Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Manhattan Blaze - 1979 - Venus Eyes

Manhattan Blaze 
Venus Eyes

01. Venus Eyes 5:44
02. Moon 6:36
03. Demon Upstairs 6:52
04. We'Fe 7:01
05. The Answer Is Love 6:42
06. Louisiana Strut 8:10

Alto Saxophone, Flute – Frank Strozier
Bass – Alex Blake
Cello – Akua Dixon, Clarissa Howell
Drums – Idris Muhammad
French Horn – Vincent Chancey
Guitar – Yoshiaki Masuo
Percussion – Ray Mantella
Piano, Electric Piano [Elepian] – Hilton Ruiz
Reeds – John Stubblefield
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Ron Bridgewater
Trombone – Earl McIntyre, Emmet McDonald
Trumpet – Charles Sullivan, Earl Gardner, Eddie Henderson, Frank Gordon
Vibraphone, Directed By – Joe Chambers
Viola – Charles Dalton, Maxine Roach
Violin – Melvyn Roundtree, Sandra Billingslea, Stanley Hunte, Valerie Collymore, Winston Collymore, Wint Garvey

Recorded and mixed at Sound Ideas Studios, New York City, October, 1978.

A rare fusion set from 70s Japan – but one that's cut by an American group of ultra-hip musicians! The set's a unique outing for an ensemble that features John Stubblefield on saxes, Hilton Ruiz on piano and keyboards, Eddie Henderson on trumpet, and Idris Muhammad on drums – a lineup that makes music here that's every bit as great as you'd expect – especially if you already dig their 70s recordings from the US! Bits of Latin sneak in and really create a complex set of rhythms underneath tighter fusion charts – and the set also features some added horns and strings, which give some of the grooves a nicely sophisticated vibe. 

Kazumi Watanabe with Manhattan Blaze - 1978 - Village in Bubbles

Kazumi Watanabe with Manhattan Blaze
Village in Bubbles

01. Park Avenue 5:27
02. Dance Of Corona 7:52
03. Village In Bubbles 8:40
04. Magic Carpet 9:58
05. Mustache Daddy 5:40
06. Crystal Rain 6:07

Kazumi Watanabe : electric/acoustic guitar
Yoshiaki Masuo : electric guitar
Mickey Tucker : acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes
Alex Blake : electric/acoustic bass
Idris Muhammad : drums
Ray Mantilla : percussion
No-Bu : percussion
Joe Chambers : drums
Greg Woods : synthesizer programming
trumpet : Jon Faddis, Earl Gardner
Frank Gordon, Virgil Jones
french horn : Greg Williams
trombone : Earl McKintyre, Janice Robinson
tenor saxophone : Ron Bridgewater
alto saxophone, flute : Frank Strozier
violin : Sandra Billingslea, John Blake
Winston Collymore, Gayle Dixon
Carl Ector, Melvin Roundtree
George Taylor
viola : Charles Dahon, Sharon Ray
Maxine Roach
cello : Akua Dixon, Clarissa Howell
Ulysses Kirksey

Japan in the 1970s, the era when the word fusion was born. Just in Japan, which was being swept by Littner and Larry Carlton, did such a guitarist exist in Japan? This is one of the best masterpieces of the Japan Fusion Society, which can be said to be the gospel of the guitar kid at that time. When I hear Lonesome Cat and Olive Steps, I guess I'm the only one who seems to be able to get back what I left in the 70's.

Monty Waters - 1975 - The Black Cat

Monty Waters
The Black Cat 

01. J. Love March 7:07
02. Bog's Blues 10:09
03. Apt. 2H 9:06
04. Modesto 11:08
05. The Black Cat 11:31
06. R.P.M. 13:52

Recorded August 12, 1975 at Vanguard Studios, N.Y.C.

Monty Waters — Sax (Alto)
Yoshiaki Masuo — Guitar
Ronnie Boykins — Bass
George Avaloz — Drums

I first heard alto saxist Monty Waters on the Joe lee Wilson and Bond Street album, What Would It be Without You. I love Joe Lee Wilson (and have blogged about his music) and liked what I heard of Waters, but I could never find much music by him. It turns out that he spent  a good many years of his later career in Munich, where he did record, but he never got much of a shot in the U.S. Like many practitioners of America’s greatest gift to world culture, he’s been neglected in his own country. Fortunately, he was recorded in 1975 by the Japanese WhyNot label, now re-released on CD by Candid Records.

Monnville Charles (Monty) Waters was born in Modesto, California on April 14th 1938 and passed away in Munich on December 22nd 2008. Another of Jazz's unsung heroes, his death went virtually unnoticed by the international jazz community, as indeed had most of his career. The saxophonist didn't even rate a mention in the All Music Guide To Jazz and most of the standard reference books. This is indeed regrettable as Monty was clearly an artist of consummate talent in both his playing and writing ability. Monty studied music at Modesto High and cut his teeth in the vibrant R&B scene in the late 50's touring with the bands of B.B King, Little Richard, James Brown and others before switching coasts to play in New York with the likes of Woody Shaw, Jaki Byard, Elvin Jones and Art Blakey where he gradually became involved in the emerging 'Loft Scene.' Monty and his associates on Black Cat all display considerable skill and panache and achieve a remarkable empathy on all of Monty's six original tunes. Throughout the set guitarist Yoshiaki Masuo, bassist Ronnie Boykins and drummer George Avaloz achieve a rare intimacy as they weave in and out of the proceedings to startling effect. Waters' very personal alto is airy, floating and fluid. His playing has a plaintive bluesy quality which just grows on you. His swinging, narrative style has been described as "being likely to outlast all that intellectual blasting of notes - 'emotionalism' without emotion...."

The Black Cat is an excellent date, featuring Waters, guitarist Yoshihaki Masuo, bassist Ronnie Boykins, and drummer George Avaloz. Waters also composed all of the tunes. They’re really equal partners here, notably on J. Love March, a slightly eccentric jazz march with a good deal of collective improvisation. Waters has a lot of Ornette Coleman in his playing, particularly notable on the two blues tracks—Bog’s Blues and Modesto—but tempered with a more disciplined Steve Lacy-like tone.  It’s a strong combination. Apt. #2H, a reworking of Giant Steps, the title track, and R.P.M. all serve as vehicles for Waters, an impressively melodic Masuo, and standout solo work by Boykins.

Richard Beirach, Terumasa Hino, Yoshiaki Masuo - 1976 - Zal

Richard Beirach, Terumasa Hino, Yoshiaki Masuo

01. Mavrodaphne 6:13
02. Broken Wing 4:38
03. Yesterdays 6:31
04. Zal 7:02
05. Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair 4:15
06. What Is This Thing Called Love 8:58

Flugelhorn, Trumpet – Terumasa Hino
Guitar – Yoshiaki Masuo
Piano – Richard Beirach

I had heard of this album but never gave it much thought until I stumbled across it on the net. Amazon prime had a new copy and was letting it go for $4! Naturally I snapped it up. And it's not just a good example of early Richie-it's great. There's a wonderful consistent mood on this album. It flows from the guitar duos into the flugelhorn duos perfectly. You get to hear some of Beirach's great originals, Broken wing and the lesser known Zal and the dreamy Mavrodaphne. Beirach's penchant for exploring certain standards like Yesterdays and What is this Thing are nicely represented here. I love his interpretation of Black is the Color. He may have been the first to take it in this direction.

Also, I have to say the sound of this 1976 release is nothing short of amazing. It was released in 2006. The remastering makes it sound like an ECM recording. I'm not exaggerating. Supposedly recorded in Richie's home studio, it was actually recorded by David Baker and judging from the audio, in a pro studio. It sounds way too good for a home recording.

If you can find this at a decent price, I urge any fans of Richie Beirach to pick up a copy of this rare album.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Yoshiaki Masuo & Joe Chambers - 1981 - New York Concerto

Yoshiaki Masuo & Joe Chambers
New York Concerto

01. Irina 6:26
02. Two Hearts 3:28
03. Like Sonny 4:40
04. Visions 5:48
05. A Night Has A Thousand Eyes 5:03
06. Concerto De Aranjuez 15:14
07. Dhabihu 2:53
08. Autumn In New York 6:29

Alto Saxophone, Flute – Sonny Fortune
Bass – Eddie Gomez
Drums, Vibraphone– Joe Chambers
Guitar – Yoshiaki Masuo
Percussion – Ray Mantilla
Piano, Electric Piano – Kenny Barron

Recorded June 11 & 12 at Van Gelder Studio, New Jersey

Yoshiaki Masuo & Jan Hammer - 1980 - Finger Dancing

Yoshiaki Masuo & Jan Hammer
Finger Dancing

01. Waiting No More
02. All Right
03. Young Filly
04. Let Us Go
05. A Little Bit More
06. Sunshine Avenue

Drums – Tony Cintron, Jr.
Electric Bass – Russel Blake
Electric Guitar – Yoshiaki Masuo
Keyboards [Oberheim, Mini Moog, Yamaha Cp70] – Jan Hammer

Yoshiaki Masuo - 1980 - Masuo Live

Yoshiaki Masuo
Masuo Live

01. Dealing With Life 7:33
02. Good Morning 6:31
03. Look Away From Me / A Threesome 8:38
04. I Will Find A Place / Viento Fresco 25:53

Drums – Robbie Gonzales
Electric Bass – T.M. Stevens
Electric Guitar – Motoaki Masuo, Yoshiaki Masuo
Electric Piano, Organ – Victor Bruce Godsey
Percussion, Synthesizer – Shirley

