Van Halen 1978-05-26 Bristol, UK "Official Audience" Master Tape

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December 13, 2022 at 1:30 am Quote #66040


Van Halen
May 26, 1978
Colston Hall
Bristol, England
“Official Audience” Master Tape via JEMS Archive and cpscps
Eddie, Steady, Go! (Vol. IV)

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 3.2.2 and TLH

01. I’m the One (joined in progress)
02. Bass solo
03. Running With the Devil
04. Atomic Punk
05. Drum solo
06. Little Dreamer
07. Feel Your Love Tonight
08. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love
09. Guitar solo/Eruption
10. You Really Got Me
11. 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.

Bristol, May 26, 1978

Volume IV of “Eddie, Steady, Go!” presents another U.K. ’78 tape that VH collectors are likely familiar with. The Bristol recording joins the show in progress, missing the first song (almost certainly “On Fire,” as it appeared in the first slot in Vols. I-III) and part of the second, “I’m the One.” A bit of distortion threatens at the top when levels were clearly set too high, but it dissipates as the recording gets underway and an adjustment is made.

Overall, Bristol makes for a good listen on par if not slightly better than the Hanley recording, but not as close up as Newcastle or Manchester. Regardless, this is a sonic upgrade from the lossy versions that circulated previously.

Michael Anthony’s bass solo sounds pretty spacey, and so do ones by Alex and Edward — his guitar solo is all aces. Moreover, by that point, the audio runs pretty much how you’d want it to, comparable to a very good audience recording.

One bit of fun comes at the end: after the band leaves the stage, we hear a crew member and “Pete” (presumably Angelus) talking directly into the microphone that captured this recording, complaining about someone who was going rogue with the “follow spot[light],” which makes sense given Angelus was the lighting director. We don’t believe this post-show chatter was included on previous transfers and it bolsters the “official audience recording” theory, given they talk in front of the mic, presumably from its fixed point at the soundboard.

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.

Watch for Volume V in the coming weeks. And please keep the feedback coming: we read the remarks and are thrilled with the response to “Eddie, Steady, Go!”.

Share it freely, and for free!

- slipkid68

December 13, 2022 at 8:16 am Quote #66041

December 30, 2022 at 5:34 pm Quote #66096


[Shades 1662] (CDR)


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