martedì 21 marzo 2023

Queen - 1979-12-26 - London, UK (SBD/FLAC)

(Soundboard FLAC)

Live at the Hammersmith Odeon
London, UK
December 26th, 1979

Notes from the original uploader:
The goal of this merge was to create the best listening experience for this legendary show to date.
While it's never been released officially, a number of different sources have slipped through the cracks over the last 40 years, as well as a wonderful audience recording and recently leaked "rough mix outtakes".
Certain parts of the show do not currently have circulating audio outside of the audience source, but this new 2021 merge compiles the best sources currently to our disposal, making this the most complete version of Queen's epic night at the Hammersmith Odeon on Boxing Day 1979!

While many great merges have been made for this show over the years, the main focus on my end this go around (aside from selecting the best sources for each segment) was transitioning from source to source as seamlessly as possible to maintain the flow.
All the audio sources used here are listed below (in order of which took most priority) with their respective lineage to the best of my knowledge. Huge thanks to everyone who made these available:

CFTPOK Rough Mix Outtakes (Sourced from The Traders' Den)[*]
Lineage: Multi-track -> ? -> WAV -> FLAC Level 8 (Files received from JEMS)

Absolute Greatest Online Streams [**]
Lineage: Pro Video Feed -> ? -> FLV -> WAV -> FLAC Level 8

1980 Queen Special (Uploaded to YouTube by Sikke) [***]
Lineage: German TV Station 2" Export Reels -> ? -> YouTube -> MP4 -> WAV (Sony Vegas Pro 17.0: Pauses/Lagging Removed, Audacity: EQ Applied) -> FLAC Level 8

QTV (Provided by spidzzle on Queen Forums) [****]
Lineage: QTV broadcast -> PAL VHS -> ? -> WAV (Audacity: EQ Applied) -> FLAC Level 8

Wardour-405 Legendary Master Tapes (Audience Recording) [*****]
Lineage: Hammersmith Odeon 1979 (Wardour 405) -> WAV (Audacity: Speed/Pitch Correction, Minor Compression Applied) -> FLAC Level 8

Below is the track listing, along with indications of which sources were used for each. Keep in mind that sources [**], [***] & [****] have also been matrixed with source [*****]:

01. Introduction [*****]
02. Jailhouse Rock [*****/****]
03. We Will Rock You (Fast) [****/***]
04. Let Me Entertain You [***]
05. Somebody To Love [****/***]
06. If You Can't Beat Them [*****]
07. Mustapha [*****]
08. Death On Two Legs [****]
09. Killer Queen [***]
10. I'm In Love With My Car [**]
11. Get Down, Make Love [****/*****]
12. You're My Best Friend [****/***]
13. Save Me [***]
14. Now I'm Here[*]
15. Don't Stop Me Now [*/***]
16. Spread Your Wings [*****]
17. Love Of My Life [****]
18. '39 [****]
19. Keep Yourself Alive [*****]
20. Drum And Tympani Solo [*****]
21. Guitar Solo [*****]
22. Brighton Rock [*****]
23. Crazy Little Thing Called Love[*]
24. Bohemian Rhapsody [*/*****]
25. Tie Your Mother Down [****]
26. Sheer Heart Attack [***]
27. We Will Rock You [***]
28. We Are The Champions [***]
29. God Save The Queen [****]

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention perhaps the most important aspect of this project - the matrix. This process wasn't initially planned, but I found once I'd completed the initial merge, certain sections lacked atmosphere in comparison to others (the sources with mono audio and little crowd noise). While the transitions between sources were already as smooth as possible, the overall listening experience was still somewhat inconsistent.
I attempted a matrix for this show about a year ago with the audience tape + the Live Crazy bootleg and gave up rather quickly when I noticed the speed of the tape fluctuated all over the place. Even the parts that matched up well didn't sound quite right. But in order to live up to the title of this merge, I needed to try once more now that all the best sources are present.
This time around when I made it to STL (the section where I gave up last time), I noticed the piano parts were on a slightly different pitch. Wallah! This explains why the matrix sounded a bit off on my first attempt. Believe it or not, it turns out the audience recording runs approximately 1% slower than it should, also making the pitch 1% lower.
With these minor issues fixed, we were back on track and after carefully adjusting the further speed fluctuations to perfectly match the "pro" sources, we're done! I should also mention that the tracks NIH & CLTCL didn't require the matrix as they come from the Rough Mix Outtakes with the crowd already audible. This matrix was targeted at all the parts sourced from the Absolute Greatest streams, 1980 Queen Special & QTV Broadcast.
The atmosphere that was somewhat lacking in the mentioned sources now sounds rejuvenated and a wider sound-scope has been achieved thanks to the addition of stereo sound in the audience tape. While a couple of the sources used don't have 100% clear sound, I believe tracks such as IILWMC could now be mistaken as an official release.
On top of the atmosphere, the audience tape also offers a few things from the band members that aren't as audible in the "pro" sources such as Brian's backing vocals in STL, Roger's backing vocals in '39, Freddie's harmonizer in SHA and plenty more!
Likewise, the "pro" sources also have things to offer that aren't present in the audience tape. Freddie's vocals are more prominent in parts, the crowd isn't drowning out the band at any points etc. Combining all these factors makes for what I believe to be the best way to listen to this historic show to date.
I understand there are people out there who may still prefer to listen to the audience recording for the fantastic audio quality, but at the very least, I hope this serves as a great alternative listen.

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