Yoshiaki Masuo - 1979 - Sunshine Avenue

Yoshiaki Masuo 
Sunshine Avenue

01. Sunshine Avenue
02. Your Love Is Never Ending
03. A Threesome
04. Look To Me (And See The Sun)
05. Someone
06. I Will Find A Place

YOSHIAKI MASUO (el.g, ac.g, solina, perc)
VICTOR BRUCE GODSEY (ac.p, el.p, clavinet, vocal)
T.M. STEVENS (el.b , piccolo bass)

Recorded at Electric Lady Studios, NY 1979

Yoshiaki Masuo - 1979 - Good Morning

Yoshiaki Masuo 
Good Morning

01. (I'm Still) Believing In Dreams
02. Good Morning
03. Because Of You
04. Inside Love
05. Little Bit
06. Dealing With Life
07. Little Bit More

Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Synthesizer – Motoaki Masuo
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Synthesizer, Percussion, Vocals – Yoshiaki Masuo
Backing Vocals – Josan
Drums, Congas – Robbie Gonzales
Electric Bass, Bass [Piccolo] – T.M. Stevens
Harp – Margaret Ross
Organ [Hammond] – Delie
Percussion – Shirley Masuo
Piano, Electric Piano – Victor Bruce Godsey

Fusion heyday 80s. . . The catch phrase on the LP band of this work was written, such as opening the dawn of the 1980s. This work itself was produced in the late 70's, but the wakamonos at the time praised that `` Masu of the world '' was not at all defeated by international leaders such as Lee Ritner and Larry Carlton, I heard this work. With this, when I listen to it, there is even an atmosphere that is “modern” or cool.

Beginning with a large-scale song “(I'M STILL) BELIEVING IN DREAMS” that decorates the opening beautifully, it continues to the title tune where even a magnificent feeling is felt and a beautiful morning is imaged. Up to 3 songs were on the A side of the LP. The B side was good, but I remember the memories of repeating the A side in the LP era. Even the fusion album at the time when hits appeared one after another, I think that it was the highest standard work. Still a masterpiece! And exhilaration is outstanding.

In the 70's, I was in the Progressive Rock Party in a copy band of Jesus, but this work that I encountered after becoming an adult was somewhat shocking. Creating exhilarating sound with high sensitivity and skill and comfort in Japanese. . . The album "Sailing wonder", released two years ago, was hit with the support of Dave Grusin and "MASUO" was already famous, but this album was a better work, and I was more complete. I thought it was a wonderful work.

If you buy one piece of "Masu of the world", I think that this is it. When I was a young man, I purchased several LPs before and after, but I became an old man and bought this one. It is a piece of emotional reunion after 30 years.
Early 80's. . . It is a "fusion masterpiece created by the Japanese" that captivated the young people of Japan at the time. It is a masterpiece!

Yoshiaki Masuo - 1977 - Sailing Wonder

Yoshiaki Masuo
Sailing Wonder

01.   Sailing Wonder
02.  Treasure Island
03.  Shootin' The Breeze
04.  Nature's Anthem
05.  Kirk Out
06.  Cracker Jack
07.  Viento Fresco (for Sonny)

Drums – Steve Gadd
Electric Bass – Gordon Edwards
Electric Guitar – Eric Gale, Yoshiaki Masuo
Liner Notes – Yozo Iwanami
Synth – Dave Grusin

Yoshiaki Masuo - 1975 - 111 Sullivan Street

Yoshiaki Masuo
111 Sullivan Street

01. Swing 42 0:27
02. God Bless The Child 6:12
03. Like Someone In Love 7:56
04. Look For The Silver Lining 6:59
05. Washington Square Blues 6:40
06. Reminiscence 8:28
07. West Side Highway 2:10
08. Without A Song 6:48

Alto Saxophone – Bob Mover (tracks: A1, A3, B2, B4)
Bass – Bob Cranshaw (tracks: A2, A4, B1), Yoshio Suzuki (tracks: A1, A3, B4)
Drums – David Lee (tracks: A2, A4, B1), Jim Lovelace (tracks: A1, A3, B4)
Guitar – Yoshiaki Masuo

Recorded September 27,28, 1975 at Basement Studio, NYC

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Yoshiaki Masuo - 1969 - Winds of Barcelona

Yoshiaki Masuo
Winds of Barcelona

01. Winds of Barcelona 4:09
02. Scarborough Fair 6:50
03. Stoned Soul Picnic 4:28
04. One For Wes 5:32
05. I Say A Little Prayer 4:05
06. Gary's Tune 5:03
07. What The World Needs Now Is Love 5:20
08. Winds of Barcelona - Theme - 2:52

Bass – Yoshio Suzuki
Drums – Fumio Watanabe
Flute – Hideo Miyata
Guitar – Kiyoshi Sugimoto, Yoshiaki Masuo
Organ – Kazuo Yashiro
Percussion – Larry Sunaga
Vibraphone, Marimba – Nobuhiro Suzuki

Tracks A1 to A3 recorded 19th February 1969.
Tracks A4 to B4 recorded 1st May 1969.

Born in Tokyo, Japan on October 12 1946 as a son of a jazz band leader and pianist, Yoshiaki Masuo grew up surrounded by jazz music, although he never had any formal musical training.

At the age of 15, he started playing the guitar on his own. Prominent among his early influences were Wes Montgomery and Grant Green.

While in Waseda University Jazz Club, Masuo was discovered by alto saxophonist Sadao Watanabe, and joined his group at the end of 1967. Masuo thus started his professional career on top as a regular of Japan's leading jazz group. He was in the group for three years, and experienced tours outside of Japan with Sadao, playing at Montreux and Newport jazz festivals. He was 1970's number one guitarist in the readers' poll of Swing Journal, Japan's most popular jazz magazine. He won the readers poll in the following years even after leaving Japan, five times in total.

Masuo moved to New York City on June 13, 1971. There he played with Teruo Nakamura, Lenny White, Michael Brecker, Chick Korea, drummer Elvin Jones (Masuo took part in the recording of Merry Go Round) . He also played as a regular of Ashford and Simpson. In 1972, he was a member of Lee Konitz's group.

In the spring of 1973, he joined the Sonny Rollins group. He was with Sonny three years the first time and three more years from 1982. He toured with the group all over the United States as well as Japan and Europe. He participated in recordings of four Rollins' albums including The Cutting Edge (of the five, one is released in Japan). One of the albums "Reel Life" contains a composition by Masuo "Sonny side up" being played by Rollins' band.

Between the two periods of his playing with Sonny Rollins, Masuo toured with drummer Elvin Jones in Europe, played with organist Larry Young, and formed his own electric fusion group. He recorded his fourth leader album in 1977 for the newly-established Electric Bird label (King Records of Tokyo). Released the next year as the label's first issue, this album turned out to be a remarkable success. He continued to make fine jazz fusion albums one after another over the following several years, winning new fans. He made tours with his own band in Japan and on the West Coast of the U.S., as well as appearing sometimes in NYC night clubs including Seventh Avenue South and Mikell's. On one tour in Japan, Jan Hammer played with him as a special guest.

After the second period with Sonny Rollins' group in the mid 80s, Masuo acquired his own studio in SoHo in NYC, and there he began experimenting with electronic instruments to create sound all by himself. This took shape as an album titled "Masuo," on which he not only played but also did the roles of composer, arranger, engineer and mixer. This was released in May, 1989. A couple of years before this release, his owning a studio happened to make him get involved as a producer of recordings for JazzCity (and later JazzCity Spirit) for a Japanese record company. He produced dozens of albums over the next ten years. As he got deeply into production, his career as a musician was virtually put on hold. 

Debut album in the Montgomery's style from the japanese boss of guitar featuring Kiyoshi Sugimoto, Kazuo Yashiro, Larry Sunaga,  Yoshio Suzuki & Fumio Watanabe from the Takehiro Honda Trio. Influenced by Wes Montgomery and the Grant Green's works, Yoshiaki Masuo has been spotted by saxophonist Sadao Watanabe who launched his professional career in joining up his quartet from 1967. In the late sixties, he was enrolled in the Sharps & Flats by band leader Nobuo Hara and played for pianist Takehiro Honda on his debut album within Sadao Watanabe Quartet. In 1971, he moved to New York where he played for his fellow countryman bassist Teruo Nakamura, prestigious musicians like Lenny White, Michael Brecker, Chick Korea or Elvin Jones, and later in 1973 within the Sonny Rollins group. Titles include pop cover songs by Laura Nyro (Stoned Soul Picnic), Simon & Garfunkel (Scarborough Fair), Bacharach & David  (I Say A Little Prayer, What The World Needs Now Is Love), tribute to Wes Montgomery (One For Wes) and the Sadao's Bossa tune "Gary's Tune".

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Rush - 1980 - Live In St. Louis 1980

February 14, 1980
Kiel Auditorium
St. Louis, MO  

01. 2112
02. The Spirit of Radio
03. Natural Science
04. Beneath, Between and Behind
05. By-Tor and the Snow Dog
06. Xanadu
07. Working Man
08. Finding My Way
09. Anthem
10. Bastille Day
11. In The Mood
12. Drum Solo
13. La Villa Strangiato

Tracks rearranged to original running order of the show.

This is a live recording , in the series Historical FM Broadcastings. It captures a Rush gig in the USA, shortly after the release of their Permanent Waves album (early 1980). The recording is at the level of a high quality bootleg and the running time is 73 minutes. The 8-page booklet (I own the CD version) contains an interesting interview in the English rock magazine Sounds (March 1980), Rush telling about their success (Canadian awards and Best Band In The World by UK magazine Sounds) and the change of their musical direction.

