From: ROBUR (CHOKSY@alma.edu)
Note from editor: This list is fairly outdated and does not contain all new records from the '94-tour
Several people have been posting questions lately asking about the quality of some new ROIOs (and some not-so-new ones). And others have responded piecemeal.
Well, I've dropped a *bundle* of cash into the "new ROIO CD" scene lately. All of them are 2-CD sets of the entire show, and here's how I'd rate them, whole enchilada-wise, starting with the best (I'm sorry if I've incorrectly identified a few cities and dates; I'm pulling this from delapidated memory at the moment). So, at the risk of boring some CODs who already own all these ROIOs, here's my US$ 0.02 worth for the Floydosians who've been asking:
is the hottest performance by the boys, rates a flat out 10 on the "inspiration & improvisation" factor. Excellent digital fidelity (DDD) and stereo separation; I give it a 10 here too. Almost no close audience noise throughout, except for one instance early on when some fool yells "m*therf*cker" as loud as he can, in breathtaking full digital stereo fidelity, so this one's not for your sainted mother's Christmas present. No noticable ROIO flaws of the usual types. Packaging is on the simple side, but very good; nice picture discs of the pigs. The standard show (no Dark Side of the Moon set). I think it's New York Yankee Stadium on June 11(?), 1994. This one's worth finding at all costs; make this a Blues-Brothers-style "mission from God".
is also a hot performance, and gets a 9 or 9+ on the "inspiration & improvisation" factor. Excellent fidelity (the package doesn't say, but it sure sounds like it must be DDD) and absolutely mind-blowing stereo separation; it gets a 10 here too. Almost no close audience noise throughout. No noticable ROIO flaws of the usual types. Packaging is simple, but good; simple picture discs. The standard show (no DSoTM set). I think it's Pittsburg on May 31, 1994. This one's also worth finding at all costs -- definitely "mission from God" stuff.
is a hot performance also, and gets a 9 on the "inspiration & improvisation" factor. Excellent fidelity (I forget if the package says DDD, but it probably is) and stereo separation; I give it a 10 here too. However, PLEASE NOTE that the audience noise on this one is frequently close; there's an especially obnoxious fellow sitting one or two seats away whom I've come to think of as "Whistler's M*therf*cker"; he's obviously proud of the fact that he can stick his fingers in his face and blow a 19 kilohertz note at 120 decibels, and he does this in between *all* the songs, and occasionally during the subtle beginnings and endings of some songs; makes me want to reach through my speakers and strangle the stupid son of a bitch. Other than "Whistler's M*therf*cker", there are no noticable ROIO flaws of the usual types. Packaging is simple, but good; picture discs taken from TDB booklet. This is NOT the standard show; this one includes the entire DSoTM set. It's New Jersey on July 17, 1994. This one's also worth finding -- "mission from God".
is not as inspired a performance as the three above, but very good nonetheless; actually, I feel that there's a subtle "odd" quality to the "inspiration & improvisation" on this one, that makes it pleasantly unusual; I'll give it a 7+ or 8 here. This one also has excellent fidelity and stereo separation (cover says ADD, but the excellent booklet that comes with it indicates that it was recorded on a DAT machine, so it may in fact be DDD); I'll give it a 9+ or 10 for fidelity and stereo. No close audience noise. No noticable ROIO flaws, except for a split second of minor distortion a few times throughout the openning and closing parts of the song "Sorrow". The packaging is unusual and superb; you'll be amused for an hour or longer by the stuff to read and look at, some of which requires a magnifying lens. The standard show (no DSoTM set). It's San Diego, 4/14/94. Find this one too.
gets a 7 or 7+ on the "inspiration & improvisation" factor. Excellent digital fidelity and stereo separation (DDD), though stereo is a little bit off center, but still great; I'll give it a 9+ or 10 for fidelity and stereo. No close audience noise. Packaging is very low budget, and doesn't even say what city/date it's from, but someone on the Echoes Digest told me it was the first Rose Bowl show, 4/16/94. The standard show (no DSoTM set). Also a keeper.
purports to be from Oakland, April 20, 1994; BUT IT IS NOT!! IT IS REALLY MIAMI, MARCH 30, 1994!! PLEASE NOTE: this is actually a re-mastered version of "The Live Bell", with some of its flaws massaged (see description of "The Live Bell" below). Most notably, the "30 second repeat-loop" has been removed, leaving only a gentle and not very noticable "pop" where it used to be. Also, it doesn't contain the two soundchecks of "Astronomy Domine" which are included at the end of "The Live Bell". All said, though, I think this one is actually preferable to "The Live Bell".
is the least inspired and least improvisational of the lot so far (give it a 5 or 6 on the "I&I;" factor), but still a good show. Excellent digital fidelity (DDD) and stereo separation. However, this one has numerous (mostly minor, but still there) ROIO flaws of the usual sorts, such as one channel dropping its volume level a little occasionally, and a few other flaws (the major flaw in this one has been described by someone on the Digest as a "30 second repeat-loop" in the first minute or so of "High Hopes", which is then followed by a major drop in volume and fidelity which lasts for about 2 or 3 seconds. Packaging is simple but nice, with picture discs of Gilmour at a pedal steel guitar. The standard show (no DSoTM set). First show of the tour, Miami 3/30/94. If it's the only one you can find (it seems to be highly available, judging from the posts to Echoes), then it will please you enormously.
gets a 6+ or 7 on the "inspiration & improvisation" factor. However, the fidelity of this one leaves a lot to be desired, even though it purports to be DDD; I'll give it no more than a 5 for fidelity. Packaging is standard and OK. The standard show (no DSoTM set). It's from Foxboro Mass., May 19, 1994. If you pass up this one, you're not missing much.
is just plain awful, even by the ROIO standards of twenty years ago. It's a very low fidelity analog recording which constantly wavers back and forth across the fidelity and volume spectrum until you want to scream. The standard show (no DSoTM set). The second Rose Bowl show, 4/17/94. Packaging is OK, with picture discs, but it's not worth it, and my disc 2 was damaged and skips. I wouldn't even recommend this one if it were half price and you were hard up. Of course, I know how hard up one can get sometimes, in which case...
Now, if only KTS would come across with a 28-CD boxed set of all 14 Earle's Court shows. Now there's an evil rumor to start...
I hope this helps those silly people who still believe that they must buy ROIO CDs within some sort of "budget constraint", and must therefore "make choices" (sounds like nonsense to me, but I guess it takes all kinds; isn't that why God invented credit cards?).
Holy shit! My VISA bill just arrived!! Sorry; gotta leave town fast.
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Last update: 01 May 1998