Friday, May 8, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin

Michael Fremer Review

I am very proud to continue our new feature (look for this every Friday), music reviews that are written by the senior contributing editor of Stereophile magazine- Michael Fremer. It has been a pleasure to speak with Michael and learn more about audio sound and equipment. In fact, his new DVD, "It's A Vinyl World, After All" has hit the shelves and is selling out very quickly. This is a must have for anybody who loves vinyl, it is a true masterpiece.

Additionally, make sure to stop by his site, and bookmark it for further exploration. I certainly want to thank Michael for the exclusive rights to reprint his fantastic material.

Neil Young (recent release)
Live at Massey Hall 1971

Reprise/Classic 43328-1 2 200g Quiex SV-P LPs

Produced by: David Briggs and Neil Young
Engineered by: David Briggs
Mixed by: David Briggs Live at Massey Hall
Mastered by: Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering

Review by: Michael Fremer

As soon as Young walks on stage and you hear the applause, you’ll know you’re in for a sonic treat. The audience has been carefully miked, which is not always the case with live recordings, even when the stage sound is good. The applause captures the hall space well too.

There’s a bit of fumbling as Young adjusts the mike. The intense 25 year old begins an unadorned cover of the Buffalo Springfield classic “On the Way Home” and the intimate treat that is Massey Hall 1971 unfolds. The vocal and guitar miking are spectacularly intimate and natural sounding, yet there’s just the right amount of hall sound reflection and P.A. reinforcement to let you know you’re listening to a live performance. The credits say David Briggs mixed live in the hall and that makes the production all the more remarkable.

Young’s nerves don’t appear in his fingers playing or in his voice singing, but his in-between song patter produces a few uncomfortable moments for him and for a photographer.

Young introduces the then new “Old Man” explaining that he’s just moved to a ranch that came with a foreman, about whom the song was written. “Yea, I live on a ranch now… lucky me,” he apologizes oddly for his success to the audience.

Earlier he complains to a photographer about being distracted by the shutter clicking, asking him to only shoot during applause—a somewhat restricting admonition for a professional (I assume it wasn’t some asshole in the audience) trying to get some good images, but certainly within the right of the artist to insist. However, Young doesn’t just make the request, he digs in until he makes the photographer feel really small and the audience his enemy. I would imagine hearing it today, it’s Young who feels small, but I could be wrong!

Young’s repertoire at this point so early in his career is remarkably varied and contains many tunes that would become signatures. He also covers “Tell Me Why,” “Journey Through the Past,” “Helpless,” (big applause on “North Ontario”), “A Man Needs a Maid/Heart of Gold Suite” (then new), “Cowgirl in the Sand,” “Don’t Let it Bring You Down,” “There’s a World,” “The Needle and the Damage Done,” “Ohio,” “See the Sky About to Rain,” “Down By the River” and “I am A Child” and a few others, delivering them intimately, heartfelt and with remarkable maturity. Young’s piano playing is particularly effective, while his acoustic guitar work is deliberate and precise.

With the songs mostly fresh and new, the performances exude vitality and intense commitment. You won’t hear a more intense “Ohio” or particularly “The Needle and the Damage Done.”

Look, if your system is up to the task, this double LP set will take you back in time and space to the evening’s concert and put you near the front of the stage. The image of Young’s voice and both the guitar and piano are superbly tactile, transparent and three-dimensional. The balance between direct and reflected sound is perfect.

If you don’t sit transfixed through all four perfectly pressed, absolutely quiet sides, you’re clearly not a Young fan. If you’re like me though, you’ll find this set transportive to a time when audiences sat with rapt attention listening to soft spoken, sensitive artists who held the stage as few manage to do today, with just an acoustic guitar or a piano or in this case both. When Young leaves the stage after “See the Sky About to Rain” the audience goes berserk. Young returns for “Down by the River,” and “Dance Dance Dance,” finishing up with “I Am A Child.”

Classic’s deluxe packaging, the 200gram Quiex SV-P flat profile pressing and Chris Bellman’s astonishingly transparent cut of a magnificent piece of engineering and mixing by Young’s longtime producing and engineering cohort David Briggs adds up to a musical and sonic treat Young fans would be foolish to pass up. Surely this won’t be in-print forever, so get it while you can! Live recordings don’t get much better than this.

