Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Dead Can Dance - Kongresové Centrum, Prague, Czech Republic - 10.10.2012 (Flac)

Huge Thanks to ianmkacd for all the of his uploads of the recent DCD concerts on DIME.


Type: Audience master, recorded from seat in 6th row of left block,
      approximately 15 metres from the left, ceiling-mounted PA.

Source: Factory-matched pair of Schoeps CCM 41V microphones (DINa mounted) ->
    Marantz PMD661 recorder with Oade Concert Mod
    (-18 dB gain/44.1 kHz/24 bit WAV)

Lineage: Audacity 2.0.2
       * applied varying amplification for consistency across recording
       * attenuated applause
       * added fades
       * split tracks
       * converted to 16 bit
     -> FLAC (compression level 8) [libFLAC 1.2.1 20070917]

Taper: ianmacd


En route to Prague via Zürich, I go down with the same raging flu that has
been tearing its way through my family for the last few days. I'm the last to
contract it, but the timing of its onset could hardly be worse. I feel
progressively more ill as the day wears on, a fever is steadily taking hold of
me and I have a splitting headache.

By the time I arrive in central Prague after taking the bus from the airport,
I'm really not feeling at all well. My head is grinding and I'm exhausted.

Jirka is a resident of Prague. We met in Beirut and then again in Frankfurt,
so this is my third time seeing him this tour. When he arrives at the bus
stop, we take the metro to my hotel, but I feel so ill by the time I arrive
that the only thing I want to after checking in is sleep.

It's a crying shame, because I love Prague, but there's to be no moseying
around the centre of this beautiful city for me today. In fact, I feel so
nauseated now that even the gig is in question.

Jirka leaves me to try to sleep it off. I set an alarm and go to bed,
shivering as I get in.

When the alarm wakes me, I feel no better. I shower to refresh myself and then
haul myself downstairs for something to eat in the hotel's restaurant. I can't
manage much and Czech fare is heavy, so I pick at my food and then go back to
the room for some more rest. I feel as if I may soon throw up. Ugh.

I'm still lying on the bed at 19:15, which is getting to be crunch time. Go or
no go? All I want to do is sleep, but I'm never going to forgive myself if I
don't at least make an effort to go to the gig, a gig for which I have already
flown on two aeroplanes and booked an overnight stay in a hotel.

I've already lost out on my afternoon of wandering around Prague; I don't want
to forfeit the gig as well. When I come to view this day in hindsight, weeks,
months or years from now, I'll never be able to recall exactly how sick I
felt. My memory of it will inevitably serve to mitigate its severity, reducing
it to the status of something I certainly should not have let interfere with
my plans. Knowing full well that missing the show will therefore lead to
enduring regret, I resolve to go and make the best of it.

Mercifully, my hotel is part of the same complex as the Congress Centre,
so the site of the gig is just a three minute walk away.

The Czechs have a complicated ticketing system in place, whereby admittance is
granted only upon presentation of a ticket bearing the attendee's name.
Blank tickets, which seem to account for most of those sold in advance, must
be exchanged for a personalised ticket before the concert.

This proves easier said than done when you have purchased your ticket over the
Internet as one of a batch of three from some bloke in Finland. The box-office
requires one to present a copy of the original purchase confirmation e-mail,
but all Jirka and I have is a PDF file containing three tickets, with
instructions which two of the three are to be used by us.

It took Jirka no fewer than four visits to the box-office and a lot of back
and forth with Finland over the last 48 hours before he finally emerged
victorious with tickets bearing our name. He also had no option but to pick up
the ticket of the third person in the batch and then call her to arrange the
handover of her ticket.

I suppose the system is an attempt at combating fraud or the black market, but
it has the side-effect of causing a lot of hassle for normal people just
trying to attend a concert. Tickets do get legitimately resold and it
shouldn't be this hard to to gain entry on a valid ticket.

Thankfully, though, Jirka has taken care of everything before my arrival, so
I am spared this particular headache. I have enough on my plate this evening
with the very real headache that is pounding the front of my skull and making
my eyes burn like cinders.

