Customer Review

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Essential Spirit Vault Release So Far, 6 Jun 2012
This review is from: Two Sides of a Rainbow (Audio CD)
First, a brief history:

In my opinion the original versions of this are the best live Spirit album ever, & the best post-original band Spirit album ever. There were 3 slightly different editions: the USA "Spirit Live" on First American (my favorite of the 3), A UK release called "Live" on Illegal with a slightly different track list & slightly different overdubs, & a German release called "Spirit Live in Germany" on a label I don't remember that added a couple tracks from Rockpalast & subtracted a couple others. All 3 albums had slightly different track listings; in a rare occurrence the USA vinyl had the best sound quality. One of the previous Floating World sets said in the liner notes that the 3 different LP's all had different performances, but I don't hear that; I just hear slightly different overdubs & mastering.

In 2000, a UK indie label officially released a cd called "Live At The Rainbow" which included the complete UK album & 2/3 of the USA. It is long out of print & sells for a fortune.

Got it today.

It's exactly what I thought it was: the complete original Rainbow show without overdubs (taken from a sound board cassette), & on my computer the sound from the cassette is more than acceptable.

That's followed by my favorite version of the 3 original LP's, the first complete cd release of the USA Live Spirit First American edition.

The booklet also confirms several suspicions I've long held:

1. The Live At the Rainbow booklet states that the American LP was taken from a Miami Florida show. I've never believed that. The 3 LP's sound too similar. This booklet states that all 3 albums are from the same show, with the differences being track selection (each of the 3 had at least 1 song not on the other 2 & each was missing something from the others) & the American LP being more overdubbed than the other 2.

2. The German LP included 1 track from the Rockpalast show on the same tour.

Also, two things I didn't know:

1. Most of the reason for all the overdubs was that RC was using 2 different guitar amps at the same time, one for general playing & distortion & one for an echoplex. Only the echoplex made it to the multi track tapes (apparently a roadie forgot to turn on a mic), so RC had to overdub ALL his guitar parts. He also "sweetened" it quite a bit at the same time.

2. Another thing I didn't know: 2 of the best songs which were also exclusive to these releases at the time: Rock & Roll Planet & These Are Words are actually studio recordings with added applause. R&RP, TAD, Looking Down & Hollywood Dream are imo RC's last great songs.

I've already heard enough to say if you're a Spirit fan, ................. BUY THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Along with the out of print companion piece Live At The Rainbow It's by far THE most essential of all the Spirit vault releases.
The complete show sound quality is more than fine for what it is: a soundboard cassette tape.

Sound quality comparison on the original LP:

Part of why I was so excited to see this is because I have a memory that my original 70's LP was one of the best sounding live albums I'd ever heard when I first bought it.

While today it's not a bad sounding album by any means, either my memory is a bit off, or else the several hundred plays of the original LP have worn it a bit!

When I first got today's edition, I tossed it on my computer & the USA album section sounded bright/compressed. I was a bit concerned, though I also know my pc stereo isn't the most accurate going, so I did a comparison of the 4 versions I have available to me on my main system:

1. The original USA LP played on a Thorens TD180/Blue Point standard combo

2. The original UK LP played on a Rega RP1/Grado Prestige Green.

3. The Live At The Rainbow CD played on a a Tascam P-10/PS Audio SL3

4. This new Two Sides Of A Rainbow CD played on a Tascam P-10/PS Audio SL3

In general the UK LP had the best soundstaging, but also had a distractingly phasey sound on the top end (also, the bass solo on Looking Down seemed to come from the right channel only on this, while in all 3 other versions it was centered)

The US LP probably did the least amount "wrong", but each other version reproduced some part of the music better.

The original Rainbow cd tended to have better sound on the instruments, but was a bit trebly on the vocals.

This new version did the vocals better than the Rainbow cd but instruments were a bit muffled compared to the original cd. Oddly, while it was subjectively quieter in volume than the original cd, it did tend to sound compressed & most disturbingly it lost definition in loud parts.

Makes ya wonder what was used for the source material on each!

Finally I did a peak level comparison on EAC between Rock & Roll Planet USA on the 2 cd's. The older cd shows a peak of 96%, while the new cd shows 98.8%.

Interesting that the cd that is subjectively louder is actually slightly quieter!

1 fyi: There is a bit of tape damage at aprox 6:04 on the USA album version of Looking Down, that I don't remember hearing on Live At The Rainbow or the USA LP. It causes kind of a combination drop out & click.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Jun 2012 16:29:56 BDT
David Eade says:
This is probably the best review I've ever read on Amazon. Very informative and fair. Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jun 2012 22:28:09 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Jun 2012 22:28:31 BDT
G. Ratcheson says:
David, thank you very much for your compliment & comments; I was very excited about this release!
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