Sneaking A Tape Recorder into concerts in the 70s-90s

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by sheeerheartattack, Jun 2, 2021.

  1. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen "Live music is better!"

    My only quibble with that Pittsburgh '91 tape is that it's mono, but that's a minor thing:laugh:. I believe "Cortez" and "Tonight's The Night" on Weld were from that show (edited, of course)
  2. Automatic Changer

    Automatic Changer Well-Known Member

    Had a go at most concerts I've been to since 2003 when I picked up a portable mini disc player and a Sony ECM-DS70P microphone and purely only for personal souvenir value. Not the best mic to capture bass but quite a few have come out acceptably and the funny thing is I've hardly revisited them. Getting the mic line levels right was always a cause for concern... a test from the opening act and then a rush to the lav to listen back and best-guess for the proper act.

    Few laughs along the way. Clutch gig few years ago dead centre but near the pit. Quite a few frothies already consumed and my mate says "you wanna go in"... sound then becomes VERY wavy as I'm being pinged around like a pinball.

    Stones on the Forty Licks tour and Keith taking centre stage for a couple tracks... well lets just say my wife wasn't impressed and leant into the mic to loudly declare "rip off"

    Neil Young and Crazy Horse 2013 and I had great seats all ready to capture what I assumed would be a great gig. Two absolute gibberers in front me pre-show talking rubbish who I knew were cause for concern. They were very pumped to see Neil. Sure enough, they were annoying once the show started. Then they went quiet... for quite a while. Finally one says to the other "f@#k me this is ordinary" and they left. I had to laugh. (the show did labour a bit)

    I've always appreciated gigs like Metallica where I know I can just purchase the soundboard after the event as a souvenir. Wish more did it.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021
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  3. Brian_Svoboda

    Brian_Svoboda Senior Member

    I may have written a blog post about that -- either that, or Terry was on a crime spree back then. Main Page
  4. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I dug out my Neil Young mini-disc and it’s pretty terrible. Other than Words (Between the Lines of Age) and the three encores. By then the audience is entranced/in a stupor/quiet and the recording came out great. But it’s the same tour that was officially released on the Red Rocks dvd so...pointless. :D
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  5. Rick H.

    Rick H. Raised on AM Radio

    There’s a lot out there. Official and boot.
  6. Chief

    Chief Over 10,000 Served

    That guy had a really good recorder and a quality microphone. But it was definitely mono. When he wanted me to record stuff for him he gave me his secondary setup.

    He used to EQ to heck out of everything he recorded, but he said that with that mic, he didn’t need to do much touch up.
  7. petercl

    petercl Forum Resident

    Seekonk, MA, USA
    My friend and I did this in the Providence area in the 80's-90's, we used a Sony D6 and Akai mics. My best ones were the Dylan 88 and the Ray Price, my friend's was Floyd in Foxboro 94. I can't find my Junior Brown show or my Alison Kraus & Cox Family, those came out good too. I started on a classical show just to work things out and I got better over time, but then the hassle became too much. I stopped because more people were taping and I could just trade for copies. Once digital hit I wasn't going to invest in all that equipment. My friend did the infamous Black Sabbath with Glenn Hughes in Providence.....not a memorable event (although I did get Glenn's autograph.)
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  8. Mark7

    Mark7 Forum Resident

    I started recording in the early 1980s when it was a real cat and mouse game to get equipment in. To me, a recording is the ultimate souvenir of a show. I don't attend a ton of shows but recorded 98% of the shows I have attended save for the Kinks and Eddie Money when I was on a date and didn't want to appear to be a weirdo! (Which tapers are of course!) Down the front of the pants and underneath was my preferred method after some trial and error. I started with a Walkman 2, went to a Sony D-3 and now employ a Zoom.

    I tend to start the recording and then not worry too much about it, except of checking levels and flipping the cassette in the old days. I like to make good recordings, but I'm not a million-dollar mic guy.

