Another slight ducking out of sequence for concert recordings, but I’ve been working on this for a little while and just completed it. Recordings of the Jordan Tour aren’t rare exactly, there are a few of them, but what exists in the public domain isn’t great quality.
The version taken from a cassette bootleg of the first gig of the tour in Portsmouth has been about for a while – it was on one of the “CD Fanzine” series too – but suffers from a few problems. The generally circulating copy, originally on two cassettes was actually from two different cassette sets, with the first one being a multigeneration copy and suffering from masses of hiss. The second is much better: unfortunately the original cassettes were lost but were copied to minidisc with good gear, but with a dropout in Cruel. Both tapes run fast as was quite common with cassette bootlegs, presumably to cram them onto a standard tape.
Recently I was given a set of tapes including a much better version of the first half. So I’ve done some work on the set as a whole, respeeded, equalized, patched Cruel with another copy that has been floating about, and made it generally sound as good as it can be. The results are very pleasing, and although not possible to completely eradicate the hiss – Doo Wop in Harlem has a slightly fried egg accompaniment – it’s properly listenable now. Even Michael, which is very wow and fluttery on other versions sounds pretty good here, even if a peculiar choice as an opener. You almost expect Paddy to appear in Peter Gabriel style batwings, it’s very prog.
This was the first gig Paddy had played since 1986, and just about his first word to the audience was “nervous”, there’s the odd forgotten lyric here and there. But it was a great gig and the set list was varied from other recorded concerts, including “Couldn’t Bear to be Special”, uniquely for 1990 recordings I know of.
I just wish I’d gone: this was the one Prefab Sprout show I might have attended and a couple of people I know did, but my interest had just lapsed.