This release offers a very nice matrix job which created the possibility to listen to the famous Stones Oakland 69 2nd show recording in stereo for the very first time; this meticulous work, accomplished thanks to 21st century technology used by Nite Owl Production is presented along a
tasty artwork and with special acknowledgements that go
to: Bill Graham, David Byrd, Greil Marcus (Rolling Stone) and Chris Menicou (www.rollingstonesnet.com). Special thanks – Dub Taylor, Ken Douglas, and the other anonymous taper(s); extra special thanks -
watchit and ldb001 and others who circulated the copies.
Sources for quotations:
LIVEr Than You
Be: The Rolling Stones in Concert by Greil Marcus. ROLLING STONE (February 7th, 1970).
BOOTLEG: The Secret History of the Other Recording Industry by Clinton Heylin (St. Martin s Press, 1995).
This audio experience is really superb and shows what can be done, although through the complex effort that is explained below, in order to realize something peculiar which, that is quite sure, will be copied by some Japan shark in the near future and sold as an original product
maybe in coincidence of the 50th anniversary of the show, without giving credit to the real creator who made this work available on the well known Stones forum IORR. Packaging is very nice with a great photo on the background cover and the reproduction of the original poster for adverting the show and even disc label artwork to be
printed , although a more specific front cover with band s name and location, highlighting the word stereo, would probably have been preferable.
There are 4 attachments to the package, had there been no explanation
maybe a 21ST Century Greil Marcus could have believed it to be an original stereo recording that just surfaced; let s now read what Nite Owl Production notes say about this release:
Shit, hang on a minute. Can you hear that? Keith, play a bit ...
So commenced side A of what is the original and arguably the most infamous rock bootleg. Half a century later, the Stones electrifying West Coast performance of the 1969 U.S. tour, captured on tape the night of November 9th
in Oakland, still captivates. In a review
on the pages of the then recently inaugurated Rolling Stone magazine, reviewer Greil Marcus waxed poetic on the merits of the live LP which had been illicitly issued soon afterwards:
[LIVEr Than You'll Ever Be], as a bootleg disc and as pure music, is almost unbelievable. It captures every thrill of the Stones live on stage, 1969, and in
fact it offers more, in some ways, than the concerts did -- because it sounds even better. The turn-around violence of their sound, the ripping hardness of the guitars, and the energy of the rhythm section is all here. [...] All qualifications aside, it is the ultimate Rolling Stones album.
As a response, an authorized live album culled from the following New York dates of the tour was eventually released in 1970 as Get Yer Ya-Ya s Out! While an exciting document in its own right, the official LP cannot supplant the bootleg recording; not even in its more recent deluxe edition, augmented by an EP of additional bonus tracks. While a complete and authentic enough 1969 concert of sorts can be culled from these professional Madison Square Garden recordings, by combining the original Ya-Ya s album with these bonus tracks slipped in their proper places at the set list ( and that is what the Complete Get Yer
Ya Ya s Out was, Note: not in the original text), the result in some respects still pales by comparison to the Oakland show -- which incidentally was the longest of the tour.
For one, the released New York (bonus) version of I m Free is only a half-hearted jam tacked onto the end of Under My Thumb, completely superseded by the fully realized Oakland rendition, which is the definitive performance of the song, with Mick Taylor in fine form -- not to mention his stellar soloing in Robert
Johnson s Love In Vain. As Marcus also pointed out, the Oakland performance of Midnight Rambler is another stone cold
classic, and wipes the floor with the original studio cut. Nor was Gimme Shelter played in any of the MSG concerts. Considerations of high-fidelity sound quality aside, the unauthorized and raw -- liver -- recording remains essential listening. Maybe it truly is the ultimate Rolling Stones album?
Fortunately, as many as three different tapes of the Stones second Oakland concert, or their progeny
at any rate, have survived in some form in the half a century which separates this newly re-created first-time-in-stereo album from the performance. All three, however, suffer from problems of various kinds.