The first track 2112 showcases how Rush have matured since All The World's A Stage from 1976. Here Rush sounds more dynamic and adventurous, from the intro with the synthesizer sounds to the final words 'We have assumed control', awesome, this is top notch progressive hardrock. And loaded with sensational wah-wah drenched guitar soli by Alex Lifeson and featuring an outstanding, very fluent rhythm-section. And on the following By-Tor And The Snow Dog the criminally underrated Lifeson delivers one of his exciting soli, with use of the phaser, wah-wah and echo pedal. You can consider the rest of the setlist on this 1980 live CD as a bridge between the progressive hardrock on the live album All The World's A Stage (1976) and the Heavy Prog on the live album Exit Stage Left (1981). From straightforward in Beneath, Between, Behind, Working Man, Anthem, Bastille Day and In The Mood (including Geddy Lee his still a bit 'Micky Mouse on helium' voice) to elaborate and alternating in The Spirit Of Radio, Xanadu, Natural Science and La Villa Strangiato. But there is always that distinctive Rush, with their high quality, huge inspiration and inventive musical ideas. Only the long drum solo by Neil Peart during In The Mood tends to sound a bit embryonal: entertaining but still searching for the perfect balance between time and quality, as he did since the mid-Eighties, nicknamed 'the professor on the drum kit'. The final track La Villa Strangiato emphasizes Rush their new musical direction, into captivating and compelling Heavy Prog, highly recommended!

Rush - 1979 - Hemispheres In Boston

January 11, 1979
Music Hall
Boston, MA

101. Intro.
102. Anthem
103. A Passage To Bangkok
104. By-Tor And The Snow Dog
105. Xanadu
106. Something For Nothing
107. The Trees
108. Cygnus X-1
109. Hemispheres
110. Closer To The Heart.

201. Circumstances
202. A Farewell To Kings
203. La Villa Strangiato
204. 2112
205. Working Man
206. Bastille Day
207. In The Mood
208. Drum Solo

While it was a painful birth, Rush’s sixth studio album Hemispheres would further propel them up a few rungs in the world of rock music, and most certainly by their own terms. The third and last studio album to feature a side length composition, the brilliant title track, it would also showcase a couple shorter songs that would showcase the band’s future output for the next decade. The tour to support the album would begin mid October 1978 with an extensive Canadian tour and end with a European leg with an American assault sandwiched in the middle. The Hemispheres tour is no stranger to the collectors market and trading circles, there are many high quality recordings, both from soundboard and audience sources, this new release features one from the latter and is culled from the wonderful Dan Lampinski collection. Dan was a taper who used high quality equipment and media to record many concerts in the Massachusetts and surrounding areas, most of his recordings surfaced a few years back and gave us something to look forward to each Sunday as a new recording would be posted on a well know tracker. While Lampinski enjoyed a variety of rock music, as evident of who he recorded, it seems like he had a special place for Progressive music, thankfully underground hard rock prog masters Rush were on his radar.

He would record the group on their stop in Boston at the Music Hall using a Nakamichi 550 tape recorder with two Nakamichi CM-300 microphones and Maxell cassettes. His capture of Rush is a wonderful three dimensional capture, it is just slightly distant sounding and there is a small level of tape hiss present yet is an extremely clear and detailed recording and the balance is virtually perfect. It is sadly incomplete, the band’s set list did not make it easy for tapers to apply their craft and many recordings from this tour have cuts is similar areas, these cuts will be address in the review.

“All right Boston welcome back from Toronto Canada…Rush” is the intro and the band lunches into Anthem from Fly By Night, an aggressive opener that has been a concert staple since its inception some three years prior. The sound is more distant at the beginning until Dan gets his gear situated and levels set, needless to say a couple minutes in you can clearly decipher all the instruments, most importantly Geddy’s bass as I love to hear him pluck the hell out of it. The herbal influenced trek A Passage To Bangkok follows and Ged’s greeting to the crowd amid shouts of “sit down”. I love Alex’s riff for this song, electric middle eastern with a metallic flair, a one Mr. Blackmore would be proud of it for sure. Lifeson’s solo is ambient yet intense over the top of the Synthesizers the song gets a nice ovation.  The coupling of By Tor and Xanadu is brilliant, By Tor is punctuated by Neil’s precision drumming and the transition into Across The Styx into Xanadu is wonderful, the band’s use of musical technology and ambient instruments like wind chimes make for a prelude to the mind mellowing journey that lies ahead. Probably my most favorite Rush compositions Xanadu is perfection and when listened to today, sounds as if it could have been written years before it was by the English Prog giants and still sounds as fresh and excited today as it did then. The song abruptly ends during the last seconds of the song and catches the band by surprise, Ged tells the audience “Well we seem to have a power failure”. The rowdy fans in Boston fill in for a few minutes while the issue is dealt with and they return with Something For Nothing, again the use of synthesizers adds a new dimension to the metallic classic from 2112.

Rush would perform the entire Hemispheres record on this tour (well most of the tour) and the first of the new songs is the whimsical tape of feuding topiary, The Trees. The song is quite powerful live, the use of Taurus pedals makes for a heavy bottom end and the song contains all the elements of their progressive styles in a short, tidy composition. A soundscape transitions the song into Cygnus X-1, someone close to the taper remarks “It looks like a movie set…” in awe of the visual and lighting. Just as close to my heart as Xanadu (no pun intended), I frickin love this song, the bombastic riff is so heavy and the precision of the group is incredible. The band has been playing a truncated version of the song on the R40 tour, something that makes you want to scream in pure pleasure! Geddy’s introduction to Hemispheres must have caught Dan by surprises as he knows he does not have enough tape left to capture the entire 18 minute epic and does a quick tape flip from :08 to :34 mark, the gap is filled with the Frankfurt 5/28/1979 soundboard, the splice is seamless and well handled, although the use of the soundboard is a testament to quality of the recording but I may have chosen an audience recording like Chicago or Vancouver. Let’s pause for 18 minutes to listen….. Ah, the intricate and mechanical Hemispheres is wonder live and one must listen unbothered to really grasp the full scope of the music. It segues nicely into Closer To The Heart to end the first disc and we can take a collective breath.

The second disc begins with something “from Hemispheres…this is called Circumstances”, short simple yet heavy as hell is circumstances yet sadly the song would not make the long haul on the tour, it would be dropped for the UK and European dates. The song could pass as something from their earlier works like Fly By Night or 2112 as it is Rush at its hard rock best. A Farewell To Kings follows, like Circumstances is very heavy and most English sounding. After the two short songs, the band and listener want to stretch out again, the first is the journey like instrumental La Villa Strangiato that comes from direct segue from Kings, you can here some crazed fans in the distance beating on their chairs but the music seems to have a calming effect on them. Clocking in at just under ten minutes the song is musical perfection and the band’s playing on the song seems elevated by its design. Alex’s solo is one of my favorites, so emotive then the other two join in for a riff feast for the ages then Ged’s quick solo bass lines and you can do nothing but get a wide grin.

Just as we catch our breathe the swirling opening of 2112 comes from the vast outer spaces much to the delight of the audience. The band perform a slightly truncated version of the song, they do not play V.Oracle: The Dream (they would not until 1996 Test For Echo tour) and there is a cut in the action from 4:50 – 5:17, again the Frankfurt SB is used and the transition is seamless. The song has lost nothing in the two years since its inception, in fact the playing and use of technology just accentuates it. III. Discovery is melancholy in its simplicity and beauty with sounds of running water as Alex strums the acoustic with a certain innocence. The judgement of IV. Presentation sound almost bombastic as the Elder judge without mercy, destroying the dream. Alex’s solo during the movement is excellent, he lets loose on his wah pedal that seems to express all the anger and strife of the story. The visuals must be something as you can hear the audience react during VI. Soliloquy and the music masterpiece draws to a close with an exciting VIII. Grand Finale with “We Have Assumed Control” echoing over the cheers.

The encores begin with Working Man, a song that gets a huge cheer from the crowd, the classic is a crowd pleaser for sure but it is the frenzied riff of Bastille Day that rips my head off in metallic bliss. The good time feel of In The Mood follows, while not one of the band’s more cerebral songs it certainly makes for a great encore that gets the crowd on its feet. Great concert…but wait we seem to have forgotten something. What most people look forward too in every Rush concert…Neil’s Drum Solo. Introduced as “The lovely Professor on the drum kit” he takes hold of the audience who cheer him on and he gives a lesson is structured rhythm as he moves through many themes both old and current. A Working Man reprise ends the show and we get a bit of ambient outro music amid one punters who wants to go listen to his Led Zeppelin album. Great concert and recording, nice to see it getting its due on this release.

The packaging is full color inserts wonderfully adorned with official style and era graphics and looks like a companion piece to Hemispheres In Frankfurt (Cygnus 019/020), the live shots that adorn the cover and tray liner are excellent and accent the excitement of the music. The cd’s have pictures on them and there is the highly collectable sticker all housed in a slim lined jewel case. Excellent presentation of this material and a just as equally excellent release from Cygnus, lets hope they continue with more Rush releases, there is so much to choose and offer from this legendary act.

