- This superb double album boasts Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on all four sides
- Excellent sound for one of the best live bands of the era
- This copy plays bout as quiet as we can find them — Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- ” The excitement of this material is palpable, and the muscular band rips into these tunes with more power than the originals in most cases… arguably one of their finest releases.” – All Music
We recently had a big shootout for this live double album and were very impressed with how good some of this material can sound, particularly on the first side which was recorded before the band got huge and started playing bigger venues. A lot of copies we played were too thick and compressed to break through the challenges that live recordings face, but this one really nailed it.
The music is superb — these guys were one of the very best live bands of the era, no doubt. Even though some of the material wasn’t exceptionally well recorded, this copy capably presents the music throughout and lets you hear why the Talking Heads were such a special live act. The typical copy just doesn’t do that.
The sound is lively, incredibly present, rich and full. Byrne’s vocals sound just right and the clarity is superb. When the music is this immediate and three-dimensional, it takes the enjoyment to a whole new level.
We’ve raved about a number of live albums over the years. Some of the better sounding ones that come readily to mind (in alphabetical order) are Belafonte at Carnegie Hall, David Live, Johnny Cash At San Quentin, Donny Hathaway Live, The Jimi Hendrix Concerts, Performance – Rockin The Fillmore, Live Wire – Blues Power, Waiting For Columbus, Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out and Live at Leeds. I would be proud to have any of them in my collection.
What to Listen For (WTLF)
The best sides tended to have the same qualities. They were huge, open, clear, transparent, rich, tubey, and natural.
And of course, they rocked, with startling dynamics, massive amounts of bass and a full-bodied midrange. The better the pressing the more the instruments jumped right out of the speakers.
What the best sides have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl domestic pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes even as late as 1982
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with the guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the concert hall
No doubt, there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
A Clean Break
Don’t Worry About the Government
Love ? Building on Fire
Memories (Can’t Wait)
Houses in Motion
Life During Wartime
The Great Curve
Crosseyed and Painless
Take Me to the River
Although most people probably think the only Talking Heads live release is Stop Making Sense, the fact is that there’s an earlier, better live album called The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads. Originally released in 1982 on LP and cassette, the album chronicles the growth of the band, both stylistically and personnel-wise. The first LP is the original quartet version of the band, recorded between 1977 and 1979, performing excellent versions of tunes (mostly) off 77 and More Songs About Buildings and Food. Also included were the previously unavailable “A Clean Break” and “Love Goes to a Building on Fire,” as well as early versions of “Memories Can’t Wait” and “Air.” The second LP comes from the Remain in Light tour, recorded in 1980 and 1981. In order to present something close to the music on that album, the original quartet lineup was greatly expanded. Added were two percussionists (Steven Stanley, Jose Rossy), two backup singers (Nona Hendryx, Dollette McDonald), Busta Cherry Jones on bass, Bernie Worrell (!) on keys, and a young Adrian Belew on lead guitar. The excitement of this material is palpable, and the muscular band rips into these tunes with more power than the originals in most cases… arguably one of their finest releases.