Our main source is the classic recording made by Michael Dub Taylor for the historic TMOQ bootleg discussed above, subsequently re-issued in myriad forms. As is well-known, Taylor had the ingenuity of using a Sennheiser 805, also known as a shotgun microphone, plugged into
a Uher Report 4000 reel-to-reel recorder. Pointing it to the stage and in particular toward the drum set, he managed to capture the Stones in concert very well, all things considered. (Mastering of the LIVEr bootleg LP by a big-time legitimate recording engineer -- allegedly David Axelrod -- may have fooled Greil Marcus into thinking it was a stereo rather than a mono tape. He also reviewed the LP sides in the wrong order, which is not too surprising given the minimal packaging of the product.)
In fact, Taylor captured nearly all of the show -- except that, unfortunately, the first half a minute or so of Under My Thumb was missed, probably due to a delayed reel change just after I'm Free. (The Uher would have used small 5 inch reels running at 7½
ips with 20 or so minutes on them per side. No other tape flips are readily evident on the TMOQ source.)
From BOOTLEG: The Secret History of the Other Recording Industry by Clinton Heylin (St. Martin s Press, 1995): We taped six Stones concerts on the West Coast, two in LA, two in Oakland, one in San Diego and one in Phoenix. The one we used, which became LIVEr Than You
ll Ever Be, was the second Oakland show. It was taped between two and five in the morning. [Taylor, quoted by Heylin].
s master tape has not come down to us (and would by this point probably have deteriorated in any case, if it still exists), but it is substituted by a low, quite likely 1st generation copy, almost as good as the real thing. (Such copies of several original TMOQ tapes now circulate.) This, too, has been bootlegged, but no truly satisfactory representation has so far appeared on commercial disc.
The opening number, Jumpin Jack Flash also suffers from multiple problems at various points which have been characterized as level settings or volume fluctuations but may actually be deficiencies of the original tape medium, which at those points presumably failed to record most of the signal (nor was Sam Cutler s introduction before the song captured). It was due to these issues that the song was not used on the original bootleg releases of the concert; instead, the TMOQ label opted to start LIVEr with Carol. Several subsequent discs have attempted to salvage the track by addressing these short but problematic sections in various ways, usually by patching from an alternate recording. The captured portion of Under My Thumb also contains a segment where the quality drops, but the flaw is much less
severe, and can be adequately compensated with digital restoration -- unlike the worst cases during Jumping Jack Flash, which can only be smoothed over a bit.
Minor tape dropouts and other damage also exist here and there (whether part of the master before it was copied or the copy tape is not relevant). Some of these were less severe on another strain of the tape and were seamlessly patched from that source. Other problems of the TMOQ tape which have been here corrected include occasional clapping of hands close to Taylor s microphone (removed manually if laboriously with click restoration tools; listeners are welcome to supply their own instead) and the fact that the acoustic set was effectively captured at a lower volume level -- that is to say, with higher noise floor. General compensation was performed to account for (slight) changes in gain level, sometimes inside songs, to bring the volume to smooth and equal footing across the show. Aside from these details, the audio quality varies somewhat across the TMOQ recording, and some of the songs sound a tad muffled and less clear compared to others. Love in Vain, following the acoustic set and played at an ideal volume may be one of the songs captured best, while Satisfaction, the inevitable crowd favourite, and Street Fighting Man, the final song, perhaps the worst (aside from Jumpin Jack Flash). Blown guitar amps, the PA struggling under higher volume, rowdier audience reactions, and purposeful distortion may each have partially contributed to these sonic qualities.
For many years the TMOQ recording was the only widely available source for (almost) the whole show. Belatedly, a second audience recording, made with unknown equipment by an anonymous person, came to light from its reel master. It is not quite as stellar as the TMOQ source, but still a very good recording for its time, and luckily mostly complete. This alternate source contains Jumpin Jack Flash and Under My Thumb unscathed, but instead lacks the majority of Live with Me, likewise evidently due to a tape change, as well as the introduction (except narrowly its very end). This tape fades out just before the ending music from PA, the beginning of which can be heard on Taylor s recording.