Rush - 1974 - The Lady Gone Electric

December 5, 1974
Electric Lady Studios
New York City, NY

The Lady Gone Electric

01. Finding My Way   5:20
02. Best I Can   3:13
03. In The Mood   3:42
04. Anthem   4:39
05. Need Some Love   3:32
06. Fly By Night   3:44
07. Here Again   9:27
08. Bad Boy   6:40
09. Working Man   9:57
10. Drum Solo   2:42
11. Outro   0:36

Recorded at the Electric Ladyland Studios in New York City, in December 1974 in preparation for their first US tour, this sublime Rush performance was given in front of an audience of 8-12 people in the small studio, and thus provides a fine example of this remarkable band's early live sound. This was also the earliest recording made with Neil Peart on drums, Peart having replaced their former skins-man John Rutsy, a few months before this show.
dy rjk
They perform material from their first album and new songs from the soon to be released 'Fly by Night' LP. The show was undertaken to provide a live broadcast for FM Radio, and was transmitted across the airwaves prior to the release of 'Fly by Night'. Neil had only been with the band for a few months at this point, but the playing is tight and precise.

The FBN songs are still coming together, so some, notably "Best I Can", contain some alternate lyrics. The structure of "Fly by Night" is different, with the guitar solo coming after the vocal bridge and a completely different ending. We get a rare treat in "Working Man", when Alex delivers a guitar solo outside of the normal structure of the song. "Bad Boy" is introduced as a Beatles song, although it was originally written and performed by Larry Williams. It's amusing to hear the polite clapping of what sounds like about five or ten folks in the studio. Geddy's soft-spoken comments in between songs are a sharp contrast to the very hard-edged performance. Apparently, several mics were set up around the studio, with only a very basic soundboard feed. The result is a very well-mixed sound - so much so, in places it sounds as though it's lifted direct from the first album.

 this sublime Rush performance was given in front of an audience of 8-12 people in the small studio, and thus provides a fine example of this remarkable band's early live sound. This was also the earliest recording made with Neil Peart on drums, Peart having replaced their former skins-man John Rutsy, a few months before this show. They perform material from their first album and new songs from the soon to be released Fly by Night LP. The show was undertaken to provide a live broadcast for FM Radio, and was transmitted across the airwaves prior to the release of Fly by Night. Neil had only been with the band for a few months at this point, but the playing is tight and precise. The FBN songs are still coming together, so some, notably Best I Can, contain some alternate lyrics. The structure of Fly by Night is different, with the guitar solo coming after the vocal bridge and a completely different ending. We get a rare treat in Working Man, when Alex delivers a guitar solo outside of the normal structure of the song. Bad Boy is introduced as a Beatles song, although it was originally written and performed by Larry Williams. It s amusing to hear the polite clapping of what sounds like about five or ten folks in the studio. Geddy's soft-spoken comments in between songs are a sharp contrast to the very hard-edged performance. Apparently, several mics were set up around the studio, with only a very basic soundboard feed. The result is a very well-mixed sound - so much so, in places it sounds as though it s lifted direct from the first album. 

Rush - 1978 - Oak Oppression

December 2, 1978
Cobo Hall
Detroit, MI

Oak Oppression
Gypsy Eye: GE-183/184

101. Intro 0:40
102. Anthem 4:14
103. A Passage To Bangkok 4:02
104. Bytor And The Snow Dog 5:18
105. Xanadu 12:05
106. Something For Nothing 4:34
107. The Trees 4:37
108. Cygnus X-1 10:14
109. Hemispheres 18:24
110. Closer To The Heart 3:29

201. Circumstances 4:21
202. A Farewell To Kings 5:33
203. La Villa Strangiato 10:04
204. 2112 18:27
205. Working Man 2:24
206. Bastille Day 1:42
207. In The Mood / Drum Solo 7:56

There is a small collective of Rush fans referred to as Digital Reproductions, their task was to locate the best generations of existing live concert tapes and seek out gems hidden in closets or hoarded in trading circles and release them, free of charge by trade, to the fans. Back in 2000 they obtained and released the previously hoarded soundboard from Rush’s concert at Detroit’s Cobo Hall and released it as Buenas Nochas! Motor City. It was an instant hit and would be the source for this amazing release from the kind folks at Gypsy Eye.

Probably the best of the Hemispheres soundboard’s the sound is excellent, well balanced but not without its imperfections The is some tape flutter during the very beginning of Anthem and there is some minor tape fluctuations during the first half of disc 1 and the very beginning of Working Man is missing but other than that we are treated to a full uncut concert in superb sound, this sounds incredible at loud volumes, the audience is very low in the mix but you can feel their presence like the castles in the distance so to speak.

The concert begins with the band warming up over the Wind and Seabirds intro music before the announcers says ” Alright Detroit…lets here it for them…from Toronto Canada…RUSH” and the band lets loose with Anthem. Its a perfect mix of heavy metal fury filled with wonderful time changes, Alex plays a great solo while the rhythm section sounds almost jazzy, Ged also adds some keyboards to the mix. The bands ode to THC is next, A Passage To Bangkok from 2112 is a natural for the live stage. Surprisingly they never played it live back in 1976, the song has a whimsical middle eastern flare to it, of coarse the sound in supplemented by Neil’s use of percussion.

A tale of two monsters is next, By-Tor and The Snow Dog is at this time, a concert staple and is linked with Xanadu in a perfect way. Musically and lyrically they both have some similarities. By-Tor is played with ease and passion, the band have honed it too perfection and have made slight improvements along the way, again Geddy’s keyboard blend perfectly with the Of The Battle section that segues into Xanadu all sounding very mystical. 12 minutes of musical perfection is Xanadu, Ged uses the Taurus pedals to lay a deep low foundation complimented by the moog synthesizer augmented by Neil’s uses of, well everything. Defiantly one of the bands master works of their progressive era and honed to live perfection from the last tour the band are in extreme synchronicity, Alex plays on of my favorite solos, not filled with a multitude of notes he plays a sparse melodic solo to emphasize the mood they created, the although the audience is in the distance they certainly roar their approval.

Something For Nothing has been a stage favorite since its debut in 1976 but it having its last gasp during this tour, it has a poignant lyric but musically does sound slightly out of place among the more complex material the band was creating. So confident in their musical direction the band would play the entire Hemispheres record early in the tour, the first of these songs is The Trees. A lyrical tale of a forest argument the light felt song features some of Geddy’s best bass playing, just listen as he works his fret board ! Great and inspired playing from all, the tale is brought to close with hatchet, axe, and sword. The final stains of the song gives way to the epic space adventure of Cygnus X-1, the song would become the first book and be concluded during the next song, book II. After Terry Browns spoken word introduction Ged starts the music off with his Rickenbacher bass the swirling epic is incredible, again the focus of the three musically is incredible as they head northwest to Pegasus. They bring the story alive with the complex blend of virtuosity from their broad range of instrumentation and the voyage ultimately takes you into the black hole, a spiral sea un ending. The song fades out and cuts back in as Geddy introduces the title track, Hemipheres. The song is an 18 minute musical epic of the mind, extremely complex both musically and lyrically and completely created in the studio, the song would eventually make the band strive for shorter compositions and was the last of their side long epics. The song is broken into six parts, and based upon mans theological discoveries of what is ultimately in ones mind. While writing this review I pulled out my copy and read along withe the lyrics, it gives you a scale on how massive this song is. Geddy spoke about the difficulty he had with the piece and how he struggled with being able to sings the complexity of the words Neil had written, one can easily see why. Musically the song is diverse but a theme runs through it with Armageddon and Cygnus Bringer being the trippy parts, one can almost hear a little of the Grateful Dead’s Dark Star during the latter. The Sphere ends the piece, filled with a more logical view of ones self and musically very light in nature. One song ends, another rises from its ashes and will give the final epilogue in the form of Closer To The Heart. The crowd, although distant sounding, give a huge roar for the song as it already a live favorite. Filled with promise and hope and providing humanity the hope that if all work for the better of all we will ultimately triumph. Neil’s drumming is great during this track, he punctuates the song without over powering it.

The second disc starts with the shortest song in the set, after the epic first half the song gets your head banging. The song has an incredible riff that harkens back to the bands early, Led Zeppelin Jr approach but has a great middle section that breaks it up a little. The song would be performed primarily during the first part of the tour and we are lucky to have a few excellent recordings to enjoy (Tucson 78 is another). The title track from A Farewell To Kings follows, again an upbeat rocker with Alex’s acoustic introduction augmented by Geddy’s keyboards. I love Alex’s solo on this song, sound likes he just joins in with the others then proceeds to tear it up before the band hammers it out.

Musicianship is a cornerstone for Rush, surprisingly they have very few instrumentals, in this reviewers opinion the top of the heap is La Villa Strangiato. The band were obsessed with the song and tried to record it all in one take, due to the complexity of the song and the bands strive fore musical perfection it was ultimately done in three parts. Live they have a little more latitude and live versions of the song are incredible.

One of the bonuses from the Beyond The Lighted Stage documentary is a live performance of this song from the end of the tour at the Pinkpop festival in Holland. It is incredible to watch Alex play this song, a guitar players masterpiece as he is firmly in the drivers seat. The way he builds the solo is incredible (pause to play air guitar), the synergy among the group is unparallel. No lyrics ? don’t need them, the music is doing the talking.

