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

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

  1. steveharris

    steveharris Forum Resident

    I love the name egg crisis!Some of you guys keep coming up with all these interesting names!:righton:
    Egg Crisis likes this.
  2. tob

    tob Forum Resident

    Bethesda, MD USA
    I think I only ended up doing it twice. Wasn’t really worth the effort.

    First was to a Moody Blues concert at Boston Garden in fall 1971, I believe. Had a Philips cassette recorder in a scrunched-up standard brown supermarket shopping bag. Got stopped twice to have the bag inspected. Once, the security guy said, “What are you hiding that for?” They were too busy looking for beer! Sound was muddy and echo-y from being in the enclosed hall.

    Second was maybe late spring 1973. Schaefer Stadium, Foxboro, Mass. It was the Edgar Winter Group opening for Humble Pie. Same recorder, same type shopping bag, same security only looking for beer. Sound was a little clearer (no echo), and Steve Marriott threatened to come down and beat the $&!? out of whoever was throwing junk at the stage.

    As someone else mentioned, my tapes got stolen from my car a couple years later.

    A friend recorded several shows back then. I endlessly played his Jeff Beck show tape from the Boston Orpheum or Music Hall circa ’71-'72. That tape also lost with the others. Years later, found a boot CD of the same tour from a gig a few days later in Connecticut. Great show.

    Amazing what’s out there and turns up occasionally.

    DTK and Zeki like this.
  3. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    we did get some cool boots from those audience tapes...my all time favorite Neil Young boot and a Bob Dylan boot are very special to me still today...the Neil concert never came out officially although it supposed to??? uh huh...Neil. The Bob stuff came out many years later in excellent quality...I'm talking The Kindest Cut and The Ten Of Swords set...I was thrilled to get the alternate Desolation Row officially instead of the bad acetate with a very consistent noise on the TOS...yes, I strayed a little ....apology.
  4. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    My first Sarah McLachlan show was an eye-opener. They did something with the finale that apparently they didn't do again. I brought it up years later at a record show to a guy who was selling cassettes of shows. And it turns out, the guy who was selling the cassettes, was tight with the guy who had actually been to that show...and, next time that show came around the same location, he was back, and had the tape for me.

    Told me, his friend attended shows with dark sunglasses, with a piezo mic affixed to both sides of his frames, and then into a DAT recorder in his lap. Apparently, being at shows in dark glasses, tends to keep the people around him from spoiling his enjoyment of the show by talking and yelling too loud during the performances. Brilliant.

    Years later, I bought a recording of a Guess Who show during their reunion tour in 2001. It sounded to me like there were people around him who were aware of his taping, and did their best to constantly jabber and chat which not only ruined the recording, but, I can't see anybody so dickish they would want to ruin their own enjoyment of a show for the sake of that. Oh well, caveat emptor, buyer beware.
    Chris DeVoe likes this.
  5. DaleClark

    DaleClark Forum Resident

    Columbus, Ohio
    Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s I’d hit all the record shows in the Dayton ohio, Cincy area. There was a guy who sold pretty decent quality VHS tapes of concerts that came to Ohio, Indiana and KY. I overheard the guy mentioning that the camera person was in a wheelchair and always got handicap seating. From what the guy said he would mount a vhs camcorder somewhere on his wheelchair and nobody would say a thing.

    Also, I heard back in the day ( 70’s), some sound guys would hook you up to the soundboard for cash or weed. Maybe somebody here could verify if that ever happend.
  6. Paul J

    Paul J Forum Resident

    1975 through 1978, we would sneak a home component quality cassette deck into shows. It was a TEAC, I think, ran off AC or 8 D Cells, and we had a Shure stereo mic that ran off one or two C Cells.
    Bruce, Scaggs, Haggard, The Band, Amazing Rhythm Aces, Graham Parker, Jesse Colin Young, Twilley, Southside are the shows I have. I lost track of the guy who owned it, and he responds to no one nowadays, so not sure what other shows he recorded, I know The Kinks was one.

    It was a blast, and having those pieces of my history is priceless.
  7. Jerquee

    Jerquee Take this, brother, may it serve you well.

    New York
    I hadn't seen one before or since (outside of the internet). My friend used it so he might avoid having to flip it during the show. He always had that Sony on him and he played that tape regularly (it had a built in speaker). The thin tape tended to get caught up on the capstan and he had to splice it more than once over the years. It's miracle it survived all that use and abuse.

  8. Chief

    Chief Over 10,000 Served

    I taped dozens of shows in Pittsburgh in the late 80s and early 90s. Other than the initial thrill of being able to listen to the concert I just attended the day after (a dubious pleasure, actually), the entire thing was a pain.

    I mostly taped CSN and Neil Young shows. But I was also paid to tape Belly, Porno For Pyros, Eric Clapton, and a few others.

    Taping shows meant I did not enjoy the show. It was an evening of subterfuge and careful timing: checking that the recorder is still working, and guessing the best time to tape flip and/or switch tapes, all while monitoring whether I was spotted by security.

    I was always too hot because I had to wear clothes that would conceal the recorder and surplus tapes. I had a detachable microphone that I could clip on my shirt or hat.

    A bunch of the things I taped were seeded and torrented over the years, so that’s a nice thing. I got some nice recordings, but mostly I got terrible recordings on top of the anguishing experience of taping. When I was into tape trading I was able to get some nice stuff because most of my Pittsburgh recordings didn’t circulate at all.