A third source is the soundboard tape which was aired from Fillmore Archives on FM radio on October 28th, 1972 (or actually the early morning hours of the next day), as part of the program KSAN presents Bill Graham, subtitled: A-three-day trip back to the good old days. Graham s actual reel, or even a copy of it, does not appear to have survived, but an off-air copy of the FM broadcast does. While one is duly grateful for its existence and although it is ultimately an inline recording, the fidelity of this adulterated source thus leaves much to be desired; it is certainly not of releasable quality comparable to the official Ya-Ya s LP, or even to the TMOQ bootleg. Adding to our troubles, only nine of the sixteen songs were broadcast by Graham (Sympathy through Love in Vain from the first half, and Live With Me through Satisfaction from the second), with the banter between the songs also cut. Regrettably, Under My Thumb was not among the songs broadcast, assuming it even existed on the source tape which was aired.
It is not known whether Graham s version was derived from a multi-track tape of some kind (made at the behest of the Stones or the film crew) or a direct mono (or stereo) mix; probably the latter. If we are to believe a statement released by ABKCO after the release of LIVEr, made in anticipation of Ya-Yas and to combat the claims that the bootleg originated from authorized tapes, only the Baltimore and New York shows by Rolling Stones were captured on multi-track and no tapes were made on West Coast.
Again from BOOTLEG book:
We loved it when they said that LIVEr was recorded on multi-track backstage and all that stuff ... we got a big kick out of that one. It was just the Sennheiser shotgun pointed at the PA system.
Usually I would point it at the drum set. I wanted to get the cymbal sound and usually the PA would fill in around it and generally it was so directional that it would go over people s heads, so it
didn t pick up too much audience. It was the perfect
mike for that purpose. I had it anodised black ... so it
wouldn t reflect light and
couldn t be seen in the dark. [Taylor, quoted by Heylin].
version the restored TMOQ source has been used for the left and the other audience tape for the right channel of the stereo image, respectively, with the low bass frequencies centred. As no two independently recorded analogue sources will run constantly at the same speed, even after overall correction, the alternate source had to be manually and painstakingly synchronized to the TMOQ recording by adjusting its tape speed in short sections to match, avoiding them drifting in and out of sync.
As for the incomplete songs, the soundboard (Bill Graham s) tape has been used for the right channel of Live With Me by necessity (throughout, to avoid a distracting change in sonic quality mid-song). As noted earlier, multiple sources exist only for the latter half of Under My Thumb, so perforce it is here partially represented in mock-stereo, by the alternate audience recording running alone for roughly the first half a minute.
The soundboard/KSAN-FM tape has additionally been utilized to reinforce the centre channel during the two acoustic numbers, where the audience sources are, even together, weaker and more distant than otherwise. For the other tracks, however, this trick was not found to be feasible. The hiss level goes noticeably up during the two songs, but we think Prodigal Son and You Gotta Move, at least, may be found to sound superior to other releases of the show. While the temptation was there, digital noise reduction has not been used.
Other smaller gaps between the two mono audience sources could be restored and edited with the reconstructed stereo image remaining more or less intact. The channel separation may not be nearly as great as could have been achieved by mixing from a true multitrack recording; nevertheless, we believe the effort, with increased ambience and at times greater clarity achieved, has been worth the effort, which was not inconsiderable.
Finally, to set the scene and the concert in motion better, we have also taken the small liberty of editing in Sam Cutler s introduction (but not the preceding apologies for
delay) from Dub Taylor
s tape of the first Oakland show.
Here is the review of the bootleg
LIVEr Than You
ll Ever Be: The Rolling Stones in Concert
by Greil Marcus. From ROLLING STONE February 7th, 1970. Note that he mistook Side One for Side Two, but that
happen because of lack of information on these first printing disc labels, as for his claim that it is a stereo recording explained above.
