Saturday, January 15, 2011

Update Boney M. Live In Concert 1979

New Coverart and DVD-Menu

My German friend Tim designed wonderful coverart for the 1979 concert! He created an image for a dvd-cover, a dvd-label and a complete new dvd-menu-picture which all contain the underwater theme. So I recreated the dvd and replaced the concert picture of Marcia with the new menu-picture and I also extended the loop from "Bye Bye Bluebird".

Downloadlinks for the revamped dvd including the new menu and the coverart are in the comments.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bonus: Boney M. Live In Concert 1979

The Show

A while ago I bought a pile of disco-dvd's on the internet.... When they arrived at my home and I watched them I almost fell off my chair: one of these dvd's contained a spectacular live concert from Boney M. from 1979!!! And what's more: the quality of the sound and image was fantastic!

Prior to this concert I had only seen two more complete shows of Boney M. performing totally live, the first one was the 1977 concert which is featured on the Fantastic Boney M. DVD, which has also fantastic image and sound, but in my oppinion suffers from one major flaw: Liz' microphone was set too low and Marcia's too high, which resulted in the ruining of two beautiful songs: "Still I'm Sad" and "When I Need You". And the second Boney M. live concert I saw was the famous concert from Dublin in 1978 that contained a spectacular tracklist and performance by Boney M. but seemed to be available only in very bad copies! (luckily somebody spoiled me last year and sent me a very decent copy of it; Thanks J.!). And then there is of course also the South African concert form the 80's with Reggie of which there are some clips to be found online.

The concert from 1979 that I found has sound and image that is very comparable to the 1977 concert from the Fantastic DVD, but actually it's even better! The girls are in top-shape and also Bobby does what he does best: dancing his ass off and growling like a mean motherf#cker!

After some examination I found out that the show originates from 1 november 1979 and was performed in Vienna (Austria). It seems that in those years the town of Vienna had an annual 1st of november festival in the "Wiener Stadt Halle" and in 1979 Boney M. was the main act. The show was recorded for Austrian television and was aired on the same day, that's where this copy comes from. (By the way: the 1977 show from the Fantastic dvd is credited to have been performed in Hamburg (Germany) but is very likely to have been recorded also at the same venue on 1 november 1977 instead)

The following songs are performed:

01. Let It All Be Music
02. Rasputin
03. Never Change Lovers In The Middle Of The Night
04. Do You Wanna Bump
05. Daddy Cool
06. Belfast
07. Sunny
08. I'm Born Again
09. El Lute
10. Gotta Go Home
11. No Woman No Cry
12. Rivers Of Babylon
13. Brown Girl In The Ring
14. Let It All Be Music

The whole concert lasts for a bit more than 1 hour and the groupmembers are wearing their Oceans Of Fantasy Outfits.

Here is a previewclip of "Brown Girl In The Ring":


For the DVD I basically did the same as with the Love For Sale DVD: first I extracted the concert to my harddrive, then I ran it through a dvd-creating software program, together with a menu-picture and a loop I created from an instrumental part from "Bye Bye Bluebird", I added skip-through chapters and re-burned the whole thing to a disc, et voila: another great dvd!!!

N.B. When I first discovered this show I decided to sit on it because it was so very special and rare, but recent events (other fans sending me special and rare stuff, the passing of Bobby) have made me change my mind and I think it's time that everyone can see the magic of Boney M. perfoming live in concert!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Love For Sale Concert Remastered

The Show

"Love For Sale" is the name of Boney M.'s second studio album and also the name of the concert-tour they went on after the release of that album. In the spring of 1977 a promo-concert was filmed in Hamburg (Germany) and during that concert the group performed the majority of the songs they had recorded in 1976 and 1977. Except for one (the fantastic "A Woman Can Change A Man") all of the songs from the Love For Sale album were presented and also 5 tracks from the previous album "Take The Heat Off Me" were shown

At that time euro-disco was the hitsound all over the world and Boney M. were the masters of it. It was a year before their commercial peak, but also the year before they started changing their sound from disco into biblical hymns, calypso-beats and nursery rhymes.

The Love For Sale Concert is a pure glamour-disco extravaganza and a great delight for all Boney M. fans and disco-lovers. It's a shame that it was only commercially released for a very short while on VHS-casettes (in a time that most people didn't have a video-recorder) and therefore it is very rare and most of the songs performed on that show haven't been seen by a lot of people, except for a few songs that made it onto the Boney M. Gold DVD.

A few years ago I found a mint copy of the show and I transfered it to DVD so the quality would remain great. I've watched the show a lot since then and every time I see it, it's as fabulous as the first time I watched it!

During the past few years the ABBA-fans have been treated with a lot of ABBA-specials that have been officially released on DVD (AbbaDabbaDoo, Abba in Japan and Abba in Switzerland) and all of those DVD's have remastered sound. I've watched these DVD's and they are fantastic: the remastered stereo-sound that has been put under the clips brings new live to the performances and makes them sparkling and fresh. Being a bit of an amateur sound- and video-editor myself I wondered if I could do the same with Boney M.'s Love For Sale Concert. After thinking about it for a while I decided to give it a try, because replacing the original mono-sound with the stereo-sound from the remastered cd's would definitely refresh this concert, but there would also be some obstacles...

