"KeithM Master via JEMS"
Recording Gear: Sony ECM-939 Stereo Microphone > Sony Walkman D6C
JEMS 2017 Transfer: master cassettes > Nakamichi CR-7A azimuth-adjusted playback > Sound Devices USBPre2 > Audacity 2.0 > iZotope RX6 and Ozone 6 mastering > Peak Pro 6 (post production) > xACT 2.37 > FLAC
01 Where The Streets Have No Name
02 I Will Follow
03 I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
05 The Unforgettable Fire
06 Bullet The Blue Sky
07 Running To Stand Still
09 In God’s Country
10 Sunday Bloody Sunday
11 Maggie’s Farm
14 New Year’s Day
16 With Or Without You
18 I Shall Be Released (w/ Bob Dylan)
19 Knockin’ On Heavens Door (w/ Bob Dylan)
-Maggie's Farm: start cut
Introduction To The KeithM Masters
JEMS is pleased to present the outstanding work of KeithM to U2 fans the world over and resume our series from the 1987 Joshua Tree tour.
KeithM recorded hundreds of concerts in, around and beyond Southern California starting in the early ‘80s, including what can only be described as a series of essential recordings from April 1987, the start of the Joshua Tree tour. Of the tour’s first 16 performances, incredibly KeithM recorded nine of them using a Sony ECM-939 stereo microphone and Walkman D6C. In my opinion, they range from really good to excellent and offer a striking balance in that they capture the extraordinary excitement of the crowd, but somehow little to no up-close chatter or talking.
Some of KeithM’s recordings have circulated before (though perhaps not all?) and the lineage of what is around ranges from an analog generation or two removed to “unknown.”
This series presents the first proper digital transfers ever made from KeithM’s metal master tapes and, as such, we believe each and every one of them represents a substantial upgrade to circulating copies of these nine incredible shows. In other words, 31 years later, we get to hear some of the formative shows of the original Joshua Tree tour in best-ever quality thanks to the remarkable preservation and generosity of KeithM.
Los Angeles, April 20
Night three of a high-profile, five-night stand in Los Angeles is one more step in cementing U2’s position is the biggest band in the world at that moment. The tour is firing on all cylinders now, and this concert is legendary for the guest appearance by Bob Dylan in the encore.
Once again, I suspect KeithM’s recording is the underlying source of prior releases, though at least based versions of the show found on You Tube, KeithM’s tape sounds different to me. Among the predecessors are Tonight Bob Is Playing With Us, which exists both as a commercial bootleg and an upgraded fan-released title. 4/20/87 has also circulated from a Justin Cook CD-R and in a Francesco Donadel remaster, supposedly made from a first generation cassette.
The difference I hear in KeithM’s master is that it is more open sounding and, despite the excitement of the audience, the band still cuts through, whereas on the YT audio of the show, the audience often overwhelms the music.
Like this entire run, the enthusiasm of the crowd is incredible and once again, KeithM’s technique of pushing his levels has high as he can to help get more music pays off. With several shows under his belt by this point, KeithM has his process down and the result is an excellent and consistent recording, one of the very best of this April ’87 run. Samples provided.
The performance is every bit as good as the recording, too. Surely the band was buzzing with the knowledge that they would be sharing the stage with Dylan. It puts a charge into an electric main set, with nearly flawless performances of the new Joshua Tree material, plus “Maggie’s Farm” added in as a hint of what was to come (at the expense of “A Sort of Homecoming”).
The teasing continues at the start of “I Shall Be Released” in the encore as Bono says, “I can’t remember who wrote it.” A minute or so later, that question is answered definitively as he says, “Will you welcome Bob Dylan.”
Many have cited the muffled and improvised lyrics that follow on this and “Knockin’ On Heavens Door,” but I see it as a sign of the comfort both men have in making a moment, rehearsed or not. This priceless exchange sums that feeling up amusingly:
Bono: “You know I usually make up my own words to Bob Dylan songs. He says he doesn’t mind.”
Dylan: “I do it, too.”
As guest appearances go, it is a pretty fucking great one. And it has never sounded better than it does on KeithM’s master tape.
I’d like to express my personal gratitude to KeithM for loaning us his precious master tapes and allowing us to share his work. He is enjoying reading your comments so please keep them coming. Special credit goes to DIME member bitrate for helping me connect to KeithM and remaining persistent as the months went by before we finally got things going with the tapes. Lastly, there’s no one JEMS trusts more to handle post-production of this series than our esteemed colleague mjk5510. Thanks to him for his continued critical support of our efforts.
BK for JEMS