This was the first of two evenings that Genesis played their Lamb show at the Hippodrome. The second night's gig has been widely known since from an excellent audience recording, originally in circulation as the TAKRL double vinyl boot 'Swelled and Spent', and variously reissued on CD, culminating recently in the FAde project's debut release, FAde01.
Shortly after I established the Hogweeds project I was contacted by a member offering a previously untraded tape of this 2nd May show. Upon receiving a copy of this new recording, I was delighted to conclude that this was not only a new recording, but that it was of a previously unknown show.
I attempted first to confirm with the taper the date of the recording, but was told that he had attended several Lamb shows in the UK, and whilst he held a ticket stub from the 2nd May performance, he could not say for sure that the recording originated from that performance. He was not too confident about his memory :-)
Comparing this recording with others, a few things stand out. Firstly it includes a performance of The Knife, indicating it was one of the last shows of the UK tour, as previously they had played 'Watcher' as the second encore. For instance there is a recording of the Bristol show on the 30th, and 'Watcher' was played there.
Secondly, Peter's 2nd Rael story is very similar to the Bristol show, and also to the 2nd May Birmingham performance.
As mentioned in the notes for FAde's release, the 2nd May recording has always been attributed to that date, but there is no conclusive proof that this is the case. It may also be the 1st May show. Equally, it is only the taper's memory that this new recording was made on the second night, and could equally be the first. I did send a copy to someone who attended the 1st May show, and they concured that at the very least it was certainly a Birmingham date.
In the absence of any indication either way, I am concluding that this new recording is the performance of the 1st May, and thus avoiding all the confusions that would ensue from trying to argue for a re-accrediting of the more well-known recording. But in all possibilty, either recording could be either night.
Having established this recording's authenticity, I requested permission to remaster and release it, which the taper granted. Subsequently I received the master tapes, and it is from them I have made this remaster. I should also mention that the original CDR transcription that I recieved has recently found its way into a few people's hands, however it does have a few problems on it, which have been corrected on this version.
The tape itself is quite good mono, I think most traders would grade it as a B, and more towards a B+ than B-. It is a little muffled and lacking detail, but on the plus side, has little distortion or tape saturation, and documents nearly the complete show.
Beginning with a new transcription from the masters (pitched correctly - I think the original transcription was a bit fast), I have then carefully denoised the recording. As usually with my approach to denoising, you will still hear tape hiss, but the treble is much brighter and sharper than on the original tape, while the hiss levels should be notably attenuated. The eq balance was fairly OK, although as is usual with a lot of old amateur recordings, the lower mid-range was a bit boxy, and so I've softened it off a little.
One major problem with this recording was microphone bumps. The mic was hand held, or at least in a position where it could easily be tapped. And it was, frequently. I have gone through this recording and removed each bump, one by one. There are a few that are still present, because it was too difficult to isolate them from louder sections of the music. But most of them were in quiet sections, quite a few being taps in time with the music. Someone was enjoying the gig :-)
One other problem I haven't been able to do anything about is pitch drops during Chamber of 32 Doors and Lilywhite Lilith. These seem to occur at the same physical sections of the tape on the A & B sides, and I'm guessing that maybe the tape has been stretched in these places. By contrast, battery or voltage instabilities, or the tape grabbing, would cause pitch surges.
The recording documents nearly the complete show. There is a tape flip at the beginning of 'Carpet Crawlers', and the first few seconds is missing there. But the tape runs out about a minute into 'Lamia', and only picks up again at the beginning of 'Silent Sorrow'. In both these instances, I have patched the show using excerpts from the Colston Hall, Bristol, tape of the 30th April. This recording has a similar B+ sound quality to this tape, and blends in reasonably well, although you'll notice the join on 'Lamia' if not 'Carpet Crawlers'.
Finally, and you'll hear this yourself - this is a cracker show. Enjoy