Fields of the Nephilim live at Hummingbird, Birmingham, England, 4 October 1990.
I came across this Fields of the Nephilim board tape on Dark Circle Room, and the original flac is downloadable here- http://darkcircleroom4.blogspot.fr/2013/10/re-upload-fields-of-nephilim.html. It has a lot of things going for it:
1. It was recorded on the tour for Elizium, the same tour that spawned one of the best live albums of all time, bar none, Earth Inferno. This was a period when the band was at the height of it’s powers (aka before they started losing original members and eventually morphed into a second-rate heavy metal band).
2. It sounds super amazing for a board tape. In stereo, no distortion, very good balance between instruments.
3. It’s an epic concert. One hour and 40 minutes, including all songs from the Elizium album.
4. Technically, it’s a very clean recording. Cassette was pretty much standard back in 1990 for these type of recordings, but this sounds much cleaner than cassette. So maybe dat was the original recording medium*?
But, with that said, I also noticed some deficiencies, some room for improvement:
1. Somebody had obviously transferred it from cd to flac at some point, because it has those little audio hiccups/gaps right where one song transitions into another. I hate those things, so I edited them out. There were also some fade outs and fade ins to edit out the time between encores, so I edited those out so it now sounds like one continuous recording.
2. In the original flac, the one minute intro thing is not quite in tune with the intro guitar of the first track, Preacher Man. Not everybody will notice stuff like that, but I’m a musician, and that stuff makes my ears cringe. So I pitched that intro down 1/4 of a step, and now it’s perfectly in tune (Waves SoundShifter Pitch to the rescue!).
3. The bassist misses a note in one of the songs, so I fixed it.
4. The entire recording needed the standard remastering treatment, so now it sounds a bit fuller, ballsier, sharper, crisper, and all around more pro.
* I have suspicions that this isn’t a standard board tape. First of all, the crowd sounds are much too present to have been picked up by only the mics on stage. Plus, the crowd is in stereo. Which means somebody set up mics specifically to capture the crowd sounds, and there’s absolutely no reason to do that except for the specific purpose of multi-track recording the concert for a live album. Also, you can hear in the intro of Blue Water where the crowd is cheering the previous song’s performance, and when Carl starts singing, the crowd sounds drop off quite unnaturally. That tells me that the at least the crowd was multi-tracked, and had their own faders.
Secondly, the mix is just too good for a board tape. I suppose that could be a coincidence that the relative volumes of all the instruments and vocals simply fell into place so the front of house mix sounded this perfect as well as the signal being sent to tape. Especially with all the volume coming from the amps on stage, as well as the monitors, it’s too unlikely that this is a standard board tape.
Have you seen the Visionary Heads video? That’s the live video from this tour, with many of the songs in that video being the same versions as on Earth Inferno, and a couple extras. You will notice in that video that there are many shots that are used and reused and reused again. That recycling isn’t that big of a deal; I never gave it too much thought. But now as I hear this Hummingbird recording, I have a somewhat far-fetched theory-
I think this Hummingbird show was professionally audio and video recorded, but for one reason or another was never released, neither audio nor video. The video that was recorded on this night was meant to supplement the footage that became the Visionary Heads video, but for some unknown reason wasn’t able to be used. Or maybe I’m completely wrong, but in any event, I strongly suspect this show was multi-track recorded (or perhaps submixed to ADAT with drums on two tracks, guitars/bass/synths on two more, vocals on another and the crowd sounds on two more), and somebody had the wherewithal to mixdown a copy of the entire concert for themselves to a couple cds (which is why there’s also a break in the original flacs right at 51:30, thus splitting the concert into a first and second half, because the full concert is far too long for a single cd’s 80 minute capacity), and those cds eventually found their way to the internet.
It’s just a theory. I dunno.
(0:00) Dead but Dreaming
(1:05) Preacher Man
(5:57) Blue Water
(11:37) Love Under Will
(26:22) Wail of Sumer
(32:49) And There Will Your Heart Be Also
(36:28) For Her Light
(40:51) At the Gates of Silent Memory
(48:27) Paradise Regained
(1:04:59) The Watchman
(1:20:33) Last Exit for the Lost