ER Archives Volume 5JEMS Date: 26 May 1978 Location: Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA Format: – Duration: –
03- SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT
04- SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT
05- FOR YOU
06- CANDY'S ROOM
07- PROVE IT ALL NIGHT
08- RACING IN THE STREET
09- THUNDER ROAD
10- PROMISED LAND
11- PARADISE BY THE "C"
13- ADAM RAISED A CAIN
14- GROWIN' UP
15- IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY
16- MONA - SHE'S THE ONE
18- ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT)
19- THE PROMISE
20- BORN TO RUN
21- TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUT
22- YOU CAN'T SIT DOWN
ER Archive Audience Master Tape
Recording Gear: AKG D1000E mic > UHER CR134 cassette recorder
Welcome back to the fifth in a series of releases from the ER Archives, the collection of an active '70s taper and trader who stepped away from collecting, leaving his tapes pretty much dormant until now. ER's collection contains previously uncirculated shows as well as upgrades to circulating tapes, both audience and soundboard. He used high-end tape decks and good tape, so his copies of even well-known shows may well be improvements.
Installment No. 5 is the first master tape in the series recorded by ER himself: The Spectrum, Philadelphia, May 26, 1978, which just happens to be the third night of the Darkness tour. The circumstances under which he taped bear repeating, as told by ER himself:
"I twisted my ankle badly playing in a basketball game. I was on crutches and Bruce was calling. Even worse was this was my inaugural dance with my new UHER portable tape deck and AKG mic, so I had to get creative. My solution? One crutch, one bag of recording equipment and one disarming smile to get past security. And it worked! I ambled my way to the floor, parked myself center stage, a third of the arena back, and set up for the show. I brought tape to run the cable and attach the mic to the crutch. All set with the perfect substitute boom stand and off we went. Got the whole show with the mike 3-4 feet above the crowd. Had the levels red lined and hoped for a great audio grab. I only played this recording once before I stored it and now it has seen the the light of day with the digital mastery of JEMS. I hope they had plenty to work with....you be the judge."
We definitely had plenty to work with on this one. There are moments where it sounds like ER has lifted his mic up into the PA with the crutch. The recording is very close sounding and clear, with a bit of background talking in spots and the occasional "thud" when the crutch comes back down to the ground. No cuts either. While not common, the Uher cassette recorder was high-end and very high quality, and one does run into live recordings done with it from time to time as an alternative to the Sonys most tapers were using in the era. It was a non-Dolby deck and it looked a bit and loaded like a car stereo cassette deck (http://www.radiomuseum.org/r/uher_cr_134_stereo.html).
The AKG mics were also top notch and ER got a fine pull indeed. UHER tapes typically want to be played back on the original deck due to significantly different azimuth alignment to most standard decks, but we were able to azimuth correct on the Nakamichi during playback. We also speed corrected as Uher tapes again often run slow on other machines. There's a little bit of hiss given the non-Dolby master but nothing to concern yourselves with. Samples provided.
As for the performance itself, it is something of a mixed bag. On the one hand there are terrific versions of "Mona-She's the One," "The Promise," "Racing in the Street," "Promised Land" and "Adam Raised a Cain" to name a few. And we hit the "Night" trifecta in the first set, with "Night" into "Spirit in the Night" into "Something in the Night." On the other hand, the show has more than its fair share of mistakes given it is night three of the tour. Some lyrics are forgotten or switched, the band misses some cues and the sound mix has several rough patches where instruments drop out, double up, etc. It has a sloppy edge that we're not used to from a Bruce show. But at the same time, you really hear Bruce and the band trying hard to work out the new album material (which most of the audience has never heard as it was still a week away from release) and get the show on its legs. If you've heard dozens of Darkness shows that are perfectly polished, here's a fascinating change of pace, a night where it doesn't all come easy.
Thanks once again to the ER Archive for opening up the vault doors and sharing this recording with the fans. Feel free to let him know how you feel in the comments.
The ER Archive will return.
Wayne Darlington for JEMS and the ER Archives
[click thumbnails to download full resolution artwork]