Copyright © 2008 & Michael Fremer - All rights reserved Reprinted By Permission

Music News & Notes

Ardent/Stax to Reissue Big Star on Vinyl

Back in 2002, Ardent and Stax reissued legendary and cult-loved power-pop band Big Star's first two albums, #1 Record and Radio City, but they left vinyl enthusiasts hanging. On June 16, they rectify that situation by putting the albums out seperately on vinyl. They're also putting the CDs out again, complete with new remastering and an unreleased single mix of "In the Street" and the single edit of "O My Soul." [Pitchfork]


Stone Roses Debut Reissue Details Announced

by Andrew Winistorfer

Back in February, news broke that the Stone Roses' self-titled debut would be getting a deluxe reissue, but little was offered by way of release date or specific details. Today brings news of the release date, August 11, and details regarding the three(!) different reissue packages.

The first package is a single disc "Special Edition" that is remastered by frontman Ian Brown and producer John Leckie that features the original album and a full length version of "Fool's Gold." The three disc "Legacy Edition" contains the original album, a disc of demos, and the "Live in Blackpool" concert film.

The "Collectors Edition" is where things get interesting, as it is the "Legacy Edition" plus the album on vinyl with an extra record of non-album tracks, a lemon-shaped USB drive that features audio, promo videos, ringtones, and wallpapers, a book featuring words by Noel Gallagher and others about the album, and six art prints painted by guitarist John Squire for each of the album's singles.



Slayer - Release Date Confirmed For New Album

Columbia Records has confirmed a July 7th release date for the new album from Slayer. The band are currently in a Los Angeles, California studio putting the finishing touches to the follow-up to 2006's Christ Illusion which entered the Billboard 200 at #5 - the band's highest US chart position to date.

The first new track from the album - "Psychopathy Red" - was made available as a 7-inch vinyl disc on April 18th, as part of the third annual Record Store Day. Only 5,000 of these limited edition discs were manufactured worldwide. The blood-red vinyl 'Psychopathy Red' 7-inch collectors item will be packaged in a special Russian crime scene "evidence envelope," as the song was inspired by the heinous Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, aka the Rostov Ripper, who confessed to brutally murdering 56 children. The song was recorded by the band - guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, bassist/vocalist Tom Araya, and drummer Dave Lombardo - in a Los Angeles recording studio last October.


Emerson Cancels Summer Tour Due To Injury

It's being reported that Keith Emerson has canceled both the summer tour for the Keith Emerson Band and a possible late-year reunion tour for Emerson, Lake and Palmer, due to on-going right hand injuries. He posted this explanation on his official website:

Dear Friends,

It is with much regret that I have to announce that due to past right hand injuries the resulting nerve damage and dystonic factor has made it unable for me to play the keyboards to the high standard I have always set myself and have to cancel my forthcoming Keith Emerson Band featuring Marc Bonilla USA and European tours.

I am also going to have to cancel the proposed Emerson, Lake and Palmer tour which we were going to do at the end of this year.

I will of course continue with my physical/chiropractic/acupuncture therapy etc. in the hope that this will eventually get me back on form.

This is absolutely devastating to me as music will always be my main key to communicating with a world-wide audience. I know how much my fans and fellow band members were looking forward to these shows and it saddens me greatly to have to come to this decision and make this announcement.

Thank you for your understanding.
Keith Emerson


Lamb Of God To Stream Philly Show Live Online

Metal giants Lamb Of God have announced a live streaming of their upcoming show at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia on May 9, 2009. This will mark the first time the band has offered a live stream of an entire show to the public. The festivities begin at 9:30 PM EST on the band's official website. The band will be utilizing technology provided by KYTE for this special event. Fans will be able to choose from several different camera angles around the stage as they watch the live stream of the band's performance.

Currently, Lamb of God are headlining the No Fear Energy tour and are supporting "Wrath," which was released on February 24th of this year and debuted at #2 on the Billboard Charts