ROLLING STONES - CD
ALTAMONT FESTIVAL

LABEL:
Tarantura TCDALT-1,2/TCDRS-5 1-1,2/TCDRS-5 2-1,2
SOURCE:
Altamont Raceway, Livermore Speedway Dec.6th 1969, Disc Six, Tracks 1 (from 6.55 on)-5 (up to 5.35),6 (up to 2.25 minutes),7: Musicorama Europe 1 broadcast, Dec.69.
FORMAT:
6 picture cds
RUNNING TIME:
77.35/78.56/47.50/34.01/48.17/38.42.
SOUND/SOURCE:
Disc One, Disc Two, Tracks 1-6, 11-23, Disc Three, Tracks 1,7 (from 2.00 on): Audience mono, Disc Two, Tracks 7-10, Disc Three, Tracks 2-16, Discs Five and Six, Track 1 (up to 6.55 minutes) and Track 5 (from 5.35 through the end) and Track 6 (from 2.25 on): Audience stereo, Disc Six, Tracks 1 (from 6.55 on)-5 (up to 5.35),6 (up to 2.25 minutes),7: Soundboard mono. Taper: George B. Feist (Duke) Produced by Zero Fighter at Pignosis
PACKAGING:
Cardboard box holding 6 pages photo book and three 2-discs sets with own gatefold covers. Lim. Edition of 100 numbered copies
 


***image2***

SOUND 9.5 / PACKAGING 7 / PERFORMANCE 9

 
TRACK LIST:

Disc One, Part One, The Day Begins: 1. Radio Report, 2. Report, 3. Doug McKechnie Plays The Moog Synthesizer, 4. Report, 5. Announcement, 6. Report, 7. Announcement, 8. Radio Report, 9. Report, 10. Announcement, Santana: 11. Introduction, 12. Savour, 13. Jingo, 14. Evil Ways, 15. Conquistador Rides Again, 16. Soul Sacrifice, 17. Soul Sacrifice (continued), 18. Percussion Solo, 19. Soul Sacrifice (continued), 20. Violence Interrupt, 21. Soul Sacrifice (continued), 22. Gumbo (cut).

Disc Two, Part Two, Omnibus Disc, Flying Burrito Brothers: 1. Six Days On The Road, 2. High Fashion Queen, 3. Cody Cody, 4. Lazy Days, 5. Close Up The Honky Tonk, 6. Sweet Mental Revenge (Mehtal on cover),   Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: 7. Black Queen, 8. Pre-Road Downs, 9. Long Time Gone, 10. Down By The River, Jefferson Airplane, 11. Sam Cutler s Announcements And Introduction, 12. We Can Be Together, 13. Somebody To Love, 14. The Other Side Of This Life, 15. Violence Interrupts, 16. The Other Side Of This Life, 17. Hells Angels Confrontation, 18. Sam Cutler Intervenes, 19. 3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds, 20. Greasy Heart, 21. White Rabbit, 22. Come Back Baby (cut), 23. The Ballad Of You And Me And Pooneil.

Disc Three, Duke Audience Plus Radio Checked, Version One Rolling Stones: 1. MC, 2. Jumping Jack Flash, 3. Carol, 4. Sympathy For The Devil False Start, 5. Stage Chaos/Announcements, 6. Sympathy For The Devil, 7. Stage Announcements/Chaos, 8. The Sun Is Shining, 9. Stray Cat Blues, 10. Love In Vain, 11. Announcements, 12. Under My Thumb, 13. Announcements, 14. Under My Thumb, 15. MC, 16. Brown Sugar.

Disc Four: 1. Midnight Rambler, 2. Live With Me, 3. Gimme Shelter, 4. Little Queenie, 5. Satisfaction, 6. Honky Tonk Women, 7. Street Fighting Man.

Disc Five, Duke Audience Plus Radio Checked, Version Two Rolling Stones: 1. MC, 2. Jumping Jack Flash, 3. Carol, 4. Sympathy For The Devil False Start, 5. Stage Chaos/Announcements, 6. Sympathy For The Devil, 7. Stage Announcements/Chaos, 8. The Sun Is Shining, 9. Stray Cat Blues, 10. Love In Vain, 11. Announcements, 12. Under My Thumb, 13. Announcements, 14. Under My Thumb, 15. MC, 16. Brown Sugar.

Disc Six: 1. Midnight Rambler, 2. Live With Me, 3. Gimme Shelter, 4. Little Queenie, 5. Satisfaction, 6. Honky Tonk Women, 7. Street Fighting Man.

 
REVIEW:

This set was due to present the 50th Anniversary of the Altamont event and was planned to come out in December 2019 to commemorate it as the box back artwork clearly indicates (Alt. Dec.2019 Tarantura) however, due to unknown reasons it came out in May 2020.