    I stopped in 1994 because it was just too much of a pain in the butt.
    audiotom, ODShowtime, ARK and 3 others like this.
  9. Rich C

    Rich C Forum Resident

    Northbrook, IL
    I taped Wings in '76 and The Who in '79 on cassette. I figured out a foolproof plan all on my own. I took the Panasonic cassette recorder/playback machine from home and left old batteries in the device. I crotched a new set of batteries. So when I came up to the Andy Frain guys aka as Security in the '70s at venues in Chicago, I offered that the simplest solution would be to confiscate my batteries. It worked both times.

    I honestly don't know why I felt the need to tape these shows. I guess I thought them that important and worth having a document.
    Zeki and Chief like this.
  10. EndorphinMachine

    EndorphinMachine Forum Resident

    Cheers to all tapers, you've given a lot of people a great amount of pleasure.
    And keep the stories coming, love'm!
    audiotom likes this.
  11. john lennonist

    john lennonist There ONCE was a NOTE, PURE and EASY...

    Snuck a crappy cassette recorder into Tull's "A Passion Play".

    Band can faintly be heard in the background, otherwise it's a fairly embarrassing testament to Huge Tull Fanboy me intermittently squealing with delight... and trying to work my clumsy teen magic on my date.

    Ah, dearest Leanne Moore :love:, where are you now?
    showtaper, ARK, Phoenician and 2 others like this.
  12. OnTheRoad

    OnTheRoad self identified, evolved misanthropic narcissist

    I remember my Black Sabbath recording as being a bit better. I was in the high risers in front of the stage, more distant so less over bearing on my cheap microphone, whereas my Led Zeppelin recording was just above and sideways to the stage and more overloaded. I was only about 15-20 feet from John Bonham so you can imagine what was prominent in the recording ! :wtf: Blastido Bonham !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sabbath opened with N.I.B. IIRC and highlighted on Master of Reality and their first 2 albums. Can't remember anything as a preview to BS 4, most likely not performing from that yet.

    By the way.....1st time in my life I felt the effects of marihoochie was at this Sabbath concert ! And I saw the original lineup again 28 years later at the Ozzfest in Dallas summer of 1999. Great concert only that Ozzy's voice was a bit off...but I'd rather have an off Ozzy than no Ozzy at all !
  13. mrlucky56

    mrlucky56 Forum Resident

    Long Island, NY
    Another of mine-

    psubliminal and ARK like this.
  14. mrlucky56

    mrlucky56 Forum Resident

    Long Island, NY
    Another of mine-

    ARK likes this.
  15. Egg Crisis

    Egg Crisis Forum Resident

    Yorkshire, England
    I taped Metallica at Bradford St. Georges Hall in 1986 a couple of weeks before Cliff Burton's death. The intro sounded great, and the opening notes of the first song, then it was just too loud and distorted for the rest of the tape and it was unlistenable. One of the few things I recorded that I didn't keep. I didn't even bother taking the recorder to Motörhead a week later because I knew that one was going to be loud (and it was!).
    ARK and Zeki like this.
  16. ellaguru

    ellaguru Forum Resident

    taped for years...still do on occasion. stealth taped for the first few then realized the bands i was into really didnt care what i was doing. Ill admit its an odd one having an artist, whom ive recorded stealth-style years early, ask me if i was bringing the multi track down to the gig.
    Ere, psubliminal, ARK and 2 others like this.

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Tucson, AZ
    I did it once. Elvis Presley St Paul April of 1977. The cassette recording was rendered useless because my mom was screaming, laughing and crying all the way through the concert.
    Ere, Ken Wood, ODShowtime and 3 others like this.
  18. Rick H.

    Rick H. Raised on AM Radio

    I recorded a few. Chicago in 1977, Boston in 1978 and AC/DC and Aerosmith in 1978. Tried Tom Petty in 1981 but they took my cassette recorder away. Got it back after the show. Chicago and Boston sound pretty good. AC/DC and Aerosmith show has been lost. Didn’t sound great as I remember.
    ARK and Zeki like this.
  19. mooncusser2k

    mooncusser2k "Oink, Oink, Woof, Woof, Baaaaa."

    I have a Sony cassette recorder that I brought to a handful of shows way back when. Not particularly stealthy, carried in the inside pocket of my denim jacket and clipping an external mic on the outside pocket or collar. Quality was so-so, but nice for my own purpose at the time. The one show I wish had worked out was Paul Simon at Radio City Music Hall on the Graceland tour. The show was amazing, but when I tried to listen on the subway going home the tape was unintelligible.
    ARK and Zeki like this.
  20. cwitt1980

    cwitt1980 Senior Member

    Carbondale, IL USA
    Some guy used to give me tapes to transfer. I got annoyed with him quick when he never bothered offering me any compensation. He did have Sparks, Albert King, Budgie, and a few others. I didn't really enjoy ANY of it. One of them messed up my player so I told him I didn't want to do any more. Plus it was one of those deals where he just yapped as if I was there. He does have an MC5 and Stooges show apparently. I only ever offered due to him mentioning he saw Badfinger. He didn't like them so he taped over it. Bummer.
  21. drapes

    drapes Forum Resident

    Montreal, QC
    All this talk reminds me that I did once record a very significant (to the band and their fans, not to anyone else) show. 11 years later and as far as I know there is no other recording in circulation. I should probably do something with it before something happens to me and it’s lost forever.
  22. Eric Weinraub

    Eric Weinraub Forum Resident

    I used to sneak in a high end DAT. Sony PCM M1 with Core Sound binaural microphones. Really great sound
  23. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident

    I have to admit that that is the first thing I thought of when I saw the title of this thread.
  24. Loup

    Loup Ancient Wool Unraveller

  25. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower

    Out of My Element
    Rerun probably had this one in his collection.


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