As if the holidays aren't difficult enough! You turn to your hobby for solice and
what do you get?...the added pressure of having to actually sit down and choose
your Top Ten Bootleg Titles for the past year! My selected titles are below.
The rules are wide open and you will see a variety of lists from your fellow members below.
Feel free to do your favorite artist, or artists, exclusively. Make separate Top Ten's for
both CD and DVD releases, etc...your choice. In some cases, you may see some titles
from 2004 mixed in. Sometimes it takes awhile for releases to make it around the globe.
Oh well! Again, thank you very much to everyone for another fun year of collecting and
special thanks to those below who took the time to share their thoughts on what titles rose
to the top and are worthy to recognize in the HotWacks On-line Top Ten for 2005 Forum.
December 26, 2005
Here are my Top 10 Bootleg DVD Titles for 2005:
1. "Secrets Revealed" 2DVD, Watchtower
Led Zeppelin, first Knebworth Show on August 4th, 1979. The premier release of
this complete show in superb proshot quality and soundboard audio. An excellent
return to the stage and just a great document to expand on the official "DVD".
Could have and should have been on just a single DVD as the technology exists,
right Boogie Mama?
2. "The Who: The Summit 1975 30th Anniversary Edition", DVD, 4Reel Productions.
This is the one that started the sourcing and upgrade buzz this year. The title utilizes
master proshot sources for both the Houston and Pontiac Silverdome '75 sources, which
are stunning and powerful. Then we get a handful of bonus clips to boot! Absolutely
brilliant. And oh yeah, nice flippin' Digipack too!
3. "The Genuine Telecasts 1963-2002", 8DVD Box, Scorpio. Bob Dylan Box Set.
Menu botches aside, this is simply the must-have piece for Dylan collectors due to the
consistent quality throughout and the clever vintage packaging. A conversation piece on
many levels and what "collecting" is all about. Enterprising Dylan collectors took matters
into their own hands with this piece and re-constructed the menus. An ambitious and
wonderful set from Scorpio even though it really only takes us up to the year 2000!
4. Tie: > "Isle Of Wight 1969", 4Reel Productions. The Who: a classic bootleg effort
packed with value for the Who connoisseur in all of us! An hours' worth of previously unseen
'69 IOW pro-shot footage, plus an hours' worth of their Woodstock peformance from the
mastertape of a single camera situated at stage left, plus a few bonus video clips, plus a
bonus CD of another 1969 classic show from The Boston Tea Party. Incredibly well thought
out and nicely themed!
> "Pink Floyd Archives Volume One: Mind Your Throats Please", The Pink Floyd
Archeolgical Society. This choice comes down to a somebody recognizing and obtaining
such excellent historical video and coming up with a fabulous themed idea! Personally,
I think it could have been expanded on a bit further with the bonus features but it's simply a
very cool document of early '70's theatrical production Pink Floyd. Big kudos here.
5. "Heavy Metal Kids", 3DVD, Empress Valley. Led Zeppelin live at Earl's Court on May
24th & 25th, 1975. An upgraded video from the 24th with new footage of "Moby Dick", plus
the incomplete video from the 25th in a deliciously styled foldout digipack. All proshot and
soundboard. The complete, classy piece a collector can obtain at a "reasonable" value and
is proud to own.
6. "Get Back - Winter Of Our Discontent", 2DVD, Picture Perfect. A late '05 Beatles
release and it's a sure winner. DVD 1 is not only picture perfect but superbly synched to
available, robust soundboard audio from the January '69 sessions and rooftop concert,
sequenced to match the "Let It Be - Naked" releases. Simply the best I've seen and heard of
this material, period. Another must-have.(DVD 2 is simply a bonus to the party and shares
footage that Silent Sea included on their nice "Filmology Volume 3" DVD title of the Get Back
Session outtake reels.)
7. "Non-Fiction Volume 1", DVD, Roadside Tragedy. The best Black Crowes compilation I've come
across yet. While this production does piece together easily obtained TV performance footage,
the crown-jewel here is the Greek Theater production from 2001 that appears to have been
broadcast on Japanese Cable TV. Great stuff housed in a beautiful foldout Digipack, sho 'nuff.
