Best sources for live recordings

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Thatch
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Joined: 30 Apr 2021 15:32

Best sources for live recordings

Post by Thatch » 26 Oct 2023 10:54

Hello all,

Long time fan of the VU, especially in collecting and listening to their live recordings.

I've been trying to compile what I believe to be the best sources of all the full concert live recordings in terms of audio fidelity and/or completeness.

I was wondering if anyone here has any thoughts or anything to add?

(I know there are fragments of early recordings from '66 in particular - I'll probably address all the partial sets at the end).

1966-11-04 Valley Dale Ballroom, Columbus OH
The most complete version I've found is Move Back! but the VU&N 45th Anniversary edition might be a very slight audio upgrade (if at all) - however from a completists' point of view, a lot of the tuning between songs has been edited out. I know tuning isn't exactly interesting but I like the recording to be as complete a record as possible so Move Back! is probably the favourite. Is there a better one out there? How does the original 1966 LP sound in comparison?

1967-04-30 The Gymnasium, NY
The best and most complete version is on WL/WH 45th Anniversary edition. Also probably my favourite recording.

1967-04-?? The Gynmasium, NY
This is the recording of GIFIL that Cale played on the radio in 1979. A different performance with slightly different lyrics and a lower audio fidelity, probably due to being transmitted over the radio. Which is the best fidelity, or are the bootleg CDs all the same? I have the one from Caught Between The Twisted Stars. Also worth noting that the performance on The Psychopath's Rolling Stones is yet another different performance, probably from an TV studio performance broadcast.

1968-04-30 La Cave, Cleveland OH
Recorded by Jamie Klimek, with some question over the date. Which is the best audio performance of SSR? I have yet to hear the tape copy with the fragment of VIF and preamble to SSR, which from a completists' point of view sounds very appealing. I believe the best version of Heroin is from Live 68.

1968-10-04 (early show) La Cave, Cleveland OH
Again, some question over dates. The common bootleg CDs (Where's John, Problems In Urban Living) are far inferior to the Afterhours tape or Live 68 both in terms of audio fidelity and completeness. The best version of WGO is from PSAS, then does anyone have a preference for the rest of the recording? There has to be a definitive best sound quality version out there somewhere...

1968-10-04 (late show) La Cave, Cleveland OH
Best versions of MRI and ICSI are from Live 68, and Story of my Life from Problems In Urban Living. However, does anyone know where the extremely low sound quality version of WGO comes from? Olivier's website makes reference to October 26th but also says it could be from this show. Also, I reckon Klimek recorded both sets and only kept songs from the Late Set that hadn't been played in the Early Set (why keep duplicates, eh?).

1968-12-01 Music Hall, Cleveland OH
Based on the location, I'm guessing this is another Klimek recording. I have a FLAC of the whole gig, no idea of the original source, and the sound quality is pretty bad.

1968-12-12 Boston Tea Party, Boston MA
The first of the Professor Tapes. I would imagine the best sound quality comes from the 8CD boxset on Spyglass. Is this boxset complete? Is there a better sound quality version out there?

...I'll make a start on 1969 soon, but that's probably enough for now! If I've missed something important, please let me know!

Thanks,
Jon

MartinVU
Beginning to see the light
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Re: Best sources for live recordings

Post by MartinVU » 26 Oct 2023 13:41

Nice initiative! I don't have much to contribute but hope to learn something (partly this is because I mainly listen to vinyl and for most of these I only have one option).

A few comments:

1967-04-30 The Gymnasium, NY
The official version just annoys me because of the volume fluctuations. These are not on my bootleg (Psychedelic sounds from the Gymnasium), which could be because the bootleggers managed to remove them or because the tape was transfered before they showed up. Regardsless, I haven't really noticed a difference in sound quality (though the show is incomplete of course).

1968-04-30 La Cave, Cleveland OH
I have heard a downloaded version of the tape. Quality seems the same as on my SSR-bootleg (2023 reissue). I haven't heard the "remasted fan-club style" lp that came out around 10 years ago, but there's an old thread about it here were some people thought it was a real improvement in sound quality.

1968-10-04 (early show) La Cave, Cleveland OH

Someone on the forum (Mark) did the job of finding the best possible sources for the different songs and made a compilation of it:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=145866&p=177618&hil ... es#p177618
Seems well researched (but could The Story of my Life be better on the Murder Mystery lp?)

We all wish we could get the whole show in "Live 68 quality" of course but it's not out there (yet..!?)

You're missing the Chic the Mystique jam (the one on the Mekas soundtrack) but maybe you'll get to that in the partial sets bit.
There's some discussions about the best source of that on the forum (which is best, the VHS-rip or the DVD-rip??). I have the Japanase boot-version, it's sounds decent, not great, but miles ahead of the low quality version I downloaded ages ago.

