The Beatles, ‘Philadelphia 1964’ (Superb Premium SPBLA0003D1)
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 (60:51)
Live at Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. 2nd September, 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.
The first to be reviewed here is the Philadelphia show from the 2nd of September – A relatively new find from the collection of Joe Pope, that is to say, while the raw concert material has been round and about from a board source from many, many years, a source that’s the closest to the actual captured tape was uploaded to Dime last year (2022) and has been re-tooled by this fledgling label who present it with two different versions. The first on the disk, a newly produced stereo remix that, as above, shifts around three layers of Beatles / backing / audience and stacks them like a playing card tower until the concert is ‘improved’ over it’s mono parent.
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, slightly but sufficiently enough to make a difference.
John’s voice is further forward than the instrumentation on, say, ‘Twist And Shout’, the backing vocals are a couple of steps behind in the distance with the music a little more distant.
Due to the limitations of the initial recordings, there are some audible pops and crackles in both, a little open noise too but nothing that spoils the main recording overall and through the listening.
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, 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!