Sunday, August 6, 2017

FLAC: The Who live in New York 1968 - 2CD - April 5 & 6

The Who 1968-04-05and06 matrix AUD/SBD recording

The composite recording set list from both nights
1. Substitute (AUD – 6th April)
2. Pictures of Lily (AUD – 6th April)
3. Summertime Blues (SBD – 6th April)
4. Fortune Teller (SBD – 6th April)
5. Tattoo (SBD – 6th April)
6. Little Billy (SBD – 6th April)
7. I Can't Explain (SBD – 6th April)
8. Happy Jack (SBD – 6th April)
9. Relax (MTX – 6th April)
10. I'm a Boy (AUD – 6th April)
11. C'mon Everybody (AUD – 6th April)
12. A Quick One (MTX – 6th+5th April)
13. My Way (SBD – 5th April)
14. Shaking All Over (SBD – 5th April)
15. Boris The Spider (SBD – 5th April)
16. My Generation (SBD – 5th April)

What we have on our hands now is a combination of SBD and AUD recordings of The Who's gigs at the Fillmore East on 5th and 6th April 1968.
These recordings were plagued with several technical errors as well as myths accompanying their origin. It is about time to get them straight.

The audience recording, which was not widely circulated, was believed to be from the first show (Friday 5th), while the vastly bootlegged soundboard was mostly said to be from the second (Saturday 6th) show, and as such appears also in Wolfgang's Concert Vault. There surfaced sporadic speculations that it was a composite of the two shows. After checking the facts and running them through a simple logical deduction process, it appears to be like this:

1) The SBD recording clearly consists of two parts, each ending in the middle of a jam after Relax and My Generation, respectively. In the first part (Summertime Blues through Relax) Pete says: "We'd like to play a number now we played for the first time last night... and we dig it...it's pretty slow and... it's a number called Fortune Teller". Therefore it must be from the second show (Sat 6th). This led Scirius who seeded that torrent from a liberated Sunrise bootleg at LongLiveRock, referring principally to the set lists in Joe McMichael & Irish Jack's "Concert File" (which unfortunately are not precise), to conclude that the whole recording is from that night, which he advocated in his torrent description. However, it is only the first part that comes from the second night. In the latter part of the recording (A Quick One through My Generation), in the introduction to My Generation, Pete says: "I gotta admit I'm kinda down tonight...on several things...and uh...most of it is being kicked out of three hotels in one day...kinda thing...", referring to Moon's cherry bomb antics due to which they were kicked out of the Gorham and Waldorf Astoria (and probably a third hotel as well) on Friday 5th. Pete with his fiancée Karen Astley stayed at the apartment of his friend Tom Wright, while the others slept on the tour bus. This was due to a problematic situation in the city after the assassination of Martin Luther King in Memphis on 4th April (explosions of Moonie's cherry bombs, which he was throwing into the streets right out of his Astoria window this time, were less than welcome under such circumstances and no hotel in town wanted to admit them). Another indicator of the date could be Pete's comment at the end of A Quick One: "That certain person that shot that certain person is forgiven". (The MLK shooting was the topic of the day in the news, most venues in the city closed down to avoid disturbances, the Fillmore remained open but combined two concerts scheduled for the day into one at a financial loss. This seems to be Pete's hint on the situation.) So this attests to this second bit being from the first night.
2) The AUD recording contains 7 songs, 3 of which coincide with the contents of the soundboard bootleg. The interesting fact is that while the version of Relax is identical with that of the boot (and continues for 3 more minutes after the SBD recording is faded), the other two – A Quick One and My Way – are not. The obvious explanation is that the audience recording is from the second night (Saturday 6th).
The audience recording from Relax onward is a clear continuation of the second night, yet the second part of the SBD recording has different versions of A Quick One and My Way; therefore the two SBD parts cannot stem from the same night and the latter must be from the night before.

The set lists on those two nights would probably be similar and therefore look like this:
Friday 5th April
Although the individual songs played and their order are not 100% certain, it is very likely that the set preceding the survived recording contained:
Substitute, Pictures of Lily, Summertime Blues, Fortune Teller, Tattoo, Little Billy, I Can't Explain, Happy Jack, Relax, I'm a Boy, (C'mon Everybody is uncertain, probably not played on that date) followed by: A Quick One, My Way, Shaking All Over, Boris The Spider, My Generation

Satuday 6th April
Substitute, Pictures of Lily (cut after the song), Summertime Blues, Fortune Teller, Tattoo, Little Billy, I Can't Explain, Happy Jack, Relax (cut after the song), I'm a Boy, C'mon Everybody (cut after the song), A Quick One, My Way, most probably followed by: Shaking All Over, Boris The Spider and My Generation

