1978-05-22 Manchester, UK "Official Audience" Master Tape

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November 6, 2022 at 1:35 am Quote #65913



Van Halen
May 22, 1978
Manchester Apollo
Manchester, UK
“Official Audience” Master Tape via JEMS Archive and cpscps
Eddie, Steady, Go! (Vol. II)

2022 Transfer: Master/source cassette > Nakamichi DR-1 azimuth-adjusted transfer > Sound Devices 744T 24/96 capture > iZotope RX and Ozone 8 > MBIT+ resample to 16/44 > FLAC > finishing via Audacity 3.2.1 and TLH

01. intro
02. On Fire
03. I’m the One
04. Bass solo
05. Running With the Devil
06. Atomic Punk
07. Drum solo
08. Little Dreamer
09. Feel Your Love Tonight
10. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
11. Guitar solo/Eruption
12. You Really Got Me
13. D.O.A.

Welcome to “Eddie, Steady, Go!”, a series of master tapes capturing Van Halen on its first U.K. tour, opening for Black Sabbath in 1978.

How did we luck into this treasure trove? As David Lee Roth himself would say, take a look at this! Almost 20 years ago, our benefactor, jamhead64, got these tapes — the underlying source of all known copies of these recordings — from a friend of his girlfriend. That fellow got them from a resident of a building he worked at as a doorman when he was younger. The resident had a relative who worked for the band at the time, and they’d had a falling out. The resident gave the tapes to the doorman. One break, coming up!

When these shows were originally posted, many were quick to point out that they were not true soundboards — as in direct line recordings — but high-quality audience tapes, albeit with almost no crowd interference whatsoever.

Given our familiarity with uncannily similar-sounding recordings of Bruce Springsteen made the prior year by his crew, we’re fairly confident the Van Halen U.K. ’78 tapes were done the same way, perhaps at the direction of someone in management (“fifth member” Pete Angelus’s name appears on one of the original Maxell UD 120 cassettes).

That roadie set up professional microphones on a stand at the soundboard (or another location front-of-house), which explains the confusing attribution of this material as “soundboard recordings.” Thankfully for us, what that person was really doing was documenting music history.

As so-called soundboard recordings, they first surfaced and circulated in the early 2000s, having been transferred from the original cassettes to MiniDisc (a lossy format) then to CD-R. Now for the first time, the master tapes have been given proper azimuth-adjusted, pitch-corrected transfers and captured in full resolution.

Perhaps due to their fuzzy lineage and the limitations of the original transfers, these recordings have not gotten their due. But it’s time to reevaluate: the new transfers and mastering have resulted in detailed, full-fidelity recordings of excellent quality, especially remarkable for a band whose early audience captures aren’t generally known for their sonic qualities. Here, the instrument separation is outstanding, and the mix well balanced, too. Samples provided.

For some time, jamhead64 intended to do new transfers. With the help of our pal cpscps, all seven of what one could call the Van Halen U.K. ’78 “official audience recordings” were redone earlier this year, using the Nakamichi > Sound Devices method detailed above.

Manchester Apollo, May 22, 1978

Volume II in the series features Manchester, May 22, the second U.K. ’78 tape that VH collectors are likely familiar with. On stage for 40 minutes, Van Halen laid out everything it had going for an audience that likely hadn’t much (if any) idea who Van Halen was.

Van Halen had released its first LP three months prior to this, a hard-rock classic to this day and an unbeatable calling card then. Eddie presented his guitar sound as if it were a new language, as he and the band began the task of fighting it out night by night, city by city, and record by record. Hang on to your brown M&M’s: here comes Van Halen.

May 22 features nine songs, solos for each musician, and David Lee Roth’s unbridled enthusiasm. The result is a seamless onslaught that doubtless left even the most skeptical Sabbath fan in the house that night wanting to hear more.

The set list reprises the one from the previous night. It includes nine tracks from the band’s debut LP and, at the end, “D.O.A.”, a preview of “Van Halen II.” Manchester doesn’t have quite the shock value that Newcastle did, but to my ears, it is a step up sonically and certainly no slouch performance-wise.

Huge thanks to jamhead64 for allowing these historic recordings to be worked on again and to cpscps for making the excellent transfers and
bringing us into the project. We hope jamhead64 and VH Nation are as pleased with the results as we are. Shout-out to Professor Goody for help with pitch corrections. Lastly, a tip of the hat to the good folks who keep the lights on at the Van Halen News Desk, which serves as a terrific resource.

Manchester is a great installment of “Eddie, Steady, Go!” and we’re excited to share it. Watch for the next one; there are five more to go.

Share it freely, and for free!

- slipkid68

November 9, 2022 at 7:55 pm Quote #65922


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