Cleveland 1977 (Siréne-089)
Music Hall, Cleveland, OH – March 15th, 1977
Disc 1 (59:40): Here Comes The Flood (piano version), On The Air, Moribund The Burgermeister, Waiting For The Big One, A Song Without Words (Indigo), Excuse Me, Solsbury Hill, Ain’t That Peculiar, Why Don’t We, Humdrum, Peter talking, Slowburn, All Day And All Of The Night
Disc 2 (45:53): Here Comes The Flood (band version), Modern Love, Band Introductions, Down The Dolce Vita, Back In N.Y.C. Bonus Track Peter Gabriel Interview-Piccadilly Radio
Peter Gabriel’s inital year as a solo artist was occupied with both trying to distance himself from Genesis and in finding his own muse. With such an array of styles, the first album “Car” displays such a searching. His first recording after leaving Genesis was the curious cover of “Strawberry Fields Forever” with the London Symphony Orchestra for the soundtrack of the obscure film All This And World War II. After recording over a six month period in 1976 in Toronto with Bob Ezrin, the album was released on February 10th, 1977. Gabriel took the studio band on the road for his first tour as a solo artist beginning on March 5th Capitol Theatre, Passaic, New Jersey.
Ten days later he played the Music Hall in Cleveland and WMMS, the hip radio station in Ohio, broadcast the show. Cleveland is the first of several shows that were broadcast (the Los Angeles show a month later has also received wide circulation) showing how conscious Gabriel was in promoting the new album. Previous silver pressings of this show include Cleveland 1977 (The Welfare Pig TWP-CD-204)with only seven songs: “Ain’t That Peculiar,” “A Song Without Words,” “Waiting For The Big One,” “Excuse Me,” “Slowburn,” “All Day And All Of The Night” and “Why Don’t We.” A Whiter Shade Of Pale (Highland HL015/016#PG1) copies that one but omits “Why Don’t We.”
Several years ago a pristine pre-FM tape surfaced and was remastered and released on Broken Eyes And Contact Lenses (PRRP SAE 02), a fan-based remastering project. Cleveland 1977 on Siréne is an exact copy of the PRRP release and is also on CDR. It seems strange to copy a cdr project onto another cdr title. This is a tape which deserves a silver pressing, but doesn’t seem economically feasible.
The PRRP people, writing about this project, say:
This recording comes to us as a CD copy of the master pre-FM reels. The show was initially broadcast in the Cleveland area which has lead to a number of versions of the recording being available to the public. But this is the first time, to our knowledge; this pre-FM source has been available.
Despite its Pre-FM status there was still quite a bit of noise in this recording. Multiple techniques of noise reduction were tried but eventually an inversion-subtraction method was found to be most effective. This noise cancellation technique was variably applied throughout the show as needed to reduce the perceived noise. Manual removal of pops and clicks was necessary as was selective removal of an occasional buzz.
Tonality also needed a bit of adjustment. The original source was quite deficient in the bass and sub-bass components. Those were boosted. There were sections with prominent bass drum where even further bass enhancements were needed. Other sections were a little excessive in the treble range. Rather than a global treble reduction, a dynamic de-esser in the high treble range seemed most effective. This technique smoothed both the excessive sounding “SS” when sung and the occasional piercing character of the high toned instruments.
Track gaps were found and removed. Some audience noise was reduced in volume but not was cut in length. The discs were re-balanced because the interview was added at the end of the show. This required a mix-pasting of the original cut in the show but fortunately, no patch was necessary as the cut occurred during applause. Finally, a small amount of echo was added to enhance the sound. Since this was a soundboard recording the presence was a bit dry and the sound character of a truly live performance was lacking. Adding a bit of echo helped to correct this problem.
The Interview section had quite a bit of noise that needed reduction. Two different techniques were used to accomplish this. The tonality also needed adjustment. Bass was reduced and treble/midrange was enhanced to better understand the dialogue. Frequent pops and clicks occurred and were manually removed. Finally, the Right channel was suppressed compared to the left and so the two channels were re-balanced.
The concert is interesting for several reasons. Not only is Gabriel promoting the new album, but by this time he already has a wealth of new material which he introduces. The show begins with the slow, somber piano based version the final song on Car“Here Comes The Flood.” Robert Fripp’s guitar is very prominent giving is a heavy King Crimson feel before the song segues into “On The Air,” a song that would be released the following year on Scratch. Other newer songs include “A Song Without Words,” an embryonic version of “Indigo,” the Marvin Gaye cover “Ain’t It Peculiar,” and “Why Don’t We,” a gorgeous song that has never been released. This is perhaps one of the most important tapes from Gabriel’s early career and deserves a definitive silver release. With that said, Siréne’s cdrs are not too badly produced and this one is worth it for the sound quality and importance.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)