Listen To Spring 1968 Leonard Cohen Paris Theatre (London) Show

Setlist

01 – You Know Who I Am
02 – Bird On The Wire
03 – The Stranger Song
04 – So Long, Marianne
05 – Master Song
06 – There’s No Reason Why You Should Remember Me
07 – Sisters Of Mercy
08 – Teachers
09 – Dress Rehearsal Rag
10 – Suzanne
11 – Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
12 – Story Of Isaac
13 – One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong

Notes from roio download site:

A very important bootleg, IMO, that begs for an official release. Reportedly, it was sourced from a cassette copy that a fan got directly from an BBC employee after writing a letter to inquire after the status of this recording. The BBC employee also mentioned that this came from his private copy and that video sources no longer existed in the archives.

The audio recording was first heard by the public in 1993 when it came out on a pressed CD bootleg in inferior quality. Then later in the mid-2000s it started to circulate in better quality. I first heard this in 2006 when someone uploaded it on Dime’s tracker. Although pretty clean, that source was marred heavily by noise reduction artefacts. For this new version, I have used another source that I found on another tracker. It had more noises and also some signs of NR, but substantially less than the 2006 Dime source. I fear this is probably as good as it’s gonna get, unless someone manages to obtain a clean digital copy of the BBC cassette which, to my knowledge, is not in circulation.

Despite the obvious deterioration of the source material, the sound quality here has still turned out quite good. I have carefully restored and remastered this at my mastering studio. The original source sounded a bit dull. By bringing up the high-end a bit, the NR problem and hiss also became more apparent, but I think I found an acceptable balance (to my taste, anyway). I also corrected the speed of the two original parts (one ran a bit too fast, the other a bit too slow).

To me, the historical importance outweighs the sonic flaws by far. Four songs performed here (not counting There’s No Reason Why You Should Remember Me, which is more a joke than a song) were unreleased at the time, though already fully realized. Some of the arrangements are quite different from the studio versions and there’s an extra unheard verse on So Long, Marianne.

Artery commented at Dime:

It was me that transferred the BBC engineer’s tape to WAV then CD. I can’t actually remember the year, but some time after 1998, I think. The tape was sent to me by well known Cohen expert Jim Devlin. I do remember that Jim had borrowed the original cassette from the BBC gentleman and we returned it to him after digitising the contents.

I certainly added no NR of any kind. My transfer was a raw Cassette deck to CD Wave with only track markers inserted. I own the original At The Beeb bootleg CD and not only was quality much better on our cassette but the final track One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong was missing from that bootleg.

Someone torrented a version of my original transfer under the title BBC Broadcasts 1968 (including four additional songs from John Peel and Julie Felix shows). Maybe that is where the noise reduction came in.

It’s a very interesting performance in several ways. I believe it’s the only known performance of Dress Rehearsal Rag, pre-dating its appearance on record by three years, and One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong is very rare too. I believe that members of The Strawbs were the backing musicians, certainly including Dave Cousins.

The odd thing for me is that I don’t recall ever meeting anyone who saw the original TV transmission. The Paris Theatre was the venue of many BBC Radio In Concerts and an odd choice for TV I think.