Kulttuuritalo , Helsinki, Finland
20th September 1976
Radio broadcast, B+, 52min
A 'Hogweeds' Remaster
This concert comes from the European leg of Camel's 'Moonmadness' tour in late September. It is the first documented occasion with Mel Collins playing on stage with the band. You can hear them still working out where he fits in to the arrangements.
Apparently, Camel's equipment was delayed in transit from their previous night's engagement in the Netherlands, and the band took the stage two hours later than anticipated. The Helsinki audience was patient, and with the help of David Lindholm (a singer/songwrited of national fame) the time was passed until they were ready. This may explain why the Aristillus tape appears to have been omitted at the beginning of the set.
The recording comes from a radio broadcast by Finnish National Radio YLE. An archivist at the station was contacted a few years ago about this recording, and reported that it could no longer be found.
This recording has been well traded since its first broadcast. Hence all the versions I have heard are from traded cassettes of the off-air broadcast, complete with some FM hiss. They all seem to come from the same broadcast, and possibly even the same master recording.
The best-known CD version has been 'Moonrise' (which is still on the tracker, thanks Raelearl):
It is complete, but has numerous problems, including significant dropouts, stereo wanderings, running slow by nearly half a semitone, and being denoised, which doesn't really improve the FM hiss situation, but does lead to a bright and brittle sound. At first this brightness can seem quite clear, but listening to an original analogue version makes you realise how much detail has been lost in the denoising.
This 'Hogweeds' remaster is based on a low-generation analogue source via a traded CDR. It was missing the final minute or so of Dunkirk (with its brutal edit), so I have added that in from the 'Moonrise' source. It doesn't seem the encore (Lady Fantasy) was ever broadcast.
The original recording is mono; even if the broadcast was originally FM stereo, the radio reception of the taper doesn't seem to have been. So I have simply reduced to mono, which gets rid of some dropouts and all the stereo inaccuracies. There were sections requiring patching, such as a section missing from Rhayader. This song has two missing sections on 'Moonrise', but on my version fortunately only the first, and a patch was possible. So the music now flows perfectly. There is still one fade/dropout later in Rhayader Goes to Town, but nothing I could do about that one, sounds like a radio/mix problem anyway (so authentic!).
There is an issue about the setlist, and my conclusion is that it is almost certainly out of sequence on the broadcast. The band's usual Moonmadness tour setlist almost always began (this is the setlist 3 nights later):
2. Song Within a Song
3. Great Marsh > Rhayader > Rhayader goes to Town
5. Chord Change...
(4 days earlier, the setlist was similar, but Supertwister was replaced with Air Born, which is entirely missing from this recording, and probably wasn't played)
This broadcast runs:
1. Great Marsh > Rhayader > Rhayader goes to Town (finishes with Pete back-announcing Snow Goose, and announcing Supertwister)
2. Song Within a Song
3. Chord Change...
Simply by moving Song Within a Song to the beginning puts the whole setlist back into the usual order. It also resolves a few other inconsistencies, such as Latimer's guitar tuning at the end of SWaS (which would make sense if he had just arrived on stage and needed some fine tuning after the first number), and Latimer's flute in SWaS appearing low in the mix before being corrected (getting the levels right on-the-fly during the first number). Neither of these things make as much sense happening half way through the set.
Also, the audio matches up perfectly (even the amp buzzes fit!), so I am pretty convinced this is the correct setlist. Why the songs were changed for broadcast we'll probably never know. One suggestion I have is that Snow Goose was the band's most popularly-known work at the time, and was bumped to the start of the setlist. (The only documented 1976 concert where the band actually began with Snow Goose was the Reading Festival, where they were playing to a general audience, and probably chose to begin with their most well-known material).
Finally, a gentle eq curve was applied to reduce the lower mids, and bring out the highs a bit more. Volumes were a bit erratic too, so I've balanced the whole set.
1. Song Within a Song
2. The Great Marsh >
3. Rhayader >
4. Rhayader Goes to Town
6. Chord Change
7. The White Rider
8. Lunar Sea
9. Preparation >
Andy Latimer; guitars, flute
Pete Bardens; keyboards
Doug Ferguson; bass
Andy Ward; drums
Mel Collins; Saxophone, flute