Chief amongst my concerns this evening, however, is vomiting. I feel queasy
and there's a very real chance my stomach could turn volatile at short notice.
If Brendan thinks I'm a "fucking retard" and "insensitive prick" now, imagine
what his opinion of me will be after I stand up in the middle of 'All In Good
Time' and do the multicoloured yawn all over the row in front of me.

Joking aside, the concern is real. I don't want to be fated to become the
bloke who throws up at a Dead Can Dance concert in a prestigious venue on
foreign soil whilst wired to the hilt with recording equipment. That's just a
little bit more than I feel capable of dealing with this evening.

After suiting up in the lavatories, I take my seat in the sold-out Kongresové
Centrum. The venue has a capacity of 2,764 patrons and claims to be "ranked
among the thirteen best concert halls in the world". Well I never.

You can go there now, if you want:


Before the gig starts, Jaras comes over and introduces himself. Jaras (perhaps
better known to many of you by his user name jaraslesny) is the man who
produces all of the lovely artwork for the Dead Can Dance concerts that I and
others record and share. He has driven all day from Kaczory in northern Poland
for this gig and it's the first time we have met face to face.

Jirka and Jaras are seated in the centre of the front row. I'm located a
little further back, in the sixth row of the left block. I have a fairly
decent line to the PA from this position, so it should be a good recording,
although I'm too far off to the left for the circumstances to be described as

David Kuckhermann gets the show under way at 20:00 sharp. He is joined, once
again, by Vladiswar Nadishana, for what will be their last performance as a
duo that I witness on this tour. The remainder of their dates together are in
Russia, Poland and Hungary, none of which I will be attending.

I survive the support set without incident and Jaras joins me at my seat for a
chat during the intermission. I do hope that I'm going to last the evening. I
feel terrible, but no worse than when I arrived, so perhaps my condition is
stabilising and I've already had the worst of it.

My condition notwithstanding, it's a great gig. The band are in top form and
perform really well, but the Czech audience are rowdier than I'm accustomed
to. There's some beer-fuelled shouting from the back and people constantly get
up and wander in and out of the hall during the performance.

It's a little distracting, much more so than the similar behaviour I witnessed
in Zouk Mikael almost a month ago, where the less confined seating and open
air nature of the venue made the coming and going seem somehow more natural.
Whether or not this is the norm for a Czech gig in a seated venue like this, I
couldn't say, but it seems out of keeping and disrespectful to me. At least
no-one in my own row exhibits this annoying behaviour.

I'm delirious during the gig. A lot of people will use words like 'delirious'
to describe their state of mind during a Dead Can Dance concert, but I'm
utilising the literal definition of the word. My mind wanders and I drift in
and out of consciousness a couple of times. No-one seems to notice, though, so
I must have managed not to snore, at least.

As the band work their way through the set, I completely relax and enjoy the
soothing, medicinal properties of the music. My concentration is diminished,
however, and I find myself much less able than usual to commit the event to

Speaking of amnesia, after the song named after that condition is played, one
particular wag who is clearly finding the set a bit Brendan-heavy shouts out,
"Now Lisa!" He'll continue to be vocal about his preference throughout the

'Ime Prezakias' continues the recent development of Brendan's ending the song
with a heartfelt cry. It's a small embellishment, but a distinctly appreciable
improvement to the song.

Very little else from this gig stands out in my mind. That's partially
explained by my sickness, of course, but you also have to bear in mind that
we're working with a rigid set-list performed by a well-rehearsed band who are
now almost a month into the European leg of their tour.

With little or no banter to season the performance, most of these gigs are
more or less a carbon copy of the previous one. When the standard is this
high, that's no criticism, but the consistency of the performances is almost a
mixed blessing.

I'm certainly not bored -- after all, the albums don't change from one play to
the next and I don't grow bored of them -- but it would be nice to have a
little more improvisation in the set. Taken as individual performances, each
one is outstanding. Taken as a whole, the effect of listening to the same set
so many times in quick succession is one of reduced impact. Like anything
done habitually, one grows used to the effects.

