OK, so this one is a bit of a departure for me stylistically, but it’s another board tape I felt like fixing up. Post-metal alt-metal prog-metal style with a Tool performance from Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1998. Not my original recording, but I did all the post-production.
Am I the only one doing this? Fixing up board tapes, I mean? Does nobody else hear the potential in them? Does nobody else have the know-how or the tools? I guess nobody cares as much about them as I do.
The original recording sounds better than decent, but with a couple obvious areas which required my attention. The best news is that it’s in stereo, and that it’s not distorted. The bad news is that the kick drum is way too loud and has way too much low end in it, way down in the 10-60Hz subwoofer range. Beyond that, the vocals and drums can be heard clearly, but the bass and guitar aren’t nearly loud enough in the mix. I’m sure it sounded fine in the arena, but the board tape needed some help.
I threw on some plug-ins- eq (the new Fab Filter Pro-EQ 2 is hardcore), multiband compressor and maybe some other stuff, I forget. Killing all that massive low end in the kick drum rectified many of the problems, and from that point on, it was just a matter of fine-tuning.
Then there was the issue of the crowd sounds. I’ve been recording shows for so long that I have quite a library of my own crowd/audience cheering sounds. But most or all of those sounds I recorded are from smaller clubs or theatres or warehouses; not anything as big as anywhere Tool would play. So what did I do? I downloaded a pretty good sounding bootleg of Tool from San Francisco in 2007, then isolated those crowd sounds and used them for this show. Turned out nicely.
It’s a real shame about the intro, with the first half of Flood being cut off. Oh well. I also rearranged the last couple songs. They played Ænema second to last, and then the final song, Jerk-off, as the encore. But in the intro to Ænema, Maynard delivers the good ol’ ‘OK, this will be the last song for tonight’ spiel. But then they go on to play two songs. It would have been obvious that Jerk-off is an encore song if all the dead space between the ending of Ænema and the beginning of the encore had been left intact. But with an audio recording, that’s totally unnecessary to leave in, so whomever edited the board tape wisely cut that part out. So I switched it around so that the song he said would be the final song actually is the final song. Actually, Jerk-off is a much better choice for a set closer with that ferocious, frenzied ending, but I prefer the continuity of my order.