My guilty pleasure began in 1997 at a Radiohead concert in Brisbane. Security had posed no problems on my way through the doors. And chances are they were not going to be touching my groin anyway. That was where I would hide my mini-disc recorder and microphone as I entered concert venues. The tapes and batteries would be inside my bag, carried over my shoulder.
The inspiration for taping live concerts was fueled when I began collecting bootlegs of live shows a few years before. By 1997 I had turned 20 years of age. Concert going had been a staple of my diet since 1993. It was only a matter of time before recording shows would become a regular part of my concert going experience.
From that Radiohead show in 1997 I managed to catch many glorious acts over the following years. Nick Cave, Blondie, U2, The Dandy Warhols and Placebo to name a few. My collection was building rapidly. By 2004 I must have had around 90 concerts recorded in good quality for prosperity.
Another of my early inspirations for taping live shows was an American that went by the name of “Mike the mike”. In the 1970’s he attended many concerts including The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Bowie with the sole intentions to record high quality tapes of the each and every show he witnessed. What made his recordings so special was that he pretended to be disabled so he could use a wheelchair to enter concert venues. Rigged up to his wheelchair was state of the art recording equipment. He was never questioned and some of his recordings have subsequently been utilized by Bob Dylan for official release!
Just before Christmas in 1995 I had the displeasure of being broken into. At the time I lived with my girlfriend on the third floor of a unit block. During the break in the cheeky little bastard who was responsible made off with a bevy of goods, including my collection of mini-disc concert recordings. I was devastated at losing those shows.
The Police apprehended the little turd a few weeks later though, by that point the satchel bag containing the mini-disc recordings were long gone. Discouraged, I ceased recording shows after this despite having the actual recorder and microphone still in my possession. The only time from memory I ventured out after that episode to record shows were for U2 in 2006 and Sarah Blasko at The Tivoli in 2007. I still have the tapes for these brilliant concerts and perhaps now is the time I upload these for others to share and enjoy?
There was another time when I could have murdered someone. In early 2004 my recently departed girlfriend thought it would be a nice gesture to destroy the 15 mini-disc tapes I had from attending Bowie shows in Europe the previous November and December. I could have and most likely would have done some serious damage to her face had the chance arisen at the time. She knew it would leave me angry. And right she was.
I still may have the recording of the Sydney show from Bowie’s 2004 Australian tour that survived from the 2005 break in thanks to it being in another room at the time. With The Arctic Monkeys concert coming up soon it may be time I dusted off my recorder and got back into the swing of things?
Many people have lambasted me over the years for recording concerts citing deprivation of an artists living, making unauthorized recordings and such. Those people never have and never will understand the pleasures from recording live concerts. You more often than not own all the official albums by the band you are recording so what harm is there in recording shows for your own personal, and perhaps guilty pleasures?