• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline for October 2021! The new book Carpenter: The Musical Legacy will be available on October 19 and can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is being released October 22, and is available for ordering here.

⭐ Official Review [Album]: "LIVE IN JAPAN" (GSW 301/2 (LP), D50Y3155 (CD))

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 7 23.3%
  • ****

    Votes: 10 33.3%
  • ***

    Votes: 11 36.7%
  • **

    Votes: 1 3.3%
  • *

    Votes: 1 3.3%

  • Total voters
    30

BarryT60

Well-Known Member
Speeding through songs is sometimes considered to be a dubious sign of accomplishment. "Look how fast I can play this song."

I also think that in a concert setