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forn03

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Reply with quote  #1 
Never owned a physical copy of Stringtown until my copy arrived with 20 last week, but it got me wondering something...  does anyone have any idea why a full version, or even just more, of the Stringtown video was never released?  I've read that it was supposed to be an advanced-tier Fan Club type release, but never came to fruition.  Obviously we have the video of Frail from the concert and the video appears to have been very well done, so I'd love to see some of the other footage from it.

On another note, the song selection for Stringtown always was a puzzler to me.  How, even for a fan club release, there were a fair amount of deep cuts (is there such a thing as a deep cut after 2 albums?) without some of the bigger songs being there (LSFAS, Like a Child, Crazy Times, Five Candles) always sort of blew my mind.
datraceman

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Reply with quote  #2 

Personally, I think it has a lot to do with the record label and the performance itself. 

One, because of the set list they chose, the record label probably went "meh" to investing in it. 

Two, some of the vocal performances on that show aren't very good. Dan's voice was noticeably straining at times and the lack of electric guitar in the mix on some of the songs like "Fade to Grey" are a bit "jarring" to say the least since at the time that was what I was used to. 

Granted, I've never seen a copy of the full show and I could be wrong but I also think they only did one night of recording and some of the mistakes/miscues would have been hard to correct. That's why when Metallica, KISS, etc. did these types of shows they did it over 2-3 nights so they could cherry pick the great performances.

I think with their catalog now, a symphony show would be amazing. Also, they guys could adequately prepare rather than shoehorn it into what was a VERY BUSY touring schedule in 1997/1998.

forn03

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by datraceman

Personally, I think it has a lot to do with the record label and the performance itself. 

One, because of the set list they chose, the record label probably went "meh" to investing in it. 



So the songs recorded at the Ryman during the "Stringtown" performance that made the album are:

Blind
Portrait of an Apology
Frail
Fade to Grey
Flood
Tea and Sympathy
Worlds Apart (although they opted for a different performance on the audio CD and tucked this one away on disc 2).

The interesting thing, though, is that according to the old Jars World website (https://web.archive.org/web/20040226214639/http://www.jarsworld.com/discography/info/outtakes.shtml), the set list included the following:

Like a Child
Love Song for a Savior
Liquid
Overjoyed
God Only Knows
Five Candles (You Were There)
Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows
Crazy Times

Also, we can see part of one of the violinists' setlists at the 0:33 point in the Frail video from Stringtown (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cs4aITeQHwY) and can clearly read "Frail", "Liquid", "Overjoyed", and "Portrait".  There appears to be something in light grey before "Frail" is listed, although I can't make it out.  I don't know if they used light grey on the set list for songs the orchestra didn't play in that night or if it's just says "jars of clay" or the date or something.  It does appear to be the top of the page, but it would be an odd choice to begin the night with "Frail".

Regardless, the point is that the actual setlist for the Ryman performance that we know as "Stringtown" included anything the record company would be looking for as far as promoting this (Flood, LSFAS, Liquid, Worlds Apart, Like a Child, Crazy Times, Five Candles).  Do you think that the whole thing - audio and video - was originally meant to be a retail release rather than just something for the Fan Club at the time?  It is interesting that this would have been a large financial investment for an exclusive fan club release, but I had never considered anything else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by datraceman

Two, some of the vocal performances on that show aren't very good. Dan's voice was noticeably straining at times and the lack of electric guitar in the mix on some of the songs like "Fade to Grey" are a bit "jarring" to say the least since at the time that was what I was used to.



Can't argue with the comments on Dan, although it was just kinda how he was singing at the time.

As far as the lack of electric guitar specifically in "Fade to Grey", that's an interesting observation that I'd never thought about before.  Three theories I have are:
1. They opted not to use electric guitars for that particular performance so the strings could be highlighted more.  I don't have any other live recordings from this era, so I can't compare.
2. We've heard them say recently that they're really happy with what Stephen Lipson did with it looking back now, but I wonder if at the time they preferred a their original mix of acoustic guitars and chose them for the live performances?
3. Although it's not apparent on "Stringtown", they ran "Fade to Grey" right into "Flood", which both Matt and Steve needed acoustics for.  Maybe they were happy enough with the "Fade to Grey" arrangement that they didn't mind sacrificing an electric guitar for the effect of pairing it with "Flood".

Quote:
Originally Posted by datraceman

Granted, I've never seen a copy of the full show and I could be wrong but I also think they only did one night of recording and some of the mistakes/miscues would have been hard to correct. That's why when Metallica, KISS, etc. did these types of shows they did it over 2-3 nights so they could cherry pick the great performances.



Yes, it's my understanding it was just one night of recording (2/18/1998, I believe).  The interesting thing, though, is that it's not like they even added crowd noise between songs to make it appear to be a continuous concert performance.  I don't know if it's because there's a slight difference in how the Ryman songs were recorded vs the other live performances were recorded or what.  Also, Matt is singing the "when I'm falling... I'm weak and I'm dying" part in the final chorus of "Flood" while Dan is singing the "lift me up-whoa-whoa-whoa..." in the last chorus and he sang some of the phrases backwards.  Which I'm sure they recorded each track separately and had a track of just Matt's voice that they could have corrected it with.  So it's surprising that for hands-down their biggest song at the time that they didn't worry about fixing it.  Does it really matter?  No, not at all.  Just interesting.  (Perhaps, though, it's not really that simple, because they also probably had a number of condenser microphones set up for both the orchestra and crowd noise that picked up enough of everything else that it wasn't possible to make even small changes)

Quote:
Originally Posted by datraceman


I think with their catalog now, a symphony show would be amazing. Also, they guys could adequately prepare rather than shoehorn it into what was a VERY BUSY touring schedule in 1997/1998.



True, but I can't imagine they could come close to affording something like that right now.  Which is a shame.
haveapez

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Reply with quote  #4 
I agree with a lot of the comments here.  I always thought the setlist was a bit strange.... a bit mellow for their popularity at the time...not that Jars hasn't always kind of done their own thing, even if it means sacrificing some top 40 moments.

As a hardcore fan, I'd love to see everything that was recorded, even if it was a digital download of the video or something.  They could save on manufacturing that way.
forn03

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Reply with quote  #5 
Does anyone know where the live recordings of "Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows" and "God Only Knows" from Frond Yard Luge were recorded? Is it possible they're actually from the Stringtown recording? (Liquid on FYL clearly isn't because Dan references Amarillo, TX)
datraceman

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Reply with quote  #6 
Both of those are not from Stringtown. 

The cities are listed in the CD. When I get home tonight I'll bust open the CD and check.
pfreak

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Reply with quote  #7 
I've had Stringtown for ages, but I've never looked at it in such details. Makes me want to dig it up and have a look/listen through again.

In my copy of Front Yard Luge it just says that these songs were recorded live at shows over the past 2 years (writing at release date for If I Left The Zoo). No specific references.

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forn03

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Reply with quote  #8 
Sounds good.

Maybe a better question is: does this mean the guys have a bunch of fully recorded live shows from both this era and the Good Monsters era from when they were recording for live albums? I wonder if they actually have the full shows sitting around somewhere?
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