When John Lennon stepped on stage at Madison Square Garden for the matinee performance on August 30th 1972, there was no shortage of recording devices capturing this historical event. Multitrack tapes archived both shows, as well as several film cameras and amateur equipment in the audience. Despite all of this, several of the vinyl bootlegs reviewed here are still required to help us reconstruct both shows.
The last 3 images were taken by John Skelson
The set list was:
01. Power To The People intro / New York City 02. It’s So Hard 03. Move on Fast [# 5 in evening show] 04. Woman Is The Nigger Of The World 05. Sisters, O Sisters [# 3 in evening show] 06. Well, Well, Well 07. Born In A Prison [# 10 in evening show] 08. Instant Karma [# 7 in evening show] 09. Mother [# 8 in evening show] 10. We’re All Water [# 9 in evening show] 11. Come Together 12. Imagine 13. Open Your Box 14. Cold Turkey 14. Hound Dog 15. Don’t Worry Kyoko [only performed at the matinee performance] 15. Give Peace A Chance
Although a website states that “The evening show featured fewer songs, with several sung by Yoko Ono omitted.”, the analysis based on the audience recordings shows that “Don’t Worry Kyoko” was the only Yoko song cut from the evening show.
The audience recording of the matinee show remained unreleased until Contraband released it on Hound Dog (5040) several years after the event.
The professional audio and video recording of 8 songs from the evening show (05., 08., 09., 11.- 15.) was broadcast in the U.S. on December 14th as part of an ABC TV “In Concert” special, with the soundtrack being in mono.
An FM simulcast was broadcast in many cities as well and from 1973 the King Biscuit Flower Hour live radio show produced a six song edit of highlights (09.+ 10. – 12. + 15.) from the evening performance, which was played on radio stations via a transcription LP (with Yoko’s song usually not being aired subsequent to its initial airing in 1972). This can be found on the wolfgangsvault website in complete form:
“Compared to the afternoon show, John seems more comfortable here and the band performances are stronger. One may wonder why the afternoon performances were favored for the officially released CD, when these may indeed be superior performances.” [wolfgangsvault.com]
“The most recent issuance of One To One material was the inclusion of three tracks and Geraldo Rivera’s introduction from the evening on Anthology. Although the performances are considered to be superior to those of the matinee, they were considered unusable at the time of Live In New York City’s release du to unacceptable noise levels. Advances in digital restoration software allowed their inclusion on Anthology.” [Madinger & Easter, p. 80]
In the vinyl age, the TKRWM bootleg Joshua Tree Tapes probably had the best sounding (incomplete) version of the KBFH broadcast.
This 1973 Contraband LP was the first bootleg LP from the event:
Matrix #: WEC RI-3949-AX / WEC RI-3665-A
Side 1: Mother/ Imagine / Come Together/ Give Peace A Chance The source was probably one of the KBFH broadcasts. The quality only achieved a “Poor stereo” rating in Hot Wacks but a Japanese bootleg blog gave it a “relatively good mono” unless something got lost in translation.
Side 2 presents John & Yoko’s entire performance in Ann Arbor on December 10/11 1971 as part of the “John Sinclair Freedom Rally”: John Sinclair/Attica State/Oh Sisters/Luck Of The Irish “The video feed, capture by Detroit television station WTVS (channel 56) was bootlegged in lo-fi on CBM’s Lennon-McCartney [which was a reissue of the side 2 master of this album as side 1] (the three John tracks were lifted from the CBM disc for release on Wizardo’s One – One Concert + More). ” [Eight Arms To Hold You, page 67]
Onstage at the Chrysler Arena in Ann Arbor
Here’s something new, dating a release by the cover image used. The John & Yoko image was taken in March of 1973, when they were on a house hunting trip to Greenwich, CT (more images are in Bob Gruen’s photo book John Lennon – The New York Years). This means that this LP was probably released in the second half of 1973 at the earliest.
In 1975, Wizardo issued their own version of the show as their very first release but taken from an ABC TV “In Concert” video sound track:
Does not look like a fake to me but what is it – an advance pressing?
The text at the bottom reads: CONCEPT & DESIGN: MAUD’S HOUSE ART DIRECTION: MAD JACK ILLUSTRATION: JOAN KING 5.1.75 ♂
The last three songs on side two are studio recordings. The Wizardo LP makes the core list for the ABC broadcast versions of ‘Imagine’ and ‘Give Peace A Chance’.
The same Japanese blog hands the victory clearly to Wizardo on this one (“SIDE-A is overwhelming victory of 301. …very good to excellent,… For ONE TO ONE confrontation is 301 wins overwhelmingly. “), which is also reflected in the Hot Wacks ratings difference, giving this LP a very good mono.
Instant Analysis label, released in spring of 1974 – Matrix: JL 5040A / B
The infamous vinyl bootleg that was destroyed in Hot Wacks’ description: “Very poor. Worst bootleg ever!”.
Hot Wacks lists “Cold Turkey” before “Hound Dog” and this is the order in which they had been performed. This LP was the first time any of the audience recordings were released. It featured three songs from the matinee show, and three of them are still part of the core collection to this day: “Move On Fast” can only be found on this album, as it has never been released or broadcast in any form. Two others, “It’s So Hard” and “Woman Is The Nigger Of The World” are also necessary from this LP to get the full audience mix from the matinee performance (the rest are found on the Japanese CD release mentioned below).
“The complete matinee performance circulates among collectors as a poor audience recording, most of which was unbootlegged until the release of the three CD Japanese set One To One Concert. […] side two of the Instant Analysis release Hound Dog included four cuts from the unprocessed audience tape, some of which are more complete than the Japanese collection. They too are in abysmal quality, but due to their content must be considered as the suggested bootleg source.” [Madinger and Easter, p. 81]”
Honorable mention goes to two later bootlegs:
This tastefully done Melvin Records release made the core list for the ABC broadcast versions of “Instant Karma”, “Come Together”, “Cold Turkey” and “Hound Dog” as well as “Mother”, which is called an “ABC Outtake” in Eight Arms….
This 1990s Yoko Ono bootleg is a core release at least for the ABC broadcast version of “Sisters, O Sisters”.
This song was officially released on the Live In New York City where it was edited and features a single track lead vocal but it is unedited on the bootleg recording and due to some post-production for the ABC airing a second lead vocal has been dubbed. There are many more differences and explained edits for the available non-bootlegged versions, which are explained in detail in Eight Arms To Hold You or issue # 9 of the 1987 publication ‘Illegal Beatles‘.