October 11, 1999
On-stage Master Recording (incomplete)
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This story sucks so much it hurt to write it.
When this gig was scheduled, I couldn\'t believe that Mule was playing this VERY small venue, one of my favorites from following Chris Duarte over the years. This is easily the smallest bar that I would ever seen Gov\'t Mule in, even going back to 1995.
Making this show even more drool-worthy for me was the fact that I had recently begun using my Aiwa mic on-stage center, with stunning results. Knowing the lay-out of the Bluebird, I knew that with the triangular shape pf the stage, that the amps would be facing the CENTER of the stage, right where my mic would be, only about two feet from Matt\'s Bass drum. This was too good to be true!
Well, you know what they say about that. If it sounds too good.....
If you intend to tape on-stage, getting to the gig early is mandatory. Myself and a friend left town with just enough time to get there when I felt I needed to, in order to get my spot and get set up. By the time we left, I was really worked up, just knowing how great this night was going to be. I had my gear and my party supplies in order, and I was ready to rock!
Except for the flat tire that I get right before crossing into Indiana....
Not to be deterred, however, I set what must be a record for a spare replacement. I was on the road again, no lie, in about 6 to 7 minutes. I was just as eager NOT to deal with the Highway Patrol, as I was to get to the gig early. I have a witness to this, but after the rest of this story is revealed, I doubt he will want to acknowledge any of this.
So, we get to Bloomington, and I get set up, and for most of the night everything is cool. The show starts, the band is smoking, I\'m buzzed, and life is good. The only bummer is that the guy I came with starts taking pictures with a flash, in spite of the fact that they said before the show that pictures were o.k.- but no flash. Pretty soon, he gets warned, I can\'t remember if it was by venue, or band. He then gets warned a second time after he continues. I tell him to \"cool it\". This is about twenty minutes into the gig.
At some point, I decide to go out to the car to indulge. This is only possible because I have somebody there with me, who can stay and watch my stuff and our spot while I\'m outside. We just take turns going out to the car. So I\'m out in my car, getting a better attitude. I originally only intended to indulge a little, but I think \"screw it, my stuff is safe inside being watched, I\'m going to indulge a little more!\" So in all, I\'m out in my car a good ten minutes. I get out of my car and start walking towards the bar, and guess who I see? My friend, who was supposed to be watching my stuff, is outside the club, on the sidewalk! I start to ask but he cuts me of saying \"They kicked me out for using the flash, fuck \'em, I don\'t care\". WTF!! It just proves that he wasn\'t really there for the music(this same guy also said more than one time that he \"didn\'t think that Allen Woody was really that great of a bass player, but that people like him because he plays loud\"). I couldn\'t believe it. Not only was he probably the only person ever kicked out of a Mule show, but my equipment was in there with nobody watching it, AND NOBODY HOLDING MY SPOT RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE STAGE!
Now, I would probably trust a Mule fan more than fans of other bands to let me back into my spot and not fuck with my recording, but having had a soundboard cassette stolen at a Duarte gig earlier that year, I was a bit paranoid. When I got back in, my gear was thankfully still in place, and nobody tried to yell into my mics(my other fear). So now I\'ve got SEVERE cottonmouth, my friend is outside, and because the place is packed, I\'m feeling much less able to just go to the bar, take a piss, do anything. Basically I\'m stuck there. Not a bad place to be stuck, but not the ideal, great party night I had in mind as I\'m dying of thirst and wanting to party some more. \"Oh well, so much for the party\", I thought. At least I was going to walk away with a recording that would be so killer it would make me forget all the details. That was my consolation for my rapidly dissipating buzz.
So the show is fantastic, and we leave Bloomington.
Since the time I started recording in 1994, I had always listened to at least some, if not all of the recordings on the way home from the shows. We drove a liitle bit, allowing my ears to adjust a bit before popping the tape in. When we finally started to listen to the recording, I was ecstatic. It sounded amazing, just as I\'d hoped. Warren in the left channel, Allen in the right channel, Matt right in the center. I\'d taped them before like this, but because of the smallness of the stage, this one sounded especially great. I was happy as could be, and the troubles of the night were all forgotten.
About 3 hours later, I arrive home. Like many roadtrips before, although I\'m tired and have to work that day, I\'m so jazzed about my recording that I want to crank it through my stereo instead of going to bed(spare me the 12-step comments, I already know I have a problem). Before I play the tape, I get all buzzed up so that I can get that surreal \"I can\'t believe I\'m the one who recorded this\" type of feeling while listening.
This is where the story gets tragic. You tapers may want to grab a box of Kleenex and a drink before you read further.
I finally pop tape 1 in and press play. I start to listen to the tape that I\'d heard parts of earlier in the car, and it sounds exactly the same except for one thing- IT\'S ALL TOTALLY F**KED UP!
I have no answer as to what happened. It had never happened before. There are parts of the recording that sound fine, normal, fantastic. But other parts sound like the speed is varying, or that the tape was stretched or slipping. This wasn\'t the case while playing it in the car, so I have to assume that something happened during that playback in the car to damage the tapes. Out of the hundreds of cassette tapes I used in recording before going to MD, it only occurred on these two tapes, which just had to be on this night. I cannot express the depth of my sense of loss when I realized that something so beautiful had been ruined. Not completely ruined, as there are some tracks where I struggle to hear any flaws. But at the time. as far as being a pristine, flawless recording, it was as good as ruined for me.
What gives me a tiny bit of hope are they texts of people who re-do recordings from the 70\'S. They seem to be very capable with the editing software. If done, I\'m sure this would be a bear of a project, but it could be the most deserving recording ever.
I\'m putting up this recording for three reasons.
1) To hopefully have somebody with some real skill re-do this and improve it\'s imperfections, then upload the results. If it\'s even possible.
2) To share the better parts with Mule fanatics who want everything. You can make a CD of just the tracks you find listenable. Even if it\'s just three or four songs, the on-stage sound will make it worth it. Woody in yo\' face. Stunning recording.
3) To give Mule collectors a glimpse of what is to come. I\'ve already uploaded two shows with on-stage mics. Many people commented about how much they enjoyed the Louisville 1997 recording. Well, this one and the four to follow totally KILL that one, as nice as it may be.
1.Grinnin\' In Your Face
3.Blind Man In The Dark
4.Lay Your Burden Down
5.Don\'t Step On The Grass, Sam
6.She Said, She Said
7.Tomorrow Never Knows jam
8.Monkey Hill/She\'s So Heavy jam
9.I Shall Return
3.Power Of Soul jam
4.Mule/I\'ve Been Working/Woody\'s jam/Mule
5.Come On In My Kitchen intro/Look On Yonder Wall