Peter Hammill "Reel 3"
Roma (Italy), Stadio Flaminio
01. Slender Threads (G) (cut - after the end of the second verse)
02. German Overalls (G) (cut - starts at the end of the first verse)
03. Dropping The Torch (G)
04. In The End (P)
05. Hammill introduces Jackson
06. Easy To Slip Away (P)
07. Troubles announcement - enter Banton & Evans
08. In The Black Room
09. Rock And Role (some major dropouts and cuts)
Tot. Time: 47'45"
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PH 'REELS' SERIES RELEASE NOTES
This is the third and final one from a set of 3 open reels recordings whose source is the same as all the Rimini 1975 shows I seeded last year, though the quality varies a lot and is definitely not on par with those.
There was no info on the reel boxes about when and where these were recorded, but there was a 99,9% probability they all come from shows in Rome (or very nearby).
Unfortunately those originals reels have been lost (destroyed) years ago, so all I can offer comes from 1st generation copies on cassettes I did about 15/20 years ago...
With the invaluable help of a bunch of much more PH/VDGG knowledgeable guys than I will ever be, I'm bringing all three of them out with as much information as I could gather.
REEL 3 NOTES
This was somewhat 'easier' to identify, in being a show with three separate moments: Peter Hammill solo, then joined by David Jackson, and finally by Hugh Banton and Guy Evans. It was part of a double bill happening which took place in Bologna and in Rome in May 1973, with Arthur Brown and Camel sharing the stage with them. Some of the experts I asked to appeared skeptical at the beginning, having heard different stories about the Rome show that convinced them VDGG actually did not play "as such". But then all the pieces of the puzzle came together and we all agreed upon the date and venue.
The story is quite messed up, but apparently there were 2 major problems. First, there was not enough power for both sound and lights: thus the musicians decided to play without any lights in an impromptu jam session which featured members from all of the bands. A testimony of this jam is available on an "official" Italian bootleg under the name of Arthur Brown (though the date on that cd mistakes 1972 for 1973). Revealingly, the source of the cassette master from which the cd was taken is the same taper of these reels…
The second issue was a fire which broke out and caused a long delay before PH/DJ/VDGG could hit the stage. Again, this fits in perfectly with the onstage announcement after "Easy to slip away" that the Stadium neighbors had phoned the police complaining for the noise and the set had to be shortened and quickly brought to a finish.
Hammill was actually touring Italy as a solo artist at the time, but the 2 'package' shows were billed and sold as the only VDGG reunion gigs. Alas, a reunion which only lasted for the 2 final numbers of the evening.
The recording is somehow perplexing: sound wise it is the best of the 3 reels (and I did nothing to it except normalize to have a more consistent sound level between right and left channel and quiet and louder parts). But the reel itself is the one which suffered the most problems, and the enjoyment of the show is marred by plenty of cuts (the main one being between the second verse of Slender Threads and the first one of German Overalls) and loads and loads of dropouts. Some bits were totally unusable and I decided to just cut them out. In others I left them untouched when the music "continuity" was still there. In other instances I have attempted some "daring" edits in the spirit of preserving as much of the recorded music as possible. In total I have edited out about 2 minutes of the "full" digitized tape.
I know that this will probably leave the purists unsatisfied (or even disgusted - some passages have missing lyrics or bridged instrumental sections that were simply non existing… though they appear to run quite smoothly), but to my ears they do sound definitely more pleasant than garbled tape distortion.
Download this bootleg here