Eric Clapton - Orchestra Nights
London, England - February 10, 1990 - 3BR Records - SB 6
1) Layla Intro
3) Bell Bottom Blues
4) Lay Down Sally
5) Holy Mother
6) I Shot the Sheriff
7) Hard Times
8) Can't Find My Way Home
9) Edge of Darkness
10) Old Love
11) Wonderful Tonight
1) White Room
2) Concerto for Electric Guitar: First Movement
3) Concerto for Electric Guitar: Second Movement
4) Band Introduction / Interlude
6) Sunshine of Your Love
Note: this is a remastered, enhanced version from a private collector and its sound quality is
far superior to that on any of the "official" releases. A stunning recording.
"So I finished listening to 3BR and the Mid Valley 2005 remaster of Orchestra Night side by side. Both recordings are excellent soundboards with excellent audio quality, but in my own humble opinion the Mid Valley 2005 (I will call it MV2005 from here on out) is definitely an EQ mix that doesn't quite cut it compared to 3BR.
The short version: I prefer the 3BR. The longer explanation follows, and hopefully the info will help folks decide which version they might like better (I think 3BR and MV2005 are the best 2 versions out there).
First, the part where I praise 3BR and criticize MV. The 3BR recording really shines during instrumental portions of the show, presenting a more pleasing balance between EC's band and the orchestra than the MV2005 can provide. The EQ job that MV did on its 2005 remaster sought to elevate the vocals and EC's guitar, but in the process they injected the entire recording with a ponderous bass overtone that pushes the orchestra (and sometimes even the rest of EC's band) too far into the background. You can really hear the difference between MV's "ponderous bass" and 3BR's well-balanced presentation during the intros to many of the songs--try I Shot The Sheriff, Old Love, Wonderful Tonight, and Edge Of Darkness for starters. Those intros will reverbrate and sound excessively bass on MV2005, while the 3BR nails the correct mix. All of Hard Times sounds lousy and bassy on MV2005 after you've heard it on 3BR. White Room is perhaps the greatest travesty of all, compare the two and on MV it doesn't sound like EC's band is even in the same room. On songs like Lay Down Sally, Crossroads, and especially during the Concertos, Edge of Darkness, and the orchestral climax of Layla, you can hear 3BR balancing the band with the orchestra perfectly. It sounds like you're in the audience. The MV2005 tries to put you inside the soundboard, and for the most part I don't think it works.
The MV2005 remaster seeks to accentuate EC's vocals and guitar, and the recording does accomplish that goal. EC's vocals and guitar work are somewhat clearer on a number of tracks because they have been pushed forward. I'm obviously prejudiced, because I don't believe the vocals/guitar are so much clearer that it was worth messing with the bass and vocal/instrument balance, but everyone can be their own judge. I just don't think the benefits outweighed the costs. The one song in which I could almost give an edge to MV2005 is Holy Mother, because the track is SO driven by the vocal that it might have been a good move to push EC and his guitar forward.
I think the big points to consider for anyone debating between these versions is, if you really want EC and his guitar up front you will probably like MV2005; if you prefer a more balanced sound overall and want to hear more of the orchestra/instruments, you will definitely want 3BR. Other than Holy Mother, I don't think MV2005 got it right; I think 3BR got it right. As with any EQ, however, your own mileage may vary. Keep the differences in mind and choose whichever one is right for you!
And as Geetarz says, play it loud." - (HungerShitty user 'fklehman')