Thatch
Posts: 15
Joined: 30 Apr 2021 15:32

Re: Best sources for live recordings

Post by Thatch » 26 Oct 2023 14:21

Fantastic - thanks for the info, especially regarding the 1968-10-04 shows.

I downloaded the compilation for the Early Show - definitely an improvement on Problems / Where's John CDs. I need to see whether they're all played at the right speed, then I'll work on putting them together as a full set in FLAC format. It's a shame the full set hasn't been put out officially as it's been in the VU archive since at least 1995.

I think i'm going to have much more of a headache for 1969 shows, especially the Matrix tapes and the lack of documentation as to the exact dates of each song. I've assumed that the longer songs from the early Matrix shows were deleted, so the remaining long songs (WFTM v1, Sister Ray, probably Ocean and WGO v1) are all from 27th Nov to 3rd Dec 1969, whereas most of the shorter ones are 23rd to 26th Nov 1969. It would be interesting if someone noticed a difference in mic setup or background acoustics between different songs so they could be grouped together, but I think it's highly unlikely.

This sort of work has been done for a few other bands on other forums (Pink Floyd in particular) and with the relatively small number of concert recordings for the VU, I reckon this should be a more straightforward job.

Thatch
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Joined: 30 Apr 2021 15:32

Re: Best sources for live recordings

Post by Thatch » 26 Oct 2023 15:11

So... 1969

1969-01-10 Boston Tea Party, Boston MA
The second Professor tape. Best quality version is the Spyglass 8CD boxset. Does anyone know if tracks 6-11 have been speed corrected from the original CD? They ran too fast in the first LP/CD issues.

1969-01-31 La Cave, Cleveland OH
Is this another Klimek tape? The best sound quality for WTTM is Vulgar Absurdity and for Sister Ray the sound quality is pretty much the same on Ostrich/Hilltop and SSR's Murder Mystery. I have WGO and PBE in mp3 format only, and the sound quality is much lower, so maybe there are better versions out there somewhere...?

1969-03-13 Boston Tea Party, Boston MA
The third Professor tape - best version is Spyglass 8CD boxset.

1969-03-15 Boston Tea Party, Boston MA
Legendaly (sic.) Guitar Amp Tape or Boston Tea Party 4CD boxset. I think they sound pretty much the same?

1969-05-11 Washington University, St Louis MO
Quine Tapes. Shame only the one track was recorded, but what a performance!

1969-06-21 Toronto Pop Festival, Toronto CAN
Just a poor quality recording of Heroin which could be downloaded from Olivier's website. No idea how he got hold of the recording or why there's no reference to it in the 1969 section of on his own website...

1969-07-11 Boston Tea Party, Boston MA
The fourth Professor tape - best version is the Spyglass 8CD boxset.

1969-08-02 Hilltop Pop Festival, Mason, NH
The fifth Professor tape - best version I think is Ostrich/Hilltop.

1969-10-18 End of Cole Av, Dallas TX
Great performance - best quality is the First Night 2xCD. Sister Ray is on the Second Night 2xCD.

1969-10-19 End of Cole Av, Dallas TX
Amazing performance - best quality is the Second Night 2xCD. Sister Ray is on the True Rock n Roller CD or March of the Wooden Soldiers LP, neither of which I have so my own recording is missing Sister Ray. I saw someone has done some work recently on mastering this performance with the missing interludes between some tracks but I missed out on downloading it, so if anyone could send it to me, that would be really much appreciated!

1969-11-07 Family Dog, San Francisco CA
Quine Tapes - Femme Fatale and Sister Ray only

1969-11-08 Family Dog, San Francisco CA
Quine Tapes - eight songs

1969-11-09 Family Dog, San Francisco CA
Quine tapes - Sunday Morning only

...and I will leave the Matrix residency for another day!

Thatch
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Joined: 30 Apr 2021 15:32

Re: Best sources for live recordings

Post by Thatch » 26 Oct 2023 17:40

1969-11-11 The Matrix, San Francisco CA
The Quine Tapes outtakes: I'm Waiting For The Man and White Light/White Heat.
Both appear on Dispatches From The Dream Factory CD with WL/WL being cut, and WL/WH appears in full on 1969: The Velvet Underground Live and The Matrix Tapes (version 2). Clearly the best audio quality for WL/WH is the Matrix Tapes. This might put the 11-11 date in doubt as the rest of the Matrix Tapes recordings are from late Nov and early Dec, but Quine's cassette tape has 11-11 clearly written on it...

