For my money there is nothing like a live concert. Standing in front of a band with hundreds of like-minded fans hearing great music quite literally being created before your eyes is nothing short of magic. The energy, the power, the vibrations that pound right through you is something you just can't get anywhere else. Watching (and listening) to musicians connect with themselves, the audience, and their muse in a real time setting blows my mind every freaking time.
I love everything about a concert -- being able to physically see the band on the stage, the music, standing in a mass of people screaming their lungs out, the smells of cheap beer, sweat and pot wafting through the air -- I love every moment of it.
Though nothing comes close to the excitement of being there, bootlegs come pretty close (realizing that the word "bootleg" encompasses a lot of things and has a variety of meanings we're going to define it as an unofficially released, completely legal recording of a live music performance, or also unofficially released demos/b-sides and alternate cuts). A great bootleg brings you there, takes you to the stage, and lets you hear the music as it was performed at that moment.
While a bootleg will never allow you to fully relive the experience of actually being there, it does allow you to concentrate solely on the music. Where at a show you can easily be distracted by all the gyrating dancing girls, the obnoxious guy who just won't stop talking (why anyone would pay $50 or more to attend a concert and then pay absolutely no attention to what's going on is beyond me, but that's something for another post) to the buzz of that six pack of beer you've ingested, a bootleg allows you to stop and really hear what was happening on stage. You can also pause the proceedings for a bathroom break, or rewind to hear if that guitarist just did what you think he did.
A bootleg also allows you to hear shows you weren't able to attend. Bootlegs let you listen to sold-out or private concerts you could never get tickets to. In the comfort of your own home you can play that special show with that special guest, or that performance people have been raving about for decades. Bootlegs literally allow you to relive (or hear for the first time) the magic over and over and over again.
This series is all about brining you that magic. I've been collecting bootlegs for 15 years and have obtained thousands of shows. Each week (more or less) I'll be highlighting one of them and posting them right here at Blinded By Sound so that you can download and listen for yourself.
Without further ado, here's the first one:
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
May 22, 2010
The Pabst Theatre
Source: Schoeps MK4's > active cables > Nbox > Darktrain Silver > Edirol R-09HR @ 24/48.
Transfer: Kingston 8gb SDHC card > Dell PC > 24bit WAV > Sony Sound Forge 9.0e > CDWave Editor > FLAC.
Total Time (109:23)
1. The Reason
2. He Upset Your Dreams
3. Wouldn't You Rather Have Me?
4. Medley Intro >
5. If You Call
6. Highway Of Lost Lovers > When The Saints Go Marching In
7. Give It Back
8. When I Come Home
9. The Game Gets Old
10. Tell Me
11. She Ain't A Child No More
12. Window Shopping
13. Better Things
14. I'll Still Be True >
16. Mama Don't Like My Man
17. I Learned The Hard Way >
18. Not Gonna Cry
19. Got To Be The Way It Is
20. This Land Is My Land
21. Outro > That's What I Love About You
22. Encore Break
23. E: I'll Be There >
24. 100 Days 100 Nights
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings may sound like a throwback to the soul and funk groups of the 60s and early '70s (and make no mistake, that is largely what they are doing) but there is something equally modern and thrilling about them, too. This is no nostalgic act but a living, thriving, modern group using the past as a springboard to something new. Sharon Jones has the voice of a sassy Aretha Franklin while the Dap Kings channel both the soul of James Brown's band and the funk of Parliament.
If this show in front of a hometown crowd in Milwaukee doesn't get you to your feet shaking what God gave you, then you should probably rethink your career as a living, breathing human being. This is a cracker jack band playing with every ounce of their soul. Every song pulses and throbs like there is no tomorrow, no going home, and nothing to live for but the pounding beat of the song. Seriously, if you haven't heard of Sharon Jones & the Dap Queens download this show and hear what you've been missing. If you have heard them, well what are you waiting for, this right here is the jam, man!
As an audience recording the sound quality is not the greatest thing you ever heard. Between songs you can hear a lot of audience chatter (and there is a hilarious bit of conversation to be heard after the last song.) The contrast between instruments is a bit muddled as well. But overall it sounds really good. Where often audience mics make a show sound like its begin playing in the building next door, here you really feel like your right there next to the stage. The band plays with such ferocious energy they pretty much drown out the crowd except during the lulls between songs.