8. "Seattle Supersonic", DVD, Digital Line. The superbly married Rolling Stones proshot footage
from the Seattle Kingdome on October 15th, 1981 with the stellar soundboard audio that surfaced
just after the Cosmic Energy folks put their DVD title out a couple of years ago. It's a great
production that captures one of the better '81 shows that doesn't resemble the official "Let's Spend
The Night Together". A big thanks for this one!
9. "Masters Of The Hippodrome", DVD, Genuine Masters. Vintage 1977 AC/DC in the most superb
video and audio. The only issue is the length of this program, clocking in at about 42 minutes.
Short but suhweeeet! A perfect capture from the masters of production, more of this please.
10. Tie between 2 Silent Sea DVD Productions:
> "The Vertigo Tour: Live In Glendale", U2. The first of some wonderfully produced
audience videos from Silent Sea. They have connected with a master video editor to skillfully
toggle between two audience camera footage that is accompanied by beautifully captured and
atmospheric digital audience audio.
> "The Rolling Stones Live At Madison Square Garden, September 13th, 2005". This one
gets the same treatment as the U2 piece. It's the stellar audio production, combined with some
of the best editing of amateur video I've ever seen...and makes these releases nice acquisitions.
My Top 10 Bootleg CD Releases for 2005 are:
1. "Goin' Back To Canada" 1CD, Aurora Borealis. A flawless Neil Young
acoustic performance captured in nice soundboard quality. Simple, elegant and
tight. Near perfect? I'd like to think so. A nod to Zion for their version as "Neil
At Massey Hall" but presented in a more generic fashion.
2. "Bob Dylan Reference Recordings: Volumes 1-8" 16CD set issued mostly
in pairs throughout 2005, Hollow Horn. Again, a great idea executed with meticulous
patience and superb results! I quote from the booklet: "...brings together recordings
made by Dylan in the studio that were not released as part of an original studio album,
bringing together recordings that have hitherto only been erratically, and often spuriously,
circulated". They are designed uniformly in DVD-Audio packaging size, to aesthetically
make a statement on your shelf after acquiring all 8 volumes. The sound of these discs
are almost universally stunning and had me saying, "Wow!", after each listen.
3. "The Dragon Snake", 3CD, Empress Valley/"The Drum N' Bass Show", 3CDR,
Beezlebub Records. Empress Valley, continuing their Led Zeppelin "soundboard
revolution" in 2005, graced collectors with this mixing board tape from Houston 1977 and
it is a nice document, and performance, of the mighty Zep - '77 style. Empress Valley
gets the kudos for premiering this wonderful tape but Beezlebub Records took it into their
independent hands to bring this show to life! Any remastering by anybody typically raises
eyebrows across the land but I feel Beezlebub provided collectors a real favor. I listen to this
all the time.
4. "BBC Zep", DVD-Audio, Genuine Masters.
It's an incredible feat for any label to be able to "re-issue" this most common of BBC Led
Zeppelin performances (and a show everyone bought as the official "BBC Sessions"!) and
have it even mentioned in a "2005 best of", but THIS IS NO RE-ISSUE! And that's why it has
made the early cut in my Top 10. The DVD-Audio format is perhaps a bit out of place on this
list but Genuine Masters does provide their shows on CDR as well and this show holds its' own
on that format as well. Just an astonishing source tape with more things to hear than ever before
and a crowning mastering performance by Black Dog to bring Zeppelin into our living rooms with
5. Dog N' Cat Records' Rolling Stones 1981 Soundboard Series.
As with each of our lists, we can take certain liberties and with me here - it's a liberal placement
of DAC's incredible string of these Stones '81 board tapes in which the majority are brand new
to bootleg collectors. They cannot be denied a prominent mention. The setlists and in most cases
the performances themselves are repetitious but it was a historical tour and brings many fine
memories back to life. "Executive Action", featuring the 2 Dallas shows on October 31st and
November 1st..."Kentucky Fried Rockers Vol.1" with the Louisville concert on November 3rd hold
some solid performances but "Twin Cities '81" with the St. Paul soundboard from November 21st
has jumped to the front of the pack with one of the nicer sounding tapes and a performance that
holds up better now than in my own memory. While I am biased on this one, the proof is in the tape.