The bootleg Stones album, made up of performances from the second show at the Oakland Coliseum, was almost inevitable, and it, like the Great White Wonder LPs, seems to be from Los Angeles, which at the moment appears to be holding down the title of Bootleg City.
How it was recorded is a more interesting question, though, because the sound quality is superb, full of presence, picking up drums, bass, both guitars and the vocals beautifully. The LP is in stereo; while it doesn't seem to be mixed, the balance is excellent. One of the bootleggers says the recording was done on an eight-track machine; brought in a briefcase, perhaps
?, not to mention that this is a very loud album. From a little hide-away microphone in someone s lap? Not too likely. So these may
in fact be tapes that were made on stage by someone involved in setting up the Stones own sound system. Whatever and however, the album, as a bootleg disc and as pure music, is almost unbelievable. It captures every thrill of the Stones live on stage, 1969, and in
fact it offers more, in some ways, than the concerts did -- because it sounds even better. The turn-around violence of their sound, the ripping hardness of the guitars, and the energy of the rhythm section is all here.
Jagger himself emerges as perhaps the most imaginative singer we
have, if we
didn t know it already. He outdoes himself, and Let It Bleed too for that matter, on the stunning version of Love In Vain that opens the LP. Mick Taylor s solo is classic. This, like the whole first side, it seems, was from Oakland. Then Midnight Rambler. This recording demonstrates that this song was an epic on stage and a rather flat performance, really nothing more than an idea, on Let It Bleed. The song needs the crowd howling in between the lines, and the band is alive, tough and mean. Given the other version we have of Midnight Rambler, this may be the most valuable cut on the album. Little Queenie is next. All the songs (but this one) are available on legitimate albums, sniffed Billboard. Mick introduces this number: Here s one from when we were all, uh, falling outa our cradles. And as they move into Chuck Berry s jukebox anthem, Mick quotes the master and says its all:
it s a slow song, well, omit it
it s a rocker, get down and get it
it s good,
she ll admit it
m on Queenie, let s get with it!
Then: Cmon San Francisco, let s see how you can shake yo
C mon, let s get it on! The cheers build, and they hit the crowd with Honky Tonk Women. Again, they simply outdo themselves. Just after the second verse, the one about I saw him on the boulevards or Paris/as naked as the day when I will die, Mick pushes Keith into a chorus: Alright, now go! Go! Go! Go!
The band is hard, with so much metal in their sound they might be some sort of long-haired construction crew. They end the side with Street Fighting Man. The lights had been on for a while when this was recorded, and you can hear the crowd at the edge of the stage. The first moments of this cut have an excitement that is devastating, Keith riding the first line of it and then lifting it all into place with one motion. This song seems louder than any of the others on the album -- Mick fighting the band for control, it seems, the music pounding, driving, stunning. I just don t believe this one at all.
Side Two: Carol is a gas; Gimme Shelter has a magnificent and committed vocal from Jagger, though the rhythm section is not nearly as strong as on the version from Let It Bleed.
It s hardly a bad cut, though. Sympathy for the Devil is perfect; the slowed-down arrangement they used in concert, Mick sounding alternately terrified and masterful, the two guitars combining in a brilliant show of force. Just before I m Free, something weird happens: Jagger imitates Dylan from the basement tapes, hoarsely whispering:
Waitin on you,
waitin on you. Maybe they knew it was gonna be bootlegged all along. The album closes with a fine Live With Me -- and then you go right back to the first side and play the grooves off of it. All in all the LP is nearly fifty minutes long. It is the most musically exciting record I have heard all year, fully the equal, in its own way, of Let It Bleed, and in some ways better. All qualifications aside, it is the ultimate Rolling Stones album.
There is only one thing that could top it, and if that s to happen, the Stones will have to show they have the guts we
ve always given them credit for: issue, as an official album, an unedited tape of their performance at Altamont. Maybe they will do it.
There is only one thing missing in this whole package that could be interesting to know: how long did it take for this massive restoration job? In the label words: Now, without any further ado ... play it LOUD and enjoy!