1969-11-23 The Matrix, San Francisco CA
The Matrix Tapes & The Quine Tapes: Heroin (version 1 on Matrix Tapes boxset) & The Black Angel's Death Song

1969-11-24 The Matrix, San Francisco CA
The Quine Tapes: New Age & Ride Into The Sun

1969-11-25 The Matrix, San Francisco CA
The Matrix Tapes & The Quine Tapes: Rock & Roll
The Quine Tapes only: Over You

1969-11-26 The Matrix, San Francisco CA
The Matrix Tapes & The Quine Tapes: I'm Waiting For The Man (version 1 on Matrix Tapes boxset)
The Quine Tapes only: Follow The Leader

1969-12-01 The Matrix, San Francisco CA
The Matrix Tapes & The Quine Tapes: White Light/White Heat (version 1 on Matrix Tapes boxset) & Venus In Furs (version 2 on Matrix Tapes boxset)

1969-12-03 The Matrix, San Francisco CA
The Matrix Tapes & The Quine Tapes: Sister Ray
There is a complete setlist for this set, originating from an alleged other recording which has.yet to surface.

1969-11/12-xx The Matrix, San Francisco CA
The Quine Tapes outtakes - dates unknown
8 songs, including the version of Heroin that appeared as a bonus track on the CD edition of 1969: The VU Live Vol 1. However Heroin is much higher quality on the 1969 official CD so I assume the other tracks might exist in higher quality too?

1969-11/12-xx The Matrix, San Francisco CA
The Complete Matrix Tapes - dates unknown
The remaining tracks from the boxset have completely unknown dates, taken from at least six separate dates. The dates on the boxset (Nov 26-27) are completely fabricated and the "sets" were put together by the producer for the listening experience. Some of the tracks appeared in lower audio quality on 1969: The VU Live but also with no reference to dates. It has been speculated that the earliest recordings have had their longer tracks wiped to make more room on the original tapes, which would explain why the shorter tracks appear in more versions, and would also explain why the longer tracks are normally from later recordings. The appearance of the 1969-11-11 recording of White Light/White Heat (version 2) from the Quine Tape outtakes is particularly interesting as it could mean these recordings span almost an entire month, although the date written on Quine's cassette might also be wrong.

I have not heard the French promo CD boxset of the Complete Matrix Tapes. The track lengths are longer - do they contain more chatter between songs? If so, it might be possible to piece together which songs are from certain dates based on whether there's any overlapping audio? Probably wishful thinking but you never know...

Kill Mick
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Re: Best sources for live recordings

Post by Kill Mick » 26 Oct 2023 23:06

Re the Valleydale, Move Back isn't the most complete source - Melody Laughter has some elements edited out of it that are on the 1966 2xCD set, about 1 1/2 mins are missing. There's a thread on here about it if you want to track it down. IMHO the 45th anniversary is the best source, but as you say it has some between song tuning and criminally the "I'm scared to play it back, I really am" quote right at the end removed. Move Back has those included but is slightly inferior sound-wise, 1966 has the unedited Melody Laughter but isn't as good quality. Very frustrating.
Keep the faith

Thatch
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Re: Best sources for live recordings

Post by Thatch » 27 Oct 2023 11:08

Thanks for that info - very helpful.

I might try making a version of the recording from the VU&N boxset with the tuning etc added back in. Are the performances themselves unedited on VU&N boxset? And is it played back at the right speed?

Kill Mick
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Re: Best sources for live recordings

Post by Kill Mick » 27 Oct 2023 13:07

The actual performance of Melody Laughter is edited on Move Back/45th - there is about a minute and half of music edited out at various points including a section of about 30 seconds where Lou and/or John are singing "Ba ba ba " etc. As far as I know all of the other tracks are complete and at the right speed.

The 1966 2xCD features the unedited Melody Laugher but plays too slow - however some kind soul (apologies, can't remember who) posted a speed-corrected version on here that may still be available. As I said there's a thread on here somewhere with a more detailed explanation of the edits in Melody Laughter and the link to the corrected version (which IIRC feature all of the tracks from 1966). I would say to compile the most complete version you need the speed-corrected Melody Laugher from 1966, all of the other tracks from the 45th, and the tuning/spoken intros etc. from Move Back. Good luck!
Keep the faith

Kill Mick
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Location: UK

Re: Best sources for live recordings

Post by Kill Mick » 27 Oct 2023 13:10

Keep the faith

Thatch
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Re: Best sources for live recordings

Post by Thatch » 27 Oct 2023 15:39

That thread is fascinating - looks like a lot of work has been done already. I have one question - has anyone heard the new(ish) 2LP pressing of Valley Dale Ballroom on VUAS? I'm unsure whether it's the same VUAS as the one that issued the Afterhours cassettes, but if so they may have used the cassette mentioned in the thread rather than the Move Back! CD which appears to be the basis of the recording on the VU&N boxset.

Looks like I'm going to have to find a copy of the 2CD set of 1966. Does anyone have a copy that they could upload for me please...? :)

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