The main set is brought to a close with 2112, one would think that there would be weariness creeping into the performance, this is Rush and they are super human and can keep the pace. The song features the Discovery section in wonderful quality, the sounds of a waterfall accent the music discovery and the creation of music, the section exudes pure, unadulterated joy brought to life via Alex Lifeson. His guitar has a great tone, just a slight bit of distortion and the band soar through Presentation. Neil plays effortlessly, his fills are out of this world, Ged uses some echo on his voice to great effect. Alex plays a great solo, one of my favorites, he uses his wah peddle to get the swirling sound that is used throughout the song. The band lets it all out during Grand Finale, Ged is playing the hell out of his bass as they proceed to hammer the hell out of the main riff before Alex explodes amid a flurry of leads and the Solar Federation taking control.

There is a tape cut after the songs conclusion and Geddy thanking the Motor City. Working Man is cut and the first couple minutes or so is missing, the song picking up as Alex is playing a solo. As usual the song is a vehicle for a medley of older songs, after Alex plays a solo with Ged getting on him with his bass and ultimately goes note for note with him and Alex launches into the rabid riff of Bastille Day. Being encore time the band just goes for it and the song is fast and aggressive and the band goes right into In The Mood from the first record. A live favorite it features Alex doing the back up vocals and of course the “Lovely Professor on the drum kit”, aka Neil’s solo.

The packaging is simple, full color inserts with posed and live shots and some album cover graphics all packaged in a slim line jewel case. Again Gypsy Eye do a good job with this release, they leave the tape alone and offer it up in a nice package. This title can still be found and is a highly recommended title to not only Rush fans, but fans of progressive music would most certainly appreciate music of this caliber.

Rush - 1975 - Northampton 1975

March 11, 1975 
Roxy Theatre
Northampton, PA

Northampton 1975 (Cygnus 031)

01  Intro > Finding My Way  5:55 
02  Best I Can  3:44 
03  What You're Doing  5:07
04  Anthem  4:38 
05  By-Tor And The Snow Dog  10:16
06  Bad Boy  10:07 
07  Working Man > Drum Solo  14:34
08  In The Mood  3:20 
09  Need Some Love  3:49 

Feeling devastated by the news of the passing of Neil Peart of Rush, not only one of the best rock drummers ever, also one of it's best lyricists, and probably one of the most cultured musicians ever. And responsible for me, while still living in Communist Cuba, discovering The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and forever changing my view of the world and firmly awakening my thirst for personal freedom. For that, and putting the idea of Free Will in my mind, dear Neil I will be forever grateful.

In December 2018 Rush fans got an early present as an unknown soundboard of the band’s performance at the famous Roxy Theater in Northampton, PA on March 11, 1975 surfaced and was first shared on youtube and finally to collectors via good ol’ torrent sites. The recording was done by AM radio station WSAN in nearby Allentown, PA and it is from there that our story begins: “The only date record we have is the label on the reel to reel (and the words of the guy who recorded/found it). Neil, the radio station engineer who discovered this, said Rush had an opener named Slim Pickens and they kept the sets shorter at The Roxy to appease the townspeople with the noise and tomfoolery. How much of this is fact is lost in the 43+ years between now and then…at least as far as combing the Internet showed me…There doesn’t appear to be any historical archive of The Roxy and it’s earlier days of musical glory anywhere. So the tape said March 10, 1975 and that’s all I can say…”

So the original date was March 10, 1975 yet once posted on aforementioned torrent site, more information surfaced from someone who was there, user named Blackchevy who had this to say: “Thanks for sharing the flac version. OK, I WAS AT THIS SHOW. The date is March 11th. On the 10th, we were all in our seats waiting for the show to start when an announcement was made that the band’s van broke down on the trip down from Canada. With all their equipment in the van the band were unable to perform that night so we were told to come back tomorrow (the 11th). For those who doubt my story. Listen to what Geddy says on the intro to “Anthem”. He says, “Sorry about yesterday, seems like everyone was against us yesterday”. He was of course referring to the incident I just described. Now I found out that a Budgie show from the Roxy has survived on two reel tapes. Radio station WSAN sponsored these shows. There were always TWO shows since the Roxy only held 300 people. There was a 6:30 show and a 9:30 show. This recording is the 6:30 show. How do I know? Because Geddy, in introducing the song “Bad Boy” (a Beatles cover) asked the audience if anyone had the Beatles LP the song was on. I was the only person (unbelievable) who raised their hand. Geddy saw it and said, “Only one?” The short set was due to the fact that Slim Pickens played for about a half hour (til 7:00). Took about a half hour to take their equipment off & set up Rush’s gear. So they played from 7:30 to 8:30. Now remember, there was a show at 9:30 so they had to get everyone out to let the 9:30 crowd in who were already lined up outside waiting to get in. AGAIN, I WAS THERE. This is how it went down. Believe it or not.” So the date is confirmed as being from March 11, 1975.

This is a significant find for Rush collectors for good reason, save for live dates in support of their first record, recordings from the Fly By Night, Caress of Steel, and 2112 tours are few in numbers so any new recording is much welcomed. Speaking of the Fly By Night tour, there are two previous recordings that circulate. The Agora Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio date on May 15, 1975 was recorded by WMMS and only broadcast tapes circulate, most have a decent layer of hiss and lack dynamics, this recording was pressed years back as Can’t Fight It (Gypsy Eye GE-122). The second is an audience recording from the famous Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada on June 25, 1975, the quality is very good and was pressed on Live Anthem 1975 (Gypsy Eye GE-085).

The recording here is obviously a pre-broadcast tape and is of excellent quality, well balanced albeit a little raw sounding with just a very minor bit of hiss. This recording easily compares with the Cleveland and Electric Lady recordings from 1974 and is easily the best of 1975, when you put this in your player, turn it up as it sounds great at loud volume. The recording begins with the band taking the stage and checking their instruments, the introduction goes like this, “From Toronto Canada, let’s have a warm warm welcome for Mercury recording artists…RUSH” and the band break into Finding My Way. The song from their debut would be the opener for both Rush and Fly By Night tours and for good reason, great opening riff and always a song that gets the hands in the air. The confidence in Neil’s playing of the older material is incredible, he does not over do it yet interjects lots of cool fills and a tightness not previously heard on the studio version. His drumming is key to Best I Can, another of the older Rutsy era songs, one that did not make the debut and thankfully wound up on Fly By Night. Not a complex song structure wise but Peart’s playing makes it sound that way, it’s the drums that really make this one.

The heavy What You’re Doing gets third spot, monster fat riff that sounds recycled from Led Zeppelin II, always been a favorite of mine, Alex just soars on this song, his solo has great support from Geddy and Neil that seem to accentuate all the right spots. What is interesting is that you can hear some electronic effects even at this stage, between a pause break before the finale of What You’re Doing you hear something that sounds like a swirling effect, the band are expanding their musical offering. Gedd speaks on the “incident” prior to Anthem and tells the crowd they are going to play some new tunes, Anthem being the first. Now when one compared the first three songs to this, wow what a change. The first thirty seconds are like a battle cry of the groups more Progressive music style. Full of energy and vigor, the complex musical changes coupled with raw Rock sensibilities with a lyric about self interest make for one of the most compelling early Rush songs, one that would be a stage favorite.

The third new track is the early Prog epic By Tor and The Snow Dog, “A long number, a fantasy I guess about two creatures that uh didn’t get along very well” is Geddy’s intro and we get a quick Neil count in and the song hits like a freight train. Clocking in at just over ten minutes, the clarity of this recording lets the listening really get an idea on the songs dynamics. Geddy’s distorted bass notes are like ying to Alex’s clean guitar yang during the Battle sequence, the perfect precision of the battles end into Aftermath feature a reflective Lifeson and Neil adding lots of little percussive chimes all culminating into the massive drum roll and the brilliant guitar solo of Hymn of Triumph leads to Epilogue, an adventurous journey. Rush’s cover of The Beatles’ Bad Boy had been a regular in the set list for much of the Rush tour, this is the only known version from 1975 as the song would be cast aside for newer Fly By Night material. Alex just rings the hell out this song and the band give it almost a bluesy edge, the high speed ending is intense and leads into an Alex guitar solo that is one of the highlights of this recording. He starts with a flurry of leads before settling down into a trippy effects laded trip that reminds me of Brian May’s solo in Brighton Rock on acid! Neil enters the fray towards the end with a few percussive elements as well, Rush would work on new material and ideas on the road, soundcheck etc, one gets the feeling that this was a work in progress.

Working Man is the culmination of the band’s set, still the show stopper as it allows every band member to get some individual solo acclaim. Geddy really gets some tasty bass licks in and of course Alex is all over the place, solo on top of solo as the band just do some improvisational jamming that is very nice. The song is also the vehicle for the brilliant, early Neil Peart solo, he had his work cut out for him on these early tours, small kits, not as much of his chimes, bells, percussion items as on future tours, this is pure unadulterated drum finesse and power. In The Mood has been an encore stalwart since the early days, once the serious music is finished its time to Rock and Roll and this certainly fits the bill. Need Some Love is the final song of the set, primal Rush at its best!

