The Beatles, ‘Live Concert at Wiskey Flats’ (White Books 2021)
Intro / 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 (New 2021 master) 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 (Walrus Records LP transfer) (61:30)
For nearly as long as there have been bootlegs, there has been the Beatles ‘Whisky Flat’ bootleg. Originally appearing on the ‘Alive At Last’ bootleg on the Walrus label before countless other copies appeared, the album was one of the first to relive Beatlemania and, as it apparently came from the archives of WIBG-AM, the audio was in quality that the Rolling Stones bootlegs that werd appearing at the time could only aspire to – For another handful of years anyway – and would be much more roundly received than that years official release, “Let It Be”.
According to the untranslatable press for this set on the White Books label, Famous “Wiskey Flats” (The Beatles Live in Philadelphia 1964) with the newest and oldest sound sources. The newest source used as the 2021 remaster is provided an American live tape collector, and the sound pressure is higher (but the sound is not cracked) than the previous source. We think it is no plus ultra and sno upgrade anymore!! Also including the oldest source from first bootleg LP from Walrus Records. It was made on 1970 and the tape generation may be younger than the the newest source!!This Wiskey Flats is the Definitive Edition!!”
The show here is a fantastic punchy little artifact – Prime tour years, the band are fully invested in being professionally silly – their musical range and practice allows them a little wriggle room when they play to stop them from getting bored – The very beginning of the concert sees the band fly through their traditional opener of ‘Twist and Shout’ with nary a breath before ‘You Can’t Do That’ – George begins to throw in some varied and improvised little riffs, presumably to take his mind from doing the same things again.
The feed for this recording is rather disjointed – No one band member seems to be favoured with John and George’s guitars being brought up a various different points while Paul’s bass sneaks to the front from time to time between the erratic screams of the young women in the audience. Duets, where their are harmonies sometimes, facilitate all the voices but sometimes you’ll encounter drop outs and omissions where the secondary singer appears louder than the lead.
Crossing between the other best sources that are in my own collection – Idol Minds, ‘Philadelphia 1964 Off Reel’ and Golden Egg’s, ‘It’s Loud Isn’t It?’ – I measured up this new master between the previous two – I found this new master to be a little quieter that the previous, however, there’s a line of static under the older master that crackles under the weight of the vocals while the newer master lowers the pressure, however, it’s still present if not quite as obvious.
The Walrus records transfer eradicates the static further ‘till it’s barely noticeable, it’s not as clear however and sounds like it features a thin veil of noise reduction over the top. It sounds closer to a stereo AM broadcast but is noticeably clearer than you would have heard from the radio at that point. There are a couple of pops from the vinyl source that are detectable (Mainly through the second half of the LP) but not distracting.
The covers for this set replicate the sizes of the TMOQ / HMC gazettes, but lack a lot of the content being a simple 4 page wrap around featuring a mock up of the original boot (replete with yellowing storage marks alongside shots from the show – Inside there are some bits of paraphernalia that are true to the time. The disk itself a sparse affair with scant details about the contents – Just like the olden days! The set also includes a bonus flyer announcing a new remaster stereo and mono remaster of one of the Hollywood Bowl concerts from 1964 – Unavailable at the time of writing however.
While this show is still not perfect, it’s a very very good reproduction – The Golden Eggs and Idol Mind sets now out of print and increasingly difficult to track down, this set is just as appealing – for those of you who prefer a quieter master, this version is perfect – Add the nostalgia of a solid needle drop that you don’t have to get up to turn over, this is a great addition to your live Beatles collection though if you own previous versions of this show, not essential.