REVIEW: “LIVE AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL & STARS & STRIPES 1964-1965 US TOURS” – (HMC-010)
Bonus: Candlestick Park 1966
By Beatle Bob
When the His Master’s Choice
label announced that they were releasing remastered versions of the Hollywood Bowl tapes (along with the Candlestick Park 1966 tape recording by Tony Barrow), I seriously had my doubts and was full of skepticism. I kept thinking, do we really need another release of the Hollywood Bowl and Candlestick tapes? My own theory was that this time they could be issuing these concerts from a better source tape (possibly an Apple remastering that snuck out of the vaults?). I’ve been spending a few weeks listening to these CDs and thought they sound great, but they really couldn’t be much of an improvement than what has circulated on bootleg before. Boy was I wrong.
The Candlestick concert is from a small reel-to-reel tape recorder Tony Barrow placed in front of the stage as per the Beatles’ request. It documents their last public concert appearance before a paying crowd. The performance level is stepped up: They are probably giving their best performance of the 1966 tour knowing “This is it. No more tours”. Barrow’s tape is one of the best audience tapes due to the privileged location in front of the stage. Every version I’ve had of this tape always felt like it was further away from the stage than it seemed to have been recorded from. This remastered version brings you literally to the front of the stage. You feel the presence of the Beatles for the first time; as if you’re on the field. There is a power to the Beatles rock ‘n roll that is lacking from all other versions of this tape. The one mistake this label made was attempting to complete “Long Tall Sally” (which will be forever incomplete being the tape ran out during the performance)by grafting in a poor quality studio version of “Long Tall Sally” to complete the song. Why a studio version? If you’re going to fake it, at least use a poor quality live version in an attempt to give it a truer semblance of completion. In fact, why do it at all?
All available Hollywood Bowl shows (from the raw 3 track stereo tapes) are offered up on this set and they too are a major improvement. They sound like they are a generation up from what’s been released. These CDs also do play louder--but upon volume matching the older CDs (I used to a/b), the older discs strain to bring the same quality to my ears. Hearing Lennon open up with “Twist and Shout” from 8/30/65, shows you a rawness that these tapes bring you on this set. The older releases suffer in comparison. When Lennon vocally gives it his all here, you feel it. That doesn’t mean these 3 track tapes are a preferable mix. Having the drums in one channel lessens the punch of the recordings and makes using headphones difficult to enjoy. It plays much better though, out of your stereo speakers. That’s why for the ’64 show I prefer the unissued mono mix by Capitol (it’s much more powerful). Overall, I enjoy George Martin's stereo remixes for the 1977 Beatles Live At The Hollywood Bowl
release. These raw stereo tapes from His Master’s Choice
are an essential upgrade to your collection.
This set comes in a hardback book with excellent liner notes. You never expect less than than class, from His Master’s Choice
. It comes highly recommended.