Cygnus’ packaging is full color inserts and picture CD packaged in a slim lined jewel case, this release uses the Fly By Night cover and superimposes a picture of the band in the foreground and is visually very nice. The pictures the label uses show a young band on the verge of breaking into the big time. Great to see this recording get a release as it certainly deserves one, would be great to see Cygnus release more as they always put out nice product. 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Led Zeppelin - 1970 - Royal Albert Hall The Initial Tapes

Led Zeppelin
January 9, 1970
Royal Albert Hall
London, UK

Royal Albert Hall The Initial Tapes
The Godfatherecords ‎– G.R. 286/287

101. We're Gonna Groove
102. I Can't Quit You Baby
103. Dazed And Confused
104. Heartbreaker
105. White Summer / Black Mountain Side
106. What Is And Should Never Be
107. Moby Dick

201. How Many More Times Medley
202. Whole Lotta Love
203. Communication Breakdown (Longer Version)
204. C'mon Everybody
205. Something Else
206. Bring It On Home
207. Long Tall Sally Medley
208. Communication Breakdown (Shorter Version)

Led Zeppelin’s January 9th, 1970 appearance at the Royal Albert Hall is one of their most important gigs in their career.  This was their first high profile concert in London after Led Zeppelin II displaced The Beatles’ Abbey Road from the number one position in the charts and drew much attention.  The band also understood its significance by professionally filming and recording with the intention of releasing it as a film later in the year.  That plan was scrapped and the footage wouldn’t be officially issued for another thirty-three years.  The soundtrack for a video and a radio broadcast are sources for all of the older releases including the very first on vinyl found in Strange Tales From The Road and The Final Option on RSR International.  On CD the original Tarantura issued both sources on Jimmy’s Birthday Party – The Royal Dragon (Tarantura RAH 1/2 / – / 1995).

Later a much clearer soundboard tape surfaced with “How Many More Times” and the encores that sounded fantastic and was issued on Royal Albert Hall (Red Robin), but running much too slow.  This tape was subsequently used on Historical Birthday (Shout To the Top STTP-034), Strange Tales From the Road (STFTR 001-008).  A nice sounding edit of the two sources was released on Royal Albert Hall 1970(Celebration SOBO-015), running at the correct speed and coming with a VHS cassette with a high generation copy of the then existing footage.  A bulk of this show was finally released by the band in 2003 on the DVD (minus “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” “Long Tall Sally,” and with “Heartbreaker” and “Thank You” only in fragments).  Several years afterwards Empress Valley issued the four-disc Live At Royal Albert Hall(EVSD-421/422/423/424) with an edit of the DVD audio with the radio broadcast on the first two discs and the DVD audio alone on the second two.  The virtue of this set is the debut of the solo in “Heartbreaker.”  However, this set has been described as “a mess” with numerous problems. 

Royal Albert Hall:  The Initial Tapes on Godfather is similar to the second two discs of the Empress Valley set by presenting the soundboard with the edit in “How Many More Times.”  The sound on Godfather is excellent sounding, very powerful, and sounds better than many official releases and is a significant upgrade over EV.  The gain has been increased over the Empress Valley which also raises the level of noise in the quieter passages in the early part of disc one.  This is only really apparent in Robert Plant’s introduction to “Heartbreaker” though and isn’t an issue.

Zeppelin played at the Royal Albert Hall six months before on June 29th, 1969 for the “Pop Proms,” supported by The Liverpool Scene and Bloodwyn Pig.  This was the third show of a short eight date tour of the UK with only Bristol and this show having documents available. A review of this show in the New Musical Express states:  “It isn’t hard to understand the substantial appeal of Led Zeppelin. Their current two-hour plus act is a blitzkrieg of musically-perfected hard rock that combines heavy dramatics with lashings of sex into a formula that can’t fail to move the senses and limbs. At the pace they’ve been setting on their current seven-town British tour there are few groups who could live with them on stage.  I spoke to Jimmy Page after the show and he confessed that the whole band had suffered extreme nerves beforehand, mainly because people like John Lennon, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck had requested tickets.  ‘But it was just like it was at the Albert Hall in the summer,’ said Jimmy, ‘with everyone dancing around the stage. It was a great feeling. What could be better than having everyone clapping and shouting along? It’s indescribable; but it just makes you feel that everything is worthwhile.”  (“Zeppelin Put the Excitement Back Into Pop” N. Logan).

The show begins with the new cover arrangement of “We’re Gonna Groove” which segues perfectly into “I Can’t Quit You.”  Both of these were used on Coda.  The former was treated to a new spaced out guitar solo recorded specifically for the final Zeppelin album, but this is the unedited, aggressive arrangement used to open the show in early 1970 before disappearing forever.  “Dazed And Confused” follows and this sixteen-minute version keep the intensity level up.  Plant includes a reference to “Cocaine Blues” arranged by Rev. Gary Davis, “Hey mama, won’t you come here quick / This old cocaine is makin’ me sick.”

Afterwards Plant says, “this is the second time we’ve been here and I think we had more nerves the second time than the first.  I know I did.  But anyway we got over that with Birmingham Town Hall a couple of days ago where it was quite disastrous.  The people hadn’t seen anything like it before.  That was the attendants first assignment.  Who filled their trousers?”  The recording is cut after the solo but Page includes Bouree.  “White Summer” follows and is a twelve minute masterpiece and this is one of tightest versions on tape.  Listening to the track is mesmerizing and it is easy to get lost in the eastern atmosphere of the music.  It is such a contrast to everything else played and Page comes across as a true virtuoso.

“How Many More Times” lasts twenty minutes even with the band introduction edited out.  Plant get into Neil Young’s “Down By The River” as well as the “The Hunter,” “Boogie Chillun,” “Move On Down The Line,” “Leave My Woman Alone,” and “The Lemon Song.”  The band are so focused that they don’t want to stop playing the song and even Page mentions this in the NME article when he says, “‘We’d actually finished ‘How Many More Times’ and were going into the ‘Lemon Song,’ but the audience was still clapping so we just went into another riff and carried on for a further ten minutes.'”

The long encore section follows and there are some issues regarding the proper placement of “Bring It On Home” in dispute. The Concert Filelists “Bring It On Home” as the first encore followed by “Whole Lotta Love,” “Thank You,” “Communication Breakdown,” “C’Mon Everybody,” “Something Else,” and “Long Tall Sally” and Empress Valley follow this sequence.  (This list is also odd since “Thank You” was played early in the set the previous night and wouldn’t be an encore until the following year). The official Led Zeppelin website claims that “Bring It On Home” was played fourth after “Whole Lotta Love,” “Communication Breakdown,” and “Thank You.”  The official DVD places it as the final encore after “Something Else” and Godfather uses this set list as a guide. All but Empress Valley and Godfather are titles released before the official dvd release of this show.  Overall given the packaging, availability and sound quality, Godfather produced the definitive version of this classic show and is essential to have. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Alpha Omega - 1976 - Alpha Omega

Alpha Omega
Alpha Omega

01. Constellation
02. Silent Voices
03. Sundance
04. Alpha Omega
05. Dawnining
06. Reflections

Bass – Tony Hargreaves
Guitar, Producer – John Bellamy
Percussion – Ray Dick
Saxophone – Dave Brown

Synthesizer – Stephen Maxwell Von Braund

Australian Jazz Rock combo, involving Steve Maxwell Von Braund of Cybotron fame as a guest on Korg synthesizers.The main man for Alpha Omega appears to be guitarist John Bellamy, who's abstract, utterly jazzy plays can be heard throughout the album.In general this is more of a free-form Jazz Rock with some sparse Jazz Fusion vibes and notable synth- and bluesy-driven moves, sax and electric piano also dominate the scene, the outlandish mood all over has some certain charm, but the widely unconstructed pieces tend to bother a bit.

Steven Maxwell, most known for his group Cybotron, also plays synthesizers for this most interesting fusion group. Perhaps Cybotron's Colossus is a good reference, mixing in saxophone lead rock with electronic sequences. Alpha Omega is more rooted in jazz, however, which includes some free blow sax and shredding guitar solos. It's an odd combination. Passport's Infiniti Machine is also similar to this, though for certain more tame. Well worth hearing for the uniqueness factor.

Scarecrew - 2006 - Magical Mind

Magical Mind

01. Eingang (0:39)
02. Der Wahn (3:19)
03. Springtime (2:23)
04. Dronedome (4:03)
05. Mindflowers (4:14)
06. Dreamrock (4:07)
07. Mother Moon (2:53)
08. The Mammoth (1:59)
09. Stardust (10:08)
10. Ancient Lake (6:53)
11. Ausgang (0.39)

- John L(iving) / vocals, jewharp, gong and percussion
- Marty / vocals and bass
- Steve A(quarian) (aka Steve Schroyder) / minimoog and organ
- Ramamurti Gresbek / synthesizer & percussion
- Raffael Schulz / guitar & percussion
- Gene Gross / guitar

Guest musician:
- Chris Eller and Thomas / guitar

An authentic Krautrock along with weird keyboard / organ / Moog works, mysterious guitar discordance, spacey whacked-out synthesizer trippin', and no good voices (lol). Actually SCARECREW were formed as another super Krautrock project by Steve "Aquarian" SCHROYDER (ex-Tangerine Dream) in collaboration with some Krautrockers (Ash Ra Tempel, Agitation Free, etc.), and have released only one album "Magical Mind" veiled in a shocking yellow bizarre sleeve.
From the beginning of this creation (just the first tape effects shot "Eingang"), their German Psychedelic Engine is taken to full power. In every short track (except 10 minute longest one "Stardust") is overflown with guitar dread, percussive dizziness, and Moog madness. In the same vein of Ash Ra Tempel or freakout freeform surrealistic music creators (e.g. Ya Ho Wha 13), massive sound shower breaks our brain out irreversibly. An only-fourty-minute album creation completely makes a hallucinogenic whisper to us.

Evident ritualized songs consist of downtempo trippy ethnicity created by percussion, deformed but energetic guitar explosion or shabby shaggy shouts touched in the head. Intensively they have squeezed some mindtoxic agents into our mind. Electronic drone / percussive line filled with strange tension and modest synthesizer technique here and there should be impressive. Infernal warped voices sound like such an eerie magic spell based upon unpolished percussion and synth / key irregularity. Exactly almost all of German psychedelic essence should be included in this obscurity in a sense.