The concept brings to the mind Altamont Free Concert 1969 (IMP N-030) that came out in 2011 for Altamont s 40th Anniversary presenting on the first disc other bands stereo audience recordings, Disc Two and part of Disc Three the Stones performance from a 2 sources mix, then some tracks that come from a different source and others that have been broadcasted on radio taken from an audience source with the bonus of original taper explaining what happened when he was recording; recently another box as released and reviewed here called Altamont The End of an Era which included audio copy of Newsnight 69 that presented songs excerpts in mono soundboard quality and a DVD itself included on Altamont 40th Anniversary called   Altamont Was The Nightmare (IMP N-030). This release seems an expanded edition of the IMP release presenting all the bands that played that night on a 2 cd set as well as 2 versions of the Stones performance, everything taken from the recording done by Duke of the whole festival which has finally surfaced in complete uncut form and allegedly as a 1st generation recording. It is still puzzling how on earth he managed to tape the whole festival without losing power, he may have had a significant amount of extra batteries on hand. It has also to be noted the taper s position which must have been quite close to the PA system as the sound output is excellent.

The first disc has original taper George B. Feist (Duke) reporting in excellent quality with live comments from Altamont from the early morning hours of December 6th, 1969 which include the moog sounds played by Doug McKechnie, a strange character who came to support the electronics being set up with the promise he would have been allowed to play his synthesizer moog (the first ever portable one) to the attending audience. The report continues with the reporter reaching the stage at about 100 yards distance; then we can hear Sam Cutler addressing the audience way before the concert begins asking people to get down from the scaffoldings and not obstruct the way for possible ambulance cars. Other stage announcements to ask people to move away from front stage and to ask people that got lost to come to an igloo looking structure far away from the stage. The report continues with the reporter mentioning an approximate audience of 200.000 people attending the festival as well as the first announcement of Santana taking the stage; often we can hear Duke s comment (outstanding) following a live performance and luckily not in the middle of a song. Trouble happens during Soul Sacrifice which is interrupted by Santana due to violence on stage, the last song Gumbo is cut and fades out. Surprisingly from Track 7 of Disc Two (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) the source becomes stereo, making us assume that previous tracks were unbalanced so that it was preferred by the label to present them in mono, like the Jefferson Airplane tracks. Right through the Airplane set violence erupted, as shown in the Gimme Shelter film, however Sam Cutler intervenes asking everybody but the musicians and 2 of the road managers to leave the stage; he mentions also the Grateful Dead road manager being on stage at the time, meaning that up till then that band was convinced to play, what happened next may have let them change their mind about that. The Ballad Of Me And You And Pooneil is reported on the inside sleeve but not on the box back cover tracking list, missing are The Fat Angel and Volunteers. Discs Three and Four present version one of the Stones set, it starts with Sam Cutler announcement in mono but then from Jumping Jack Flash on it is a stereo recording. Amazingly Brown Sugar is not cut at the end, something that has always been missing so far in the other stereo audience source of this concert; by the way this being the very first live playing of this song that has the best ever Keith Richards opening riff of the song ever played live. Naturally this recording is far from perfect as many times, due to stage issues, the microphone was not pointing at the PA system and thus we hear muffled sounds, however it is a great document of this eventful day. The title of this set (as of the next set, the only difference being version number) is Duke audience plus radio air checked (probably meaning airchecks), which according to Wikipedia are those recorded off-the-air by listeners, using consumer or semi-professional equipment; these airchecks became more common with the advent of commercial cassette recorders and we can assume that the checks are taper s comments that have been included here to offer the most comprehensive document possible; but Version Two discs are longer than Version One counterparts, the first disc source is stereo and presents the longest audience recording of this concert, making one suppose that Version One was issued before and disseminated with some cuts, but this is a great wide stereo recording never heard before that is a joy to listen to; there are also more between songs and audience comments with regards to Version One that seems to have been edited or just missing some recording. However, on Midnight Rambler around 6.55 minutes there is a patch with another inferior (mono) soundboard source to complete the song; same thing, but reversed, happens on Satisfaction where the radio broadcast is supplement by a 2 minute stereo audience and on Honky Tonk Women (from around 2.25 minutes). The radio broadcast was Musicorama from Europe 1, a French AM broadcast, which lasts through the end of the disc; this was already issued on Altamont (DAC 019) but here is in better quality. Personally I d like to hear the whole unedited audience recording betetr, so Disc Five followed by Disc Four presents the clearest image of that fateful night s event.

Packaging is hard to rate, the discs have nice pictures on and each 2 cd set is housed in great picture gatefold sleeves, however the 6 pages booklet is pretty useless with b&w shots and absolutely nothing on the box audio content, the tracklisting of which misses one song and overall there is lack of information on the content. In fact from a look at it, it is impossible to discern why there are 2 versions   of the same sound source, let alone the grammar mistakes as well as wrong timings (it would seem from the gatefold covers info that the 2 Stones versions are of the same length, untrue); a small marketing course could help.

So, i s this box the definitive Altamont recording? Probably not, if we think of the whole raw soundboard that allegedly is around and from which some song comes out once in a while (last one was Midnight Rambler), if ever Sam Cutler will decide to release it; meanwhile this is the best alternative to that, too bad the whole set was just printed in a 100 copies limited edition whose stock seems to be down to 8 copies available as of now.


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Jun 11, 2020 - 12:57:16 PM

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