    Some stories: (1)The first show I ever recorded was Sabbath in 1982 and I somehow managed to get in a fairly large mono Panasonic deck, pure luck I didn’t get busted during the pat down. I put the blank cassettes under my feet in my shoes! They had a bend after that, but still worked, lol. Hey, I was just 17. (2) I took my Walkman2 to the beach too much and picked up a replacement Aiwa deck for two 1984 SRV shows; they came out awful!!!! Ugh. 3) I saw Sabbath (Heaven and Hell) in 2008 and had seats in the first row. During “Children of the Sea” Dio came up and we tapped devil horns with our hands, little did he know that I had a mic clipped to my collar…not that he would have cared.

    All my recordings are out there and include: Aerosmith, Asteroids Galaxy Tour, the ARMS concerts, Black Sabbath, Dio, Living Colour, Van Halen, U2, James Taylor, The Judds, Dokken, Joan Jett, ZZ Top, The Psychedelic Furs, James, Tony Bennett, The Church, Carole King, Yuna, Eric Johnson, Guns ‘N Roses, The Rolling Stones, SRV and probably a few others I can’t recall at the moment!
  9. edenofflowers

    edenofflowers A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular!

    *cough* Rika Ishikawa *cough* :angel:
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  10. recordhead

    recordhead Forum Resident

    In the 90's I recorded lots of stuff. I started out using a cheap portable walkman type cassette recorder then graduated to a Sony portable mini disc with core sound mics. I recorded my last show in 2001. It was Eric Clapton in Indy. All I did was fiddle with the MD and ignore the live show going on in front of me. A few times I smuggled in a Panasonic VHS-C recorder and filmed Pat Benatar, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter and YES. At the YES show, someone told security and I was almost caught.
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  11. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    On my last taped concert I came across a metal detector and only gained entry by playing dumb and confusing the dumb guard. You can usually count on stupidity when encountering gate guards.
    hobbes4444 and Chris DeVoe like this.
  12. Roy Crossland

    Roy Crossland Forum Resident

    I have a story about a cassette I found in a thrift shop (or is it at a thrift shop?). Where I live there is a local radio channel that can be heard in the county of Malmöhus in the south of Sweden. In 1980, they broadcasted hours of live music from a little town with local artists. I know they did this because I spoke to a person that worked at the radio station when it happened and he told me this.

    Some person recorded this on a cassette and it ended up in a thrift shop where I found it. I don’t know if there were more recorded because I only found this. I contacted the radio channel but they have nothing in the vaults from this event. So this is maybe all that is left from this broadcast!

    There is a short interesting interview with a 96 year old man telling some stories from the past. He was born in 1884 and since I heard his name, I found out he died in 1982 at the age of 98. And there are many local artists singing and performing. Christina Lindberg is on here too at the age of 12. She went on to become a professional singer later on. I wonder if she remembers this event.

    So this is not a recording from a concert but a recording from a radio broadcast. But it may be the only known left from this 1980 event.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
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  13. classicrockguy

    classicrockguy Forum Resident

    Livingston NJ
    First thing I thought of, Rerun taping the Doobie Bros on “What’s Happening!!!”:D

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  14. fast'n'bulbous

    fast'n'bulbous tight also

    New York, NY
    I taped a bunch in 1976-1979. I had a Nakamichi 550 and two Sure mics on a little stand for stereo separation. Pretty bulky but I lived in Minneapolis most of that time so I had a big faux-fur coat that hid everything, for 6 months of the year at least.

    One of the best was Springsteen at St. Paul Civic Center Theater 2/19/77. Over the years I traded it to a few people. Not long ago I was poking around on the web and found that somebody did a video recording of that show from the front row of the balcony, and synced it to my audio tape! I know it’s mine from some of the nearby talking between numbers.

    I taped Television at My Father’s Place 3/20/78. I traded that one a few times too and I swear that a couple of the songs made it onto the ROIR cassette “The Blow Up.” The guy banging the empty plastic beer pitcher on the table during Satisfaction was right next to me.

