Saturday, 24 May 2014

The Chameleons Vox - Melkweg (Oude Zaal), Amsterdam, The Netherlands - 14.05.2014 (Flac)

Another great recording by ianmacd. Huge Thanks to hi for sharing it on Dime.

Original Info File:


Type: Audience master, recorded 4 metres back from the suspended left-hand
      side 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 2.0.5
       * Boosted bass by applying 6 dB of amplification to frequencies in
         the range 0 - 100 Hz.
       * Applied 1 dB of amplification to left channel.
       * Applied variable envelope amplification across recording for
             consistent listening experience.
       * Attenuated individual hand claps.
       * Added fades.
       * Split tracks.
       * Converted to 16 bit.
     -> FLAC (compression level 8) [libFLAC 1.3.0 20130526]

Taper: ianmacd


01. [00:58] [intro]
02. [00:47] [banter]
03. [04:37] Don't Fall
04. [03:57] Here Today
05. [05:12] Monkeyland
06. [08:16] Second Skin
07. [03:59] Up The Down Escalator
08. [04:27] Less Than Human
09. [04:50] Pleasure And Pain
10. [03:43] Thursday's Child
11. [03:50] As High As You Can Go
12. [05:21] A Person Isn't Safe Anywhere These Days
13. [04:18] Paper Tigers
14. [07:12] View From A Hill
15. [02:10] [encore break]
16. [05:06] Looking Inwardly
17. [05:20] Singing Rule Britannia (While The Walls Close In)
18. [03:55] Return Of The Roughnecks

Total running time: 78:04


Mark Burgess informs us that it was no less than 30 years ago that The
Chameleons played their first gig outside the UK in this very room, performing
material from the same album that will be played in its entirety this evening.

"If there are any aspiring rock stars in the audience, let that be a lesson to
you. You're going nowhere, mate."

It's a hilarious start to the evening, the joke's inescapable truth being what
makes it so funny. To add insult to injury, the 700 capacity Melkweg isn't
even sold out.

One wonders whether there were more people in the audience three decades ago,
way back in the final quarter of the 20th century, but I suspect not. At the
time, the band hadn't yet emerged from obscurity to near-obscurity; whereas
now, it could be argued that the band's return transition is complete, except,
of course, for those of us old and wise enough to be in the know.

There's still a good-sized crowd here this evening and, from my point of view
at least, an Oude Zaal that hasn't sold out is the best kind. I get to enjoy
the show pleasantly free of undesired intimacy with other members of the
audience and in a room hovering around normal temperature. What more can I ask
for? Well, how about a total absence of chatters? We'll see.

We've assembled here tonight to listen to the band perform an integral 'Script
Of The Bridge', and that's exactly what is served up, right down to the debut
album's familiar running order.

The songs sound the same as 30 years ago and Burgess himself hasn't changed
much, either. He's lucky enough to still be sporting a full mop of hair and
sings as enthusiastically as ever.

The rest of the band are a different kettle of fish, of course. Long gone are
guitarists Reg Smithies and Dave Fielding, succeeded by a string of
replacements that has culminated in the now apparently stable duo of Neil
Dwerryhouse and Chris Oliver.

The last time I saw the band was just over a year ago, at which point they
were still playing with original drummer, John Lever. Even he seems to have
now called it a day, however, and is succeeded tonight (and presumably for the
whole tour) by long-time Burgess collaborator Yves Altana (who I thought was
'just' a guitarist, but it turns out he's a multi-instrumentalist).

With the band's debut album not providing enough material for a whole gig, I'm
hoping for 'Looking Inwardly' in the encores. I get lucky and it's the first
song after the band return to the stage.

I'm also expecting something from the band's recently released EP of new
material, the curiously named 'M + D = 1(8)'.

Burgess has released a lot of material in many guises over the years, but it
was a brave move to record new material under the Chameleons name after so
many years of resting on the laurels of the original repertoire.

Such optimism often turns out to be misguided, a band's bravado crossing the
line into foolhardiness when the fans make the crushing discovery that
whichever spark the band once possessed and which made them so special has
long since been extinguished.

It's one thing to trot out the old songs with gusto, but quite another to try
to add new songs to a canon that has matured with age to occupy a unique place
in each fan's heart. Each of us is reminded of a different time and place in
our life, populated by different people, when we hear these songs. New
material, on the other hand, comes with no such wistfully emotional
attachment. It will be judged in the harsh light of day.

Nevertheless, the band managed a promising start -- and a start is how it
should be seen, the Chameleons moniker notwithstanding -- with their first EP.
The band that composed it genetically has little in common with the one that
penned the original material, so it was never so much a question of whether
the band STILL had it, as one of whether an untested band could write good
songs in the first place.

I would have loved to hear 'Sycophants' as the second encore and I do wonder
why the decision was made not to air a single new track, but I can't complain
about the set that was played. It was great to hear 'Script Of The Bridge' in
its entirety and I suspect that I'll now prefer to listen to this live
recording instead of the original album. It positively bristles with energy.

Speaking of the recording, I'm very happy with it. I did feel that the raw
source material was so lacking in bass that it blighted an otherwise excellent
capture, so I have taken the liberty of rectifying this in post-processing
by applying a little judicious EQ to the low end.

This is actually the first time I have ever applied EQ to one of my recordings
since migrating to Schoeps microphones, which generally capture the sound
exactly as I would like to hear it. I'm not sure why that didn't quite happen
on this occasion, but the problem was rectified easily enough and the
recording now sounds glorious.

Chevalier Avant Garde were the support tonight and were also recorded.


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