Tape Talk – Roxy Theatre 1978 Recordings

Tape Talk – Roxy Theatre 1978 Recordings

Let’s try to make sense of the various recordings associated with the Roxy Theatre gigs from 1978. This info is based on what circulates as of November 2014...

TH toured California twice in 1978, September and November, stopping at the Roxy both times, with early and late shows on each date. Seems like there were four dates for a total of eight shows.

First, we have an excellent AUD recording of the early set from September 19, good tape transfer, complete with full lineage and scans of the ticket stub. This is the best of the Roxy bunch in terms of sound quality, highly worth seeking out. The taper’s notes state he was unable to get a ticket for the sold-out late show on that date. We also have a fan-remembrance setlist, which could be the late show from this date, or possibly TH played another night at Roxy in September that year. Any additional date would have been after the 19th, since TH were up in the Bay Area until the 18th.

Next, we have two AUD recordings of the same show, but made by different tapers recording from apparently different locations within the theater. This is likely Saturday, November 18th, and we’re guessing this is the early show. The first tape to circulate digitally presents the complete concert, decent recording, albeit a little tinny. This circulates labeled as “October 18”. On that date, TH were travelling (or playing a gig) in the vicinity of Ohio and Michigan; given that they were still touring by car at that point, it’s not likely they would have made it from the Midwest out to California for a single date and then back to the Midwest. It’s likely that the “October 18th” label is simply just a typo for November 18th.

There’s also a partial tape of this very same concert from a different taper, this one boomy and somewhat distorted. This file-set was labeled November 18th, which we presume to be correct. The taper apparently arrived late and captured only “The Good Thing” through to the end of the show. This show has two encores, one song each, which leads us to guess it’s from the early show, as there would have been a time constraint to get the early show finished. (November 20th ticket stubs list 9:00 & 11:30 PM as the Roxy show times.)

Finally, we have the “Electrically” 2-LP set, a widely circulated vinyl bootleg that’s been available since 1979. The first disc of the set was originally released as “Compassion Is a Virtue, But…”, which contains ten songs labelled as “The Roxy, November 1978”. The performance captured in this recording is definitely different from the show captured in the two recordings detailed above. This is a fairly weak and thin sounding AUD recording, which appears to present the first six songs of the show, then jumps to the four songs that made up the three encores from the concert. We’re only guessing this is from the late show, since the final encore has two songs, and the band would have not been under any time constraints to stop playing, thus having the time to go off and back on stage three times. Note that the pairing of “Who Is It” going directly into “With Our Love” was only performed in shows from October thru December of that year, so it’s not likely this recording is from the September Roxy date(s). Of course, since the album’s not labeled, and the more complete cassette version hasn’t surfaced, this could also be from the extra Roxy date that was added on November 20th.

The other LP in the “Electrically” set was originally released as a single LP also called “Electrically” with a black & white cover. (When the two LP’s were combined into the 2-LP set they appeared with the more commonly recognized yellow cover showing various store signs on both front and back.) This disc was labeled “UCLA December 1978” and has usually circulated dated as “December 1st, 1978”. This is a most excellent AUD recording, perhaps the best of ’78, sounding professionally made to our ears. Unfortunately, the ten songs on the LP are the only part of this recording to have surfaced to date. The recording is clearly from an indoor show, so assuming the UCLA labelling is correct, this would be the first show from the November California tour-leg, that being Friday November 17th at the Ackerman Student Union. After TH played The Roxy on November 18th, they returned to UCLA for a highly regarded outdoor show on the Janss Steps on Sunday November 19th. This is the show depicted in the crowd shot on the cover of the “Chronology” DVD, and in various TH promo shots; there’s also a short silent video on youtube. Audio of this excellent show has recently surfaced (November 2014). TH proved to be so popular that The Roxy brought them back for an extra added gig on Monday November 20th. This would be the band's last ever club gig in LA…

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