"The Mammoth" or the longest one "Stardust" reminds me of a leaning toward a French acrobatic Krautrock gem Mahogany Brain, who launches incantation phrases along with unsteady guitar vertigo. It's a mystery such an unnatural psychedelic hideaway can be slip easily into our inner brain. An awesome unknown masterpiece, let me say.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Led Zeppelin - 1972 - Thunder Down Under

Led Zeppelin
Thunder Down Under 

"The Complete 1972 Australian And New Zealand Recordings" 

“Thunder Down Under” (subtitled The Complete 1972 Australian And New Zealand Recordings) is Empress Valley’s newest title – a massive luxury box set containing 20 CDs and 1DVD of – what was told – a complete and comprehensive collection of all available audio and video from Led Zeppelin’s one and only Australia/New Zealand tour that took place in February of 1972. The box itself looks awesome: glossy cardboard hinged set with five individual gatefold sleeves housed inside. For the front artwork, they’ve used fantastic photo from Melbourne gig, showing members playing on the outdoor stage just as the dark stormy clouds started to appear in the sky and bringing some heavy rain. The back has famous Swan Song logo along with album’s title, usual credits (to Mr. Diamond, whoever he is) and EVSD logos on bottom rears (and with another photo in the background). Each gatefold cover is differently titled and contains two versions of each show, presenting basic edit or source mix (version #A) and alternate edit or source mix (version #B). Each gatefold album utilizes Melbourne photos done during the show and before the rain started to drop.

When it was first announced in October 2013, many negative comments started to pop up and many people complained about its content, saying that yet again thislabel is reissuing the old material known from their previous titles, and stolen a DVD shared by the fans throughout the torrent sites. There were also some problems with flawed discs (actually, disc #16 of Sydney show), and replacement copies were quickly released and sent to everyone, who picked up box at its first selease. After some hesitation I decided to get a copy for myself, and I have to say that even if most of this material already surfaced many years ago, the sound quality and completeness of this collection is undoubtedly far superior to every past title containing any of shows included in this box. There are some rumours saying that this time label used a better tapes and mastering and even if this is not true at all, the overall effect is more than satisfying.

So let’s examine this deluxe set disc by disc, also making some recollections from the past and study this wonderful piece of music. Since we have already plenty of reviews describing each of five shows, I’ll concentrate much on technical aspects, and try to make a comprehensive comparison between titles.

 "Shattering Rock Experience"
Adelaide February 19th, 1972

Version A:

101. Immigrant Song
102. Heartbreaker
103. Black Dog
104. Since I've Been Loving You
105. Stairway To Heaven
106. Going To California
107. That Fs The Way
108. Tangerine
109. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp

201. Dazed And Confused
202. Moby Dick
203. Whole Lotta Love

Version B:

301. Immigrant Song
302. Heartbreaker
303. Black Dog
304. Since I've Been Loving You
305. Stairway To Heaven
306. Going To California
307. That Fs The Way
308. Tangerine
309. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp

401. Dazed And Confused
402. Moby Dick
403. Whole Lotta Love

This is the famous Adelaide show, and best sounding tape of all five nights that have surfaced so far from this tour. Adelaide was the second stop (after Perth, which has a tape that hasn’t surfaced yet, according to rumour). The show first circulated many years ago on TDOLZ’s “Oooh My Ears Man” and was later reissued by few major labels, of which worth to list are Equinox’s “Live In Adelaide” (also released as stunning 7 CD box set titled [ sic! ] “Thunder Down Under” and collected everything that was available from the tour at that time), Tarantura’s “Voo Doo Drive”, T2K’s “Voo Doo Drive Version 2004” and EVSD’s “Deep Downunder”. Each of these past titles are quite similar in content and quality except for the EVSD’s “Deep Downunder”, which has some edits from between the songs removed out to present a bit more compact listening. EVSD’s newest version included in the box seems to be a little clearer/brighter, has additional several seconds at the very start of tape and overall the recording sounds freshier. Most likely, they’ve used a newly circulated master clone that was traded just few years ago. Between this and first EVSD title I do hear some noticeable difference in depth, and I am calling the box set version a winner.

The show itself is very powerful, with brilliant versions of “Immigrant Song”, “Heartbreaker” (these two songs are unlikely performed with a long break due to a broken string of Jimmy’s guitar and funny comments from some members of the audience, reporting the devastating level of sound (“ooh my years man!” can be heard just right after the first song, when someone was literally blown away by the large amount of decibels), “Stairway To Heaven”, “Dazed And Confused” (a really furious and heavy version, one of the best from 1972 I think), and “Whole Lotta Love medley”. The only minor of this show are numerous cuts and edits throughout the show that caused the dropping of some Plantations from the set, and omitting (probably) some songs that might be played that evening (“Celebration Day” or “What Is And What Should Never Be” and maybe “Communication Breakdown” as the final encore).

Between both versions, version #A contains literally everything that have surfaced on tape while version #B is very similar in content to EVSD’s “Deep Downunder”, and has some edits removed out from compilation. It’s also worth to say that some of edits that plagued original recording are repaired here in a smooth way, making this show even more interesting.

"So Loud, So Hot"
Melbourne February 20th, 1972

Version A:

101. Immigrant Song
102. Heartbreaker
103. Black Dog
104. Since I've Been Loving You
105. Stairway To Heaven
106. Going To California
107. That's The Way
108. Tangerine
109. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp

201. Dazed And Confused
202. Moby Dick
203. Whole Lotta Love

Version B:

301. Immigrant Song
302. Heartbreaker
303. Black Dog
304. Since I've Been Loving You
305. Stairway To Heaven
306. Going To California
307. That's The Way
308. Tangerine
309. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp

401. Dazed And Confused
402. Moby Dick
403. Whole Lotta Love

The Melbourne show was the first date from the tour that started to circulate amongst the collectors back in the early/mid 1970s, and few vinyl LPs containing first half of the gig in acceptable fair quality appeared just few years after the show. After that, at least three new different source tapes as well as more complete basic source have surfaced, and it’s a hard to say which tape is really complete. At the early 1990s, various labels started to release this show in unique way, and at the end, we have at least a dozen of different titles, and this is probably the most bootlegged date from the entire tour. The most noticeable past versions of this set are: “Acoustically” (TDOLZ), “Count Me Out When It’s Hot” (Cobra), “”Down Under Daze” (Image Quality), “Live In Melbourne” (Equinox; also as 7CD compilation), “Melbourne Masters” (Immigrant), “No Longer Down Under: Live In Melbourne” (Graf Zeppelin), “On Stage Melbourne” (Wendy), “Shivers ‘n’ Shakes” (Red Hot), and “Wet Head Is Dead” (EVSD). Between all of them, no one is truly complete (except for EVSD, Graf and Wendy), and each offers different source mix between at least two or three tape sources. Newly released EVSD title offers almost the same mix as the one found on Graf Zeppelin and Wendy, and is the most complete version of this show so far.

This show was played under very cloudy conditions with rain cutting it short at the end, and was cut short because of thepossibility of electrocution. EVSD used probably four different tapes sources to present a complete concert. Version #A is very similar in content to the versions released by Graf Zeppelin and Wendy (as mentioned) and differs only in very few minor spots (mostly a technical issues). The tape starts with the old “vinyl” source, and then is patched with almost excellent sounding tape, recorded close to the stage and without any serious distortion except for the fact that it sounds a tiny bit weak to me. For the “Rock And Roll” and very start of “Whole Lotta Love” they’ve used another tape that sounds very poorly, lacking complete clarity and it obvious that it was recorded somewhere from the balconies at the end of stadium. Frankly, it lasts maybe within 5 or 6 minutes at all (if count all the minutes used for this particular source) and it doesn’t disturbing overall atmosphere. Very likely, another tape recorder is used for some patches in between the songs but I am not 100 percent sure because when you’re listening multiple source changes, your ears starting to be a bit tired. In opposite, version #B is somewhat much more interesting, at least for someone who’s a mad completist as me. For this version, the label used so called entire “vinyl” source as primary source and used another two (or three?) recorders to patch missing parts in between the songs and for the parts, where basic source tape doesn’t exist (ie. some of “Dazed And Confused”, “Whole Lotta Love” etc.). It is very interesting to hear the whole alternate tape because, even if this source isn’t as clear and dynamic as the one used for the basic version, it allows me to celebrate this date in a much different perspective. Anyway, congrats to EVSD for doing such a great research and – at this point – I must complain on excellent Bootledz site, which states they missed something. (I more believe that some of older titles just faked or repeated some audience parts rather than EVSD accidentally cuts out something, because the same site didn’t say anything bad when referring to Graf Zeppelin/Wendy titles, which are very similar in content to this newly box set and have literally everything in order.) The bad aspect of this version is the fact that they included “Rock And Roll” after “Whole Lotta Love”, which is obviously a big error and I hope that the label will replace this soon with corrected copies of the first disc for version #A.

The show itself starts in with usual medley of “Immigrant Song” and “Heartbreaker” and is followed by good renditions of “Black Dog”, “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and “Stairway To Heaven”. I don’t know why, but for me one of the highlights for this date is acoustic set. The band seems to enjoying themselves much and I have a feeling that night before they were in rush and this night all four members of the group – along with audience – were much more relaxed. The weather started to getting worse as the band went heavily through a great version of “Dazed And Confused”, and near the end it was obvious that the group had to stop the show and wait for a better time. An abrupt version of “Rock And Roll” followed soon and, again, the rain scared everyone during the “Whole Lotta Love” medley, which was shortened “because electricity and water just don’t get together at all”, but even this fact, this concert is really good and worth attention (at least in my humble opinion).

