Santana & John McLaughlin
Berkeley Community Theatre
Reconstructed by TheTooleMan, May 2007
Lineage: FM -> FLAC -> Sound Forge -> FLAC
Two recordings showed up recently on Dimeadozen. They generated a lot of discussion and some suggestions for a reconstruction project. The recordings were supposedly the early and late performances of Santana (the band) and John McLaughlin in Berkeley, CA, on September 5, 1973, but some of the files from the early show were later discovered to be from the Chicago show of a few nights earlier.
I couldn’t resist the challenge, though in hindsight I underestimated its size. The results aren’t perfect, but they are as good as I can make them given my time and budget constraints. The performance is fantastic, and certainly worth the effort.
The recordings presented more than a few obstacles. All of them had problems with EQ, tape hiss, FM noise and compression, cuts due to recording tape running out while the broadcast continued, and random adjustments to levels on one or both channels. The tracks from the “late show” recording were numbered in the wrong order.
In the original recording, at about 30 minutes into track three, “A Love Supreme,” the recording cuts off, then resumes with some tape swishing. This is probably the result of changing a tape and resuming recording while the performance continued. I cut out the damaged part of the recording and cross-faded the two parts to make a seamless edit, but some difference in audio quality between the two tapes can still be heard. The quality of the recording on this tape improves gradually, but track four, “I’m Aware of You” ends prematurely. I faded out just before the abrupt cut on the original tape. The recording of “Flame-Sky” cuts off abruptly, so it was also faded out.
Level changes occur randomly throughout the original recording, as if someone decided to adjust the levels on one or both channels of the tape recorder from time to time. These and other “false crescendos” created by FM dynamics processing were ironed out in the mastering process, though some may remain.
After listening to the Berkeley recordings, I believe that one person recorded all of the tracks from an FM broadcast. All of the tracks have the same FM hiss and dynamic compression, which draws up solo sections of performances to the volume of the full band and causes some “pumping” on percussion sounds. Since it is not too likely that both performances were broadcast on one night, there’s a good chance that all of these recordings are of the same show. All of the tracks in this reconstruction required pitch correction of -65 cents, another bit of evidence that the recording originated from the same person and broadcast.
My thanks to everyone who seeded the two recordings, and to everyone who contributed to figuring out exactly what we had there.
Listening back to the completed reconstruction, I find this to be an engrossing, ear-pleasing reconstruction of most of the fantastic Berkeley performance of this incredible band. Hopefully you’ll agree!
John McLaughlin –
guitar (6, 12 string)
Carlos Santana - guitar
(aka Larry Young) - organ
Doug Rauch - bass
Billy Cobham - drums
Armando Peraza – congas
The Life Devine
A Love Supreme
I’m Aware of You
Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord