Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Before The Dawn: UK First Issue Triple CD Release


I wanted to properly absorb everything fully about this release before creating a post for it.

I did buy the 4LP box set version as well, which you can see in my first photo here, but I won't be opening that one up. Sorry! This post will be for the CD set only. Everything has been fully scanned for this post. I did break some things up into smaller sections, so that they would should show up a little better.


When an audio release was first announced for BTD, admittedly I had some concerns that the final product would be a hack job similar to the Hammersmith '79 video. Needless to say, I was more than surprised to learn we would be getting the entire show, with the inclusion of Never Be Mine, which didn't even make it into the final setlist.


A hell of a lot of time and work went into producing the absolute best sound quality on these CDs and it shows. The end result is superb, leaving the overall sound breathtakingly fresh and sharp. So if you bought a certain bootleg that's been floating around for sale online, or been listening to home-made recorded MP3s, they really don't compare at all - so get out there and buy this release if you haven't already.


One thing that's abundantly clear throughout each CD is the virtual removal (or significant minimizing) of the audience during each song. This was a very smart decision to make, and the results are stunning as it leaves you more focused on the performance. If you didn't attend any of the shows, the CDs offer you a chance to hear just how strong Kate's voice still sounds in a live setting. Never Be Mine, which was only a rehearsal, has been flawlessly inserted into the first CD with audience cheers at the start and end of it. It's pretty impressive how well it fits considering it was never part of the show.


While the art design on this set is stunning, the choice in packaging leaves a lot to be desired. Once again, everything is horribly presented in my least favourite packaging in the world - the dreaded digipak. While the absence of the horrible CD pockets is appreciated, this redesign is actually no better. Removing and replacing the CDs can be pretty difficult. I've even experienced major difficulty with this myself, and I've also heard about several instances where one of the CDs (usually the third one) has literally snapped on people when trying to remove it from its backing - so I would advise extra care. If you're like me and many other people who despise digipak packaging, I would suggest storing the CDs in separate CD cases for ease of access. Storing the CDs separately will also cut down on the wear of the CD packaging; something that this type of flimsy structure is easily prone to.


I also would have liked to have seen something a little different on the CD designs, especially as the artwork is exactly the same on the inlay. It would have been a great opportunity to incorporate some of the fish designs or other things themed around each section - but since this is such a minor thing I'm not going to moan over it

The booklet is absolutely gorgeous. Even though many of the photos already appear in the tour programme or online, there are also new ones included.

The space dust on these pages appear courtesy of SPACE.


Friday, September 16, 2016

The Kate Inside: Collector Edition Book by Guido Harari


I recently received my copy of The Kate Inside book, and I do want to point out that depending on where you live in the world, you may possibly get hit with C.O.D. charges upon delivery. I was, and even though it wasn't a staggering amount, just keep your credit card handy in case you are.

There are two versions of the cardboard box with Kate's face on it. Collector versions of the book get the brown box, and the deluxe versions get a white box. I must tell you that this box is very well protected with a brown paper wrapping over it, plus about a mile of bubble wrap. So if people want to keep their box, and they're worried about it being marred with all sorts of stickers and postage marks, or even damaged - don't be. The box also makes a great way to store your book if you don't have a place to display it, or you just want to protect it from any harsh light or potential fading from the sun. The box is also completely collapsible if you want to keep it, but not use it, and store it flat.


The version I purchased is the collector edition. The deluxe edition has a totally different cover and also comes with a special slipcase. I chose the collector edition simply because of the front cover - which is from one of my favourite photo sessions of Guido's.


The lettering on the spine, and the edges of the pages have a unique rainbow gilding effect applied to them. Unfortunately, I didn't do a very good job of capturing this for you, but you get the idea... kind of.


Included with the early subscribers of the book is a personalized "Thank You" card written and signed by Guido. I know there are at least 400 of these, and they're totally suitable for framing if you want to do that. Mine was not inserted directly into the book, but rather it rested on top of the book when I opened the packaging. I'm assuming they've all been placed on top of the book in this fashion, so I would suggest being very careful when opening yours up and open the box from the back where the taped seam is located.


There are 1,500 worldwide copies of the book, and each copy has been hand numbered in the book and on the box. Signed editions vary between the deluxe and collector editions. Deluxe numbered editions have a special page that's signed by both Guido and Lindsay Kemp. Collector numbered editions have a stickered area that's been signed by Guido only. I blocked out my number because nobody really needs to see that.


Below I've posted a very small sampling of what you can expect in the book. I chose not to take very many photos for a couple of reasons: 1. It's a very heavy book to start with and I didn't want to risk cracking the spine from awkward handling. 2. I know a lot of people still don't have their copy yet, so I don't want to ruin all the surprises inside. If you want to see everything in it, then I suggest you buy the book while you still can.


The book is stunning, gorgeous and absolutely beautiful. No matter which edition of the book you have, or choose to buy, you won't be disappointed. It's definitely the book that many of us have been hoping for years that Guido Harari would finally publish someday. If you're a huge fan of Kate's and Guido's work, then I highly recommend that you get this book.

Thank you, Guido, for putting your heart and soul into such a magnificent book. It's everything and more.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Never For Ever - Japan First Issue Cassette


The first issue Japanese cassette release of Never For Ever features the same UK artwork on the front, but with some added eye catching graphics. I'm pretty sure that my scanner isn't doing this any justice at all, but hopefully you can see how fantastic it looks. What I particularly like about this one is that snippets of the front artwork have also been incorporated into both spines of the insert. Added to the fact that Nick Price did some pretty amazing art for this cover to begin with, this is easily my favourite Japanese cassette insert.


Like the Kick Inside cassette, the cassette shell for Never For Ever is also a sort of beige colour with JAPAN stamped directly into the cassette shell. I cropped the cassette shell for these to concentrate more on the actual labels for two reasons: The Japanese characters are small, and I also don't have the best scanner in the world at the moment - so I wanted to show them as well as I possibly can. They're pretty similar to the Kick Inside ones.


This release also originally came with a double-sided Japanese/English text lyric sheet. It's a really long strip of folded paper, which I had to scan and chop into sections, just like I had to do with the Kick Inside cassette - otherwise you wouldn't be able to read any of it. I also had to darken it up considerably as it really doesn't scan well at all. The paper is very thin, like newsprint paper, and the actual print tends to be pretty light in some cases. Apologies also for my wonky scanning skills on this, but it's all there.


Japanese cassettes tend to be on the scarce side these days and can get a bit costly when they do turn up. Personally I think the older ones are worth collecting just for the inserts alone.