The Beatles, ‘Hollywood Bowl 1964 (Superb Premium SPBLA0002D1)

The Beatles, ‘Hollywood Bowl 1964’ (Superb Premium SPBLA0002D1)

Soundboard stereo / mono remix remasters – Opening / Twist and Shout / You Can’t Do That / All My Loving / She Loves You / Things We Said Today / Roll Over Beethoven / Can’t Buy Me Love / If I Fell / I Want To Hold Your Hand / Boys / A Hard Days Night / Long Tall Sally (66:42)

Live at Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, California, USA. 23rd August, 1964.

Over 60 years later new finds keep arriving and as they do, technology keeps evolving – Those new finds are played and toyed around with – with varying results. Using the latest in AI technology – The same tech that’s being used to bastardise classic songs that you know and love to make it appear that your fave singers are still 26 and singing someone else’s song the week before – shows of a vintage are being cracked apart and separated to give the feeling of a wider stereo image – think of them as a lenticular image, so to speak. The background remains the same, the middle and front image freely move around. This is where the Superb Premium all have dropped in. Promising a series that presents the various live Beatles soundboard shows that have been bootlegged previous (Very, very few, unfortunately) and remixed and remastered them using this very same process.

This is the second release from the label that I’ve reviewed regards these AI mixes, the first is ‘Philadelphia 1964’ which can be found here. The Hollywood Bowl concert tape, initially recorded with a mind for release at the time while the tapes were considered not up to par for release (That didn’t stop them being considered once there was no other Beatle material to be released, hence, they were mixed by George Martin. Most famously for us, the Midnight Beat boxed set of 1997 was the first issue of ALL of the tapes and was a much prized artifact when it was released. Since then, various bootleggers have released these concerts, other ‘desktop bootleggers’, as they have been named, have given the concerts a bit of a polishing up and correction where they see fit. The label have, at time of writing, only released the first of these shows from the MB box.

Since the dawn of the AI mix module, ‘Harbal’ (Thanks Eric!) things have improved massively am the effort being made to smarten up these recordings has come on in strides. They’ve certainly been able to give a helping hand to a lot of audience recordings, though where do they fit in to board recordings and the quality that’s there already?
Now, while I’ve taken issue over these remixes and AI presentations before, the mechanics move faster than a bunch of Beatles being chased by a group of screaming girls and while I popped on my cans and sat, audibly peaking behind my fingers, waiting for what noise was due next, I was favourably pleased with this mix. Very delicately the label have managed to crack open this Beatley brazil nut and subtly bring out sheets of different layers from this show, instrumentation that’s almost shielded by the rest is brought out.
There’s a marked difference over the mono mix where as that’s all erred over to Macca’s baseline, the stereo mix is a little less chunky, George’s harmonies which were less apparent on the initial release are brought out a little more here, John’s lead guitar is more equally spotted against George’s rhythm.
The litmus paper test for me was ‘If I Fell’, which, as the more delicate of the songs played that day, brings out a little more of the mania that the Beatles were against – Possibly because of the AI you can hear John swaying back and forth before the mic as he sings. Dodging jelly babies? Possibly. Thankfully the very long introduction that proceeds the Beatles set is only utilised for the first – stereo – set.
The packaging takes a medal also for the fact that it’s really damn attractive. The same theme is used for each live show, different colours – Live photos scattered along side ticket stubs and posters. The text on the sleeves is very easily readable too.Would I recommend these? Yes, affirmatively, they sound great! Will I be putting my Yellow Dogs, Idle Minds, Midnight Beats, etc in the tape and record exchange? No. Something about the remixing and manipulation still gives me the ick despite the quality. I still want a flat transfer from my tapes but if you want stereo enjoyment, these sets are very impressive!

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