3) Of course, there may be objections against these arguments, e.g. that the Concert File features different set lists (claiming that My Way was not played on Friday, yet there are evidently two versions as the AUD and SBD recordings differ), but those are based only on presumptions or rather "myths" about the origin of these recordings.
4) The German "Concert Guide" website, which can be relied upon in many aspects (but by far not all), even mentions a gig at the Fillmore on 4th April, with Summertime Blues and My Generation in the set list. This would move all the dates into a very different perspective, but that show and set list are not confirmed and Thursday 4th is not mentioned either in the Concert File or Anyway Anyhow Anywhere (which is probably the most reliable source as far as The Who's chronicles go because its authors had access to the updated information in the band's archives). Quite a heavy argument against the gig on Thursday 4th is a period poster for the Fillmore gigs, which mentions only those double shows on 5th and 6th (as featured in Wolfgang's Vault), therefore anything else is very improbable.
5) The audience recording is cut a few times in between the songs, so it could be argued that it may also consist of different parts recorded on different nights, but that is rather unlikely. The recording sounds quite even all the way through. In those days both the taper and/or the band would not easily have kept the same volume levels from one day to another, and the taper standing on just a slightly different spot on the next day would very likely have got a different sound. It sounds like a one-day recording to me. (The missing songs are a bit of a mystery. But looking at the matter from the logical point of view, it is not so surprising. It looks like there were no other songs played between Pictures of Lily and Summertime Blues, at least judging by the San José show with a similar set list. It seems that somebody copying the audience recording from a master tape simply omitted the songs, which were available in better quality from the soundboard source, while keeping Relax because it was complete in the audience version. Wouldn't you?)

Sound corrections:
1) The usual Who sound panorama features Pete stage-left and John stage-right (opposite from the auditorium). However, this is reversed both on the bootleg and in the stream available from Wolfgang's Concert Vault. It was easily repaired by channel swapping.
2) Both end segments of the soundboard recording on the bootleg feature tape speed problems, Relax a lot more than My Generation. The last approximately minute and a half of Relax starts to slow down gradually and the pitch bends by about a quarter-tone. This was discovered when I tried to patch the missing 3 minutes of Relax with the audience recording (otherwise one would hardly notice). The stream at Wolfgang's Vault does not suffer from this problem, so it probably arose while the bootlegger was copying the tape from the master on inferior equipment. It was corrected (though not so easily) by gradual pitch bending and speed adjustment in Soundforge. The end of My Generation suffers with this problem much less, for only about last 30 seconds and the deviation is hardly noticeable, becoming evident only at the moment when the sound starts to fade, so I decided to let it be. What teases the ear much more is the fact that while copying from the master the bootlegger probably had the input levels too high with the controls going to the red all the way through, so the sound is a bit hot at times, which simply cannot be corrected here. The sound at Wolfgang's Vault is not so drastic. There used to be a boot floating around drawn from the WV stream, which (although derived from a lossy source) could actually sound better than this recording, but yet it suffers of all the inadequacies mentioned above (and below) except the tape speed problem.
3) In My Way there is a slight cut/skip (not really a drop-out because about a second is actually missing) in the second chorus, probably comes already from the master tape because it appears on the Wolfgang's Vault material, too. It felt so annoying that I could not help it and patched the gap with the same section from the first chorus. I wonder if anybody would notice, hadn't I made this note.
4) The volume level of the audience recording had to be increased to approximate that of the soundboard recording.

This said, here you get a set consisting of a mixture of audience and soundboard recordings from Saturday 6th for the most part, ending with a soundboard bit from Friday 5th.
What is missing from the available sources is the major part of Relax from the Saturday audience recording, which is identical with and replaced by the better-sounding soundboard recording, and the second half of A Quick One and the whole of My Way audience recordings, which are replaced by better-sounding, yet different versions taken from the Friday soundboard recording.
You can get the complete aud recording at Dime and have the matrix recording on one disc and the audience recording on the other.
I have also added some artwork. All photographs, however, come from a photo session at Fillmore WEST on 22nd February (a mere 6 weeks earlier). Only the classical "Kids Are Alright" shot was taken on the foot of Grant's tomb, Manhattan, in the morning of 5th April.

The corrected soundboard recording from the Fillmore appears here in its entirety, but it is interspersed with the audience recording segments. Despite the fact that the recording comes from two nights, consisting of elements of different audio quality, it offers you a nice picture of what a full night at the Fillmore with The Who could sound like. Enjoy!

Download this bootleg here
                   

No comments:

Post a Comment