I’ve been taping Willie and theÂ DeadÂ concerts for years, and the quality of my recordings were always hit or miss (mostly miss.)Â Or I would befriend someone in the taper section of a Grateful Dead concert, and barter something (usually pot) for a copy of their tape, with, again,Â no guarantee on the quality.Â
So wow, what a thrill toÂ go home from Willie’s Choteau and Gorge 4th of July concerts with a sound boardÂ recording of the shows I just saw! Â It’s amazing, really.Â Â Starting with the shows on Willie Nelson’s Canadian tour, LiveWillie! was pre-selling wristbandsÂ with a flash storage device on one end,Â which you then picked up immediately after the show.Â The wristband cost $25.00 each and had the entire show you just saw, plus a pre-recorded version of Willie’s new song, “A Peaceful Solution.”Â Â
To be honest, I was a little intimidated by the device when I got home Thursday and realized I was really happy I had the flash stick, but that I didn’t know where I was supposed toÂ stick it.Â Â But I stuck it in theÂ hole on myÂ computer where it fits (a usb port, as it turns out), went to Windows Media Center, uploaded it and savedÂ it to my hard drive.Â Then I burned a cd, and downloaded it to my ipod.Â Â Cool, huh?
I was on the same flight from Great Falls to Seattle with Chris Collins, who is Rachel Fowler’s partner in the LiveWillie! project, and does the recording/copying after the show.Â Â I asked how he did it so fast, and he said there are lots of slots, and he can make them very fast, and can keep up with the demand at any show.Â TheÂ show is recorded on one long track, too.Â HeÂ said thatÂ Willie Nelson is the first person toÂ use thisÂ new technology, but that it is getting popular now.Â
After the concert on the 4th at the Gorge, I helped hand out the wristbands to fans who hadÂ pre-purchased them before the show.Â (Rachel had a special bus to catch.) And man, everyone wasÂ so excitedÂ to get to take homeÂ a recording of the Willie show we just saw.Â The line moved quickly, too, so no oneÂ had toÂ wait long.Â A runner would bring us 25 or so at a time from where Chris was making the recordings, and we would exchange them for the tickets fans received when they purchased the wristband earlier.Â Â
Now I am sitting here getting goosebumps listening to the Choteau show.Â It sounds like you’reÂ at a live concert!Â BetterÂ sound, really,Â it’s off the sound board, so you don’t have to listen to a recording of theÂ drunk guyÂ next you singing along with Willie on Poncho and Lefty, like I do on my recordings.Â
My only complaint is that the flash disk I got from the Choteau show did not include Willie singing “Red Headed Stranger”, whichÂ was such a treat to get to hear live again in concert.Â Maybe not enough room on the disk, or?Â That’ s my only complaint, though.
Way to go, Willie!Â So high tech.Â Good job, Rachel and Chris.Â and thanks!
LiveWillie! currently sells live shows at their site at www.livewillie.com.Â