Great stuff, and this is one of the better shows from the tour.
6. "Deep Inside", 2CD Eric Clapton, Beano.
Probably as tight and a perfect a bootleg as you can cite. Clapton working the monkey off his
back during this period and just a great show from Long Beach, July 20, 1974. Pretty much
a must-have consideration for any discerning Clapton collecting. After revisiting this title,
it was a no-brainer.
7. "Damn Braces: Less Relaxes", 4CD + DVD, Sirene.
One of my personal favorite Pink Floyd shows from the Hollywood Bowl on September 22nd, 1972.
Here, is what Mr. Sparaco and others have referenced as the "definitive" release and I can subscribe
to that! I simply love the "themed" efforts when they are well-thought out and this extremely
limited piece from Sirene is just that.
8. "Peter's PA" 2CD, Tarantura/"Casino Royale", 2CD Empress Valley.
An incredible tape with a story, introduced by collector and fan via the internet Bit Torrent circuit
in the Fall of '05. I want to pause and just give a nod to that person first and foremost. The
premium Japanese Labels did justice to this event by bringing the show to silver disc in a more
deluxe fashion (it was inevitable folks so don't write me on this one). It seems that Beezlebub
Records have worked some magic or have elevated magic "mastering" by another collector and
have re-issued this cool Montreux tape from August 7, 1971. I haven't heard their version but will
just mention it here. It is said that this was taped from outside the Casino where the show was
broadcast over a special PA System that Zep Manager Peter Grant had approved and arranged.
Now that is cool.
9. "Reality In Melbourne" DVD-Audio, Genuine Masters.
A title that I had lost sight of until reviewing the releases for 2005. A show that David Bowie himself
had commented was the "best show of the tour" in some casual remarks to an industry publication.
The recording here is nothing short of stunning, taped by Black Dog at GM himself and was a
personal labor of love. Listening to this again, there was no way to deny its' inclusion on this list.
Anecdote: This title was a "thank you" to Black Dog's wife for dragging him to a show he didn't
want to attend. Good for her and good for us!
10. "Morumbi Stadium 1981", Queen 1CD, Pablo Records.
Very tough to displace the excellent Queen Houston '77 material but this show simply kicks ass.
One would tend to call this a soundboard but it seems the facts bear this to be an FM broadcast
of the Sao Paulo, Brazil show from Morumbi Stadium on March 20, 1981. The sound is tops,
the band is on fire and riding high. Not sure what it is with Queen in South America but it simply
works. A title I just wanted to single out as a favorite of mine this year.
Honorable mentions for 2005:
"Live On Blueberry Hill", 9CD Deluxe Led Zeppelin Box Set from Tarantura. It's a beautiful
piece and I'm a sucker for this type of stuff. L.A. Forum, September 4th, 1970, all known sources.
"Some Mournful Melody", 2CDR, Rolling Stones, Pignose Records.
The elusive Xcel Energy show from St. Paul on September 6th, 2005. Just issued by Pignose and
worth the wait! Easily the best audience recording of the 2005 Bigger Bang Tour. I was up front on
the floor at this show and didn't like it much due to the "coolness" between band members which
really bothered me - way too much "Mick" with the rest a mere backing band. That said,
the show rocks and here's the proof! Outstanding.
Thanks again for a great year everyone!
January 1st, 2006
While not, perhaps, a recording for the ages, I think those of you never satisfied with
your seat at a Bob show will really enjoy the "Seattle Supersonic" DVD. A short set
to say the least, it gives a great look and listen to 2005 vintage Dylan, as well as a
sweet harmony with Nora Jones on I Shall Be Released.
Another one I'll mention is not actually a boot, but can be difficult to find. The OPM
release of Richard Manuel's "Whispering Pines" is a great bit of blues from one of
the best white bluesmen to come down the pike.
Thanks, hotwacks, for carrying the torch another year.