|Free Boot Generation|
Catalog # FBG 21
Release Year 2008
2CD Length 74:23 / 67:03
Date/Venue Civic Center, St. Paul : 27th December 1984
Source Audience / Soundboard Recordings
Quality VG / EX
Fink's Comments (rates this release 4.25/5.0)
An (until now) uncirculating Purple Rain show and a ridiculously impressive quality rehearsal on one release. Let's deal with one at a time - firstly, the Purple Rain St. Paul recording/show. Unreleased, unknown, and unheard of for the past 24 years, this is a genuine surprise, and whilst it has it's share of faults, it's not a bad effort considering it's age. Most obviously, it's incomplete and ends after 'When Doves Cry', however quality-wise, it doesn't come close to the cleanliness of the previous night show (on FBG's 'Another Lonely Ex-Mas') and has a much more audible audience level throughout. They are rather vocal throughout the majority of the recording, however they do subside as the show progresses, and the last few tracks in particular are certainly much better quality than the opening half - hence my indecision with a VG / VG+ grading.
The recording isn't the sharpest and is slightly muddy overall and a few songs suffer from some movement and wavering in places. These things I can live with, however my only annoyance regarding the recording are 6 or 7 drop-outs during the 74 minutes which become more frequent towards the end. The first is during 'How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore', and it isn't until 'International Lover' that the next one occurs, however almost every song thereafter has a minor drop-out. They are very minor, last a brief few seconds, and have been edited out, but the jump is audible and noticeable. A minor annoyance, but (for me) an annoyance all the same....ungrateful as I am. The show is very similar to the previous night, and outside of a little banter between Prince and the crowd during the piano segment, the set-list remains disappointingly identical to the 26th December concert. Still, an above average recording surfacing after all this time is cause for celebration to me, so anything I am bitching about is secondary as the quality is surprisingly decent - flaws and all. Disc 2 features two different rehearsals for the Purple Rain tour with 38 minutes from the first, and 29 minutes from the other. Their inclusion is frustrating as both are incomplete and are available on various other releases in their more complete form, yet the quality of the recordings included here is the better than any of the complete versions available - what you get with improved quality, you lose with it being incomplete. Frustrating to say the least. The first 3 tracks from the November / December rehearsal are as clear as I've heard in a long time and certainly better than the Sabotage version on 'Purple Rush Volume 3' (considered the best to date), yet we are missing half the rehearsal here. The remainder of Disc 2 features another Purple Rain tour rehearsal, and whilst it's included on the Sabotage release 'Purple Rush Volume 2' as a soundboard recording - it's certainly not. It may be recorded in the vicinity of the soundboard, but it's definitely not a soundboard. Fans of crisp, clear rehearsal recordings should look elsewhere as this fluctuates from being muted and hollow to being loud and clear within the space of a few seconds. It's grainy and there is some background chatter from technicians in close proximity to the recording equipment towards the mid-section and the end of the rehearsal, and as if that weren't enough there are a few drop-outs.
All that said, this may be incomplete in comparison to the Sabotage
release, yet it's a much better quality recording and the rehearsal is much more
upfront and audible than anything else available. It's such a shame both these
rehearsals are heavily incomplete as the recordings are superior compared to any
other release thus, and while it's frustrating the whole rehearsals aren't here
complete and in this improved quality, I can understand their inclusion.
Normally I'd immediately dismiss a release which contained 3 incomplete
recordings, however when it contains a show which was unreleased for almost 25
years, and 2 vastly improved rehearsal recordings, I find it hard to brush