The Remastering

As said before this is a promotion-concert and therefore most of the songs are performed in full-playback. Personally I'm very glad that they did that, because Boney M. always were stronger on their recordings than they were on stage. They did deliver some excellent live-concerts during their carreer, the one being recorded for Irish television in november 1978 being superior, but the records were produced so brilliantly with genious and very clever musical arrangements and multiple vocal overdubs done by Liz and Marcia that it was merely impossible to recapture that same sound on stage. A full live concert from 1977 was also recorded and has been released on the Fantastic Boney M.-DVD a few years ago and that's definitely worth the watch: songs like "Take The Heat Off Me" and "No Woman No Cry" are excellently performed, but the whole live-sound from that performance differs very much from Boney M.'s recording-sound.

The fact that the majority of the promo-concert was playback also made it suitable for stereo-remastering. First I had to re-edit all of the songs performed, because most of them were played a little bit faster on the show compared to the records and they used different edits and a lot of early fade-outs. Going through the tracklist I've noted the differences:

01. Love For Sale: the violin-played intro is left out (in fact: all of the string-parts from the records had been removed for this show, to give it a more 'live-feel', which is especially noticable on "Sunny" and "Daddy Cool" that are originally heavily arranged with strings, but also songs like "Take The Heat Off Me" and "Plantation Boy" got weaker from the lack of string-parts). The other thing they cut out of the song is the beautiful instrumental part from the middle. I later used this part as a loop that's playing through the menu of the DVD I created.
02. Take The Heat Off Me: early fade-out and Marcia switches between live singing and lip-synching during the verses.
03. Baby Do You Wanna Bump: a completely new version of this song was used for this show. It's got a different structure than all the versions that are available, so I had to recreate the whole song using lots of re-edits and I had to restructure many of the parts from the song to make a stereo-version.
04. Plantation Boy: finally a virtually complete song was performed; only a slightly early fade out.
05. Belfast: same here, the whole song was played.
06. Gloria, Can You Waddle: early fade out.
07. Have You Ever Seen The Rain: this was also a bugger, because instead of an early fade-out (which is easy to recreate) this song actually was longer than the album-version! I extended it using a part from the middle of the song and mixing it with Liz's mono-vocals from the show.
08. Sunny: no strings were used here (as said before), which takes all the sparkle and building-up out of the song. To add to the 'concert-feel' Liz's solo-parts were sung live, but her microphone wasn't on during the first verse, they sang live during what was originally an instrumental part and they added a cold ending. Lots of work to do! I decided to mix the stereo-version together with some of the original vocals from the show, because otherwise the performance would be out of sync.
09. Still I'm Sad: the humming-part after the second verse got removed and again an early fade-out.
10. Silent Lover: the whole song was played.
11. Motherless Child: the whole song was played.
12. Ma Baker: some parts at the end of the song were cut out.
13. No Woman No Cry: as before with "Sunny" Liz sang live during this performance and I used the same technique for the remaster: mixing the new stereo-sound with the mono-sound from the show. That was also essential here, because this song features some audience-participation and to leave that out of the new sound would be rediculous. Again they used a cold ending and therefore the very last part of the record isn't performed.
14. Daddy Cool: no strings (a flute-sound instead) and the omission of the intrumental part with the heavy bass-line near the end. I mixed the audience-clapping from the beginning of the song in with the stereo-sound.

So, those were all the re-edits I had to do to recreate the exact used versions from the show in stereo.

Re-editing and remastering normally isn't too hard for me; I've had some practice. The Love For Sale Concert however brought a whole new challenge: after I had re-edited the stereo-versions of the songs and made them the excact same length as the original mono-versions I noticed that a lot of the show was still out of sync. After a carefull examination I saw where the problem came from: for some reason some parts of the songs from the show have different tempo-changes compared to the cd-versions (sometimes even within 1 line!), something I had never seen before. To make the whole concert 100% sync I had to re-re-edit most of the songs very heavily. It literally took me weeks to get everything excactly the same as on the concert (to compare: normally when I remaster a videoclip it takes me about 15 minutes to get it stereo and sync). This really was a hell of a job and I nearly gave up twice, but: I got it done finally and the end-result was great.

I also made the sound from the original show a little higher and took the soundlevel from the re-edited cd-versions a bit down, so everything could be mixed together. I mixed all the applause from the audience and the group's "Thank You"'s in and then I put the new sound under the show and the whole concert had been remastered and was totally in sync. And like with the remastered ABBA-Specials the stereo-sound brought new live to the images, the Love For Sale Concert looked better and fresher than ever!

Here is a previewclip of "Sunny":


After I had remastered the complete concert, all that was left to do was to make a dvd out of it. So I got a friend to make a nice picture for the dvd-menu and I imported the whole file into a dvd-creating software program. I added chapters that made it easy to skip through the songs and I added an instrumental part of "Love For Sale" as a loop to the dvd-menu. Then I burned the whole project to a disc and the dvd was finally ready!

When I put the dvd into my dvd-player for the first time I had connected my television-set with a dolby surround sound system and I turned the volume up really high. It was an amazing experience watching the concert like this: it felt like I was sitting front row in Hamburg in 1977 watching the best show ever!!!

Creating this dvd was a hell of a job, but it was definitely worth it!

Downloadlinks are in the comments.