The Beatles, ’The Complete Rooftop Soundboard – Stereo soundboard 2021 mix’ (No Label)
Disk 1- Complete edit – Warm Up / Get Back (Take 1) / I Want You (She’s So Heavy) / Get Back (Take 2) / Don’t Let Me Down (Take 1) / I’ve Got A Feeing (Take 1) / One After 909 / Dig A Pony / God Save The Queen / I’ve Got A Feeling (Take 2) / Get Back (Take 3) / Don’t Let Me Down (Take 2) / Get Back (Take 4) (44:21)
Disk 2 – Original multitrack reels – Get Back (Take 1) / Get Back (Take 2) / Don’t Let Me Down (Take 1) / I’ve Got A Feeing (Take 1) / One After 909 / Dig A Pony / God Save The Queen / I’ve Got A Feeling (Take 2) / Get Back (Take 3) / Don’t Let Me Down (Take 2) / Get Back (Take 4) (31:50)
Who’d work for Apple Corps, eh? Even after the November 2021 release of the near 8 hours of ‘Get Back’ footage that Peter Jackson and his crew had painstakingly put together, hopefully in the event, putting paid to the long-standing bootlegging industry in ‘Let It Be’ outtakes, here come more bootlegs.
This one does nothing new in concept – Trying to compile the longest version of the rooftop concert has been a task for fans since the year 1999 when Yellow Dog first released the multi-camera set, ’The Complete Rooftop Concert’ (YD 072/073), despite the reels being available, now Peter Jackson has had a hand in beefing up the sound, we have a bulkier sounding recording, one that gives a little more credence to the sound that that rumbled across the skyline of London from Savile Row to Soho (Google suggests it’s around 4 miles away .. ) and, now that we’ve seen the film itself, it gives a bit more breadth to what we’re hearing – For years I didn’t give much credence to Paul’s whoop at the point in the second take of “Don’t Let Me Down” when he discovered the police had turned up, neither did I really hear John and George’s amps click off when Mal, stuck between a rock and a hard place, did what he was instructed by the friendly local constabulary. Now it’s very much clearer.
Using the official stream of the audio part of the rooftop concert and camera B, from the street – The resulting coupling throws a bit more light upon Jackson’s editing decisions too – At 1:01, During ‘warm up’ the main camera feed is cut where the source deflects to a feed from the camera on the ground. From here we can hear a snatch of ‘Get Back’ that concludes with John asking if they should start with that. Glyn uses the intercom to ask if Ringo has sorted his drum problem as we hear the sound of urgent hammering. He then asks John if they want to catch the first take of ‘Get Back’ to which John replies to the affirmative. At 3:33, we then rejoin the main feed. I’d have liked to have seen Peter include the ground level feed as heads turned – The banging, noodling and intercom exchanges may have meant nothing to the people on the street but hearing John’s voice may have given rise to a few eyebrows.
A shame John’s brief take on “I Want You” wasn’t recorded from the main feed but thankfully it was captured from the floor and is a lovely bed to an interview with a coy Irish lady who’s favourite Beatle is the erstwhile drummer.
Thankfully there’s a cover for the first version of ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, arguably THE version of this track, you can’t hear the joins between this performance and where the rest was mixed by Peter’s crew – Previous issues have lost a lot of the bass for me but this version still packs the correct amount of punch.
The connection of ‘God Save The Queen’ is an odd one – the first seven seconds of the audio come from the street before we quickly snap back to the rooftop – And we hear a momentary second of vocalising by John. We rejoin the street at 0:33 before recamping back to the rooftop at 0:50 again.
“Take 3” of ‘Get Back’ is nothing more than a lazy riff before the second take of ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, the final take of ‘Get Back’ is the valedictory last run around the block when the fabs knew the jig was up but ebulliently ramped up the power the best their frozen fingers could muster.
The last few seconds take us to a longer point than we’d had previous as the band succumb to the boys in blue and leave the roof – Sure it’s a few seconds more of Michael Lindsay- Hogg and the sound of the English wind but once the details are etched in to your mind from the film, it’s still rather sweet.
Disk two features the original multitrack reels – In essence, Vigotone’s ‘As Nature Intended’, The Godfather Records, ‘Transcending Time’, Yellow Dog’s ‘The Let It Be Rehearsals; The Complete Rooftop Concert’, etc. You’ll doubtless have this in your collection already – It’s the rooftop as recorded from the bowels of Apple Studios by Glyn Johns and George Martin – Certainly nowhere near as complete, but as exciting as it all got .. in 1994. A couple of mix anomaly’s aside, it’s almost a redundant exercise.
The No Label gang have executed a great hybrid of the rooftop show as is possible with all the available sources – If Apple would like to compete, it’s unlikely that they’d be able to come up with much better with what they have. The inclusion of the multitracks CD was a bit of a let down as I have pretty much all the previous iterations of that gig already – Considering the short running time also you could have put both on one packed disk.
I’ll recommend this set for the first disk as it’s as nice and complete as it comes, for the second disk, if you’re unlucky not to have it already, it’s a nice compact addition but won’t be the disk you return to most often.