    In the liner notes to his 2010 album “Dylan Different” Ben Sidran talks about a 1974 show at a small club where Dylan was sitting in a booth at the back. I emailed him and asked if he wanted a tape of it (not very good quality, pre-Nakamichi) and oh by the way I also recorded three of his FM broadcasts from that era if he was interested. He said he didn’t have any of these things and yes please he’d love to hear them. In 2018 his “Live Around the World 1975-2015” collection included two songs from one of those FM broadcasts.

    When they opened the doors to one general admission show in a large venue I got crushed against the plate glass doors they didn’t open, and was nearly pushed through. I’m usually pretty nimble, but I had all this bulky equipment under my clothes and could hardly move! Got a pretty good tape that night, though, and lived to tell about it.

    I only got caught once, in the middle of a Van Morrison show at Avery Fisher in 1979. I was able to pull the tape swap trick as the usher was walking me up the aisle, but I did miss a couple of songs entirely while they took the Nak, gave me a claim check, etc. That was the last time, too much hassle for half a tape.
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  15. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe 3 months since last false death report!

    It's been mentioned at least four times on this thread so far.

    Apparently, it really was an earth-shaking cultural moment that defined the entire concert recording experience for a generation.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
  16. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe 3 months since last false death report!

    I'm curious, what people are doing to tape now? Every concert has a plague of people holding up phones, but all those phones have terrible tiny mono condenser microphones linked up to heavy duty compression.

    Does anybody make a stereo microphone set that links up to a phone via Bluetooth? Ideally a small enough unit that could be clipped onto a hat or glasses, constantly transmitting to the phone in your pocket? It shouldn't be that tough - basically just a reverse of the inexpensive, very high quality Bluetooth earbuds that I carry with me everywhere.
  17. BlueTrane

    BlueTrane Forum Resident

    There was a long period where I stopped going to concerts, but when I started again, I purchased this…


    Zoom iQ7, plugs into the phone Lightning port. Easy enough to smuggle into a venue, and everyone has mobile devices these days, unless the artist/venue does the take-your-phone thing, which is too much hassle to implement for most. I’ve done a few shows with it, and the results are very respectable. (I’m not sure how the results compare with the standalone dedicated Zoom recorders.)
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  18. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe 3 months since last false death report!

    I wonder if there is anything that will connect wirelessly? I really don't want to have a phone out of my pocket, and I definitely don't want to have a connector sticking out of a phone.
  19. AlienRendel

    AlienRendel Forum Resident

    Chicago, il
    What is it with Detroit? I've been taping since '99 and the jackholes at the Magic Bag are the only ones who have ever bothered to bust me for it. They erased everything on my recorder (including my bands rehearsals) and gave it back to me at the end of the night. I'm never going there again.
    Chris DeVoe likes this.
  20. BlueTrane

    BlueTrane Forum Resident

    I haven’t looked into that. But I’ve never had an issue with putting the phone in a shirt pocket with the mics peeking out of the top…. hit record, set a reasonable recording level, and forget it.
  21. Thunderman

    Thunderman Forum Resident

    New York
    Paul McCartney And Wings - 1976, New York, The Coliseum


    Snuck in a tape recorder, kept it hidden under my seat in a carboard box that the hot dogs came in. Every half hour I was bending down to flip the tape over or put in a new cassette.

    Listened to the set a lot. There was a new song called "Soily" (we didn't know the name of it when Paul played it) on my tape. It was cool to have and listen to a rocking Paul song that wasn't even released. When the official album "Wings Over America" came out, it was not a big deal to me. I had the entire show for months.
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  22. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe 3 months since last false death report!

    Yes, but what about us slobs who wear t-shirts?

    I don't know if I've ever seen a band t-shirt with a pocket on it, and of course I have to wear the t-shirt of the band we're all seeing from a much earlier tour to show how much better a fan I am.
  23. Django

    Django Forum Resident

    Dublin, Ireland
    I remember considering trying this in the 90s. Never did though.
  24. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe 3 months since last false death report!

    Aka the "Joaquin Phoenix in the movie Her" look.

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
  25. Jaycat

    Jaycat Forum Resident

    Harvard, MA, USA
    We have yet to hear from Dean Benedetti...
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