. (x3) Will lead to mine. We are we are… (sting me now) We can unwind. All these half floors. All these half floors. Will lead to mine. Will see to. All these half floors. All these half floors. Will see to. All these half floors. Will lead to mine. We can unwind all our flaws. We can unwind all our flaws.
Interpretations From SongMeanings.com
Jools Holland Show 1998 Live Performance
MTV Europe 1998 Live Performance
Southside Festival 1999 Live Performance
Summersonic Festival 2006 Live Performance
Abbey Road 2006 Live Performance