"Biggest Gathering"
Auckland February 25th, 1972

Version A:

101. Immigrant Song
102. Heartbreaker
103. Black Dog
104. Since I've Been Loving You
105. Celebration Day
106. Stairway To Heaven
107. Going To California
108. That's The Way
109. Tangerine
110. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp

201. Dazed And Confused
202. What Is And What Should Never Be
203. Moby Dick
204. Rock And Roll
205. Whole Lotta Love
206. Communication Breakdown

Version B:

301. Immigrant Song
302. Heartbreaker
303. Black Dog
304. Since I've Loving You
305. Celebration Day
306. Stairway To Heaven
307. Going To California
308. That's The Way
309. Tangerine
310. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp

401. Dazed And Confused
402. What Is And What Should Never Be
403. Moby Dick
404. Rock And Roll
405. Whole Lotta Love
406. Communication Breakdown

This show started to circulate back in 2003 as a single, excellent sounding tape, but was very incomplete (missing many songs). In 2010, an alternate and much more complete tape recorder was found, and this time almost entire show was captured. The show was first released exclusively on two premium labels, Akashic and T2K, under the title “Going To Auckland”. This is followed by another three titles, “Live In New Zealand” (EVSD), “On Stage Auckland” (Wendy) and “No Longer Down Under: Live In Auckland” (Graf Zeppelin); each of them mixed both tape sources and are much similar in content. However, each of them focused on first tape source, using alternate recording only to fill gaps in basic source. Newly released EVSD presents two unique source mixes: version #A is somewhat very similar to their predecessors and version #B includes second tape source as its foundation.

Between all of these titles, the quality is much similar; however, once again, newly EVSD title seems to be sourced from freshier transfers and has more depth to me. Also, version #B is much more interesting because it reflects on alternate recorder that hadn’t been in circulation anywhere but on low gens and here is presented in its entirety, what allows me to explore this show in a different mood.

Auckland date is known especially from the fact of being the first and only appearance of the band in New Zealand. Almost 25,000 fans went to see the group and for this groundbreaking event, Peter Grant hired a Zeppelin Express – an exclusive train to bring fans from Wellington up for the show. This is another excellent performance (probably – mostly because of its quality – shares the same top sound with Adelaide and Sydney), showing a very rare early glimpse of Jimmy Page’s creative prowess on stage and Plant’s explicit praise of the logistics of the show. Probably for the first time during this tour a fast and heavy version of “Celebration Day” was performed and in the middle of “Dazed”, Page incorporated opening riffs of “The Song Remains The Same” (back then the song was yet not finished and was only rehearsed under working title, “The Plumpton And Worcester Races” [sic! ] and existed as a spontaneous, loose jam). “Whole Lotta Love” is my all time favorite from the tour, and furious and heavy “Communication Breakdown” is played as a closer to delight of rowdy audience.

"Pop Goes The Showground"
Sydney February 27th, 1972

Version A:

101. Black Dog
102. Stairway To Heaven
103. Going To California
104. That's The Way
105. Tangerine
106. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
107. Dazed And Confused
108. What Is And What Should Never Be

201. Moby Dick
202. Rock And Roll
203. Whole Lotta Love
204. Communication Breakdown
205. Organ Solo
206. Thank You

Version B:

301. Black Dog
302. Stairway To Heaven
303. Going To California
304. That's The Way
305. Tangerine
306. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp
307. Dazed And Confused
308. What Is And What Should Never Be

401. Moby Dick
402. Rock And Roll
403. Whole Lotta Love
404. Communication Breakdown
405. Organ Solo
406. Thank You

For the Sydney show two different tape sources are known to exists. The first tape is only a 40-minute fragment containing “Black Dog”, “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp”, “Rock And Roll” and “Whole Lotta Love” and it was released on Equinox’s “Live In Sydney” (released also as a part of 7CD “Thunder Down Under” set) and on Black Cat’s “Australian Tour Part 1”. The quality is muffled and distant but enough fairly listenable. The second tape surfaced few years after and was taped by Mr. Leo Ishac. It has excellent, wide sound and was taped much close to the stage. Sadly, only equalized transfers are in wide circulation and some of listeners always complained on that fact, saying that the sound is way too much tempered due to process of equalization. On the other hand, this tape source captures almost entire show (minus “Immigrant Song”, “Heartbreaker”, “Since I’ve Been Loving You”, and “Celebration Day”) and was released soon after on “Ayers Rock” by T2K. (Other reports says that the taper recorded entire show, but because of some unknown reasons, he dropped them out from copies he traded over the years.) T2K title is even more tweaked what causing of a rather painful listening experience for this show. Soon after few more labels started to released their own versions, using first (shorter) source to fill gaps in longer tape: “Rumble In Sydney” (Further Along), “Balloon Goes Up On Led Zeppelin” (EVSD), and “On Stage: Sydney” (Wendy). Newly released EVSD title (presented on version #A) uses the same source mix but it seems to be done a little more carefully, keeping everything in right order. Also, for the very first time, the small gap in between “Hello Mary Lou” and “The Rover” in the middle of “Whole Lotta Love’ medley is filled by first tape source, making this ‘marathon’ truly complete. Version #B (similar to Adelaide show) includes an alternate edit, where some of worst cuts are gently eliminated, providing smoother version of this concert.

Sydney show itself is a very strong performance, with many great moments. “Black Dog” is played with fury and impact and “Dazed And Confused” (especially the bowing solo), is a delightful novelty to the provincial punters and this is another great version of this song. “Rock And Roll” is delivered with swaggering fury. Plant reaches the notes the ear expects. Very long and somewhat unique “Whole Lotta Love” and its rock medley, including a fully-realized, instrumental version of “The Rover”, heard years before its official release, is a truly awesome. A great pair of encores (with extremely jammy “Communication Breakdown” and glorious “Thank You”, preceded by organ solo), closing this amazing gig.

"Indoor Farewell"
Brisbane February 29th, 1972

Version A:

101. Immigrant Song
102. Heartbreaker
103. Black Dog
104. Since I've Been Loving You
105. Celebration Day
106. Stairway To Heaven
107. Going To California
108. That's The Way (W/False Start)
109. Tangerine
110. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp

201. Dazed And Confused
202. What Is And What Should Never Be
203. Moby Dick
204. Whole Lotta Love

Version B:

301. Immigrant Song
302. Heartbreaker
303. Black Dog
304. Since I've Been Loving You
305. Celebration Day
306. Stairway To Heaven
307. Going To California
308. That's The Way (W/False Start)
309. Tangerine
310. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp

401. Dazed And Confused
402. What Is And What Should Never Be
403. Moby Dick
404. Whole Lotta Love

At the start I need to say that probably this was the biggest surprise for me, having previously only heard the entire Brisbane show and remembering its poor quality, I was even more happy enjoying the fact that EVSD used better sounding transfers up here. Furthermore, all previous titles offered only single source – and – for the very first time large speed issues that plagued both recordings are finally fixed in excellent way.

For many years only first tape source circulated on silvers, making its appearance on Black Cat’s “Australian Tour Part 2” and “Live in Brisbane” (Equinox; released also on 7CD set titled “Thunder Down Under”). Both titles uses poor sounding and somewhat incomplete tape. Newly released EVSD set includes this tape source on version #A as its foundation and filling missing parts with second tape source, that is released on silver for the very first time. Version #B rely on second tape source as basic tape and uses first tape source in parts, where second tape isn’t available. The quality is still muddy and distant but is much more clear and all issues that were presented on past titles are fully repaired, making listening much more comfortable journey. Even the weakness of the sound couldn’t broke my excitement, since Brisbane show is really worth of close attention.

The concert was the final show of the tour and the only indoor gig of all five dates. In fact, this is excellent, high-powered show in front of another rowdy Australian crowd! The opening numbers are excellent and Robert’s singing on “Since I’ve Been Loving You” is pure emotion and one of the best versions from the entire Australian episode. A restless audience stops “That’s The Way” a minute into the song. After Plant’s seating instructions, they start the song again. “Dazed And Confused” is another long version and “Whole Lotta Love’ medley medley is excellent and contains some really rare inclusions. We can only wondering if the group played some encores, since end of tape captured people leaving the hall but if they did any, “Communication Breakdown” might be the answer (judging their two previous shows, they used this song as a definitive set closer).

Summary: As for any other massive sets, this title is recommended especially for more serious collectors out there. Two versions for each of shows might be a boring thing for less advanced listeners and for those, who cannot afford it, at least one single title for each show can be adapted. The minor flaws here and there (mostly attributed to the Sydney tape and unavailability of raw unprocessed transfer for the Leo Ishac’s source tape) are vastly overshadowed by the excellent presentation and editing work of the sources presented in this box set. Just about all the shows presented here are in either same or improvement in terms of sound quality and completeness over previous releases with EVSD taking full advantage of the very careful mastering technique (making all these shows sounding fantastic, especially Melbourne, where multiple source changes are done in a truly professional way). Furthermore, this box set will probably become highly collectable in years to come, not only because the fact of being strictly limited to few hundred copies only but mainly because of its content as the most complete and comprehensive collection of all these shows (until new tape sources are about to surface someday).