When the band come out for the first encore, our wag from earlier yells
"Where's Lisa?" in the moment of silence before 'The Ubiquitous Mr.
Lovegrove' kicks in. It's a droll moment, but one doubts whether Brendan sees
the funny side.

Things get chaotic after the second encore. A man hands Lisa a bouquet of
flowers and they touch hands. At this point, the unattainable suddenly seems
within reach to many, and huge numbers of fans decide that they, too, would
like to make physical contact with Lisa. They rush down the aisles to the
front of the stage, where Lisa does her best to oblige them, shaking hands
with many of her admirers as she slowly makes her way off stage. It's an
unusual scene, even by the usual standards of Lisa adoration.

The venue's security staff do absolutely nothing to bring order to the chaos.
You can tell we're not in Germany now. This would never happen at the Alte
Oper or the Kölner Philharmonie.

With so many people out of their seats and two encores already in the bag, the
side doors have now opened and an exodus is taking place. I'm reminded once
again of Zouk Mikael, where Brendan was taken at his word when he said
"Goodnight everyone" at the end of the main set.

A third encore now seems very unlikely. The crowd's apathy certainly doesn't
warrant one, in my opinion, but Lisa nevertheless returns for 'Rising Of The
Moon' and even extends the song's ending with an extra vocal line.

After Lisa's parting declaration of love for the audience, I find Jirka and
Jaras and then make a brief stop at my hotel to safely deposit my equipment.
We then pile into Jaras' car with some of Jirka's friends and head into the
centre of Prague for drinks at a pub famous for selling very strong beer
(although I won't be partaking).

Again, all I really want to do is sleep. I'm a physical wreck, but Jaras and I
have been looking forward to meeting each other and our paths aren't likely to
cross again in the near future, so yet another session of burning the candle
at both ends ensues.

I make it back to my hotel at 02:30 with enough time for four hours of slumber
before I have to leave for the airport again. In the bathroom, I drink half
the fresh water supply of Prague in an attempt to conquer my unquenchable
thirst and then go to bed, shivering like a man just pulled from the cold sea.

It's something of a relief to reach this point in the tour. The band now head
to Russia from here, then back west to Poland before descending through
Hungary to Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Portugal. It's all a bit too far, too
awkward and too expensive to attend from here. Besides, I have a run of local
gigs coming up, proving that there is, in fact, still life outside of Dead Can

The European tour will come to a close at the end of this month with a gig at
London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall, followed by one in Dublin two days
later. With more than two weeks to go until those, I expect to be feeling
revitalised and even more excited to see the band again by the time those
dates roll around.

The recording of Prague has turned out very well, especially when you consider
that your taper was occasionally asleep on the job. I'm happy to say that this
has had no impact on the result.

Live audience recordings are both a great memento for those who were present,
and a way of experiencing a watered down version of the event for those who
were not. On this occasion, I arguably fall into both categories. Like many of
those around me, who were seemingly unable to remain in their seat for two
whole hours, my brain also occasionally got up and wandered. The recording is
therefore both a great souvenir for me and a way of filling in the blanks.

As ever, samples are provided to help you decide whether this is worth the
share ratio depletion for you. I personally feel that this is one of the
better recordings I have produced of this tour, superior by quite a margin to
the Frankfurt and Cologne recordings, for example. Every recording has subtle
differences in ambience and sound, however, so let your own ears be the judge.


01. [07:49] Children Of The Sun
02. [06:41] Anabasis
03. [06:26] Rakim
04. [08:36] Kiko
05. [04:38] Lamma Bada
06. [06:23] Agape
07. [06:47] Amnesia
08. [05:52] Sanvean
09. [04:48] Nierika
10. [05:49] Opium
11. [06:48] The Host Of Seraphim
12. [04:55] Ime Prezakias
13. [05:17] Now We Are Free
14. [06:57] All In Good Time
15. [02:32] [encore break]
16. [05:48] The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove
17. [03:59] Dreams Made Flesh
18. [03:11] [encore break]
19. [04:36] Song To The Siren
20. [07:13] Return Of The She-King
21. [02:18] [encore break]
22. [06:13] Rising Of The Moon

Total running time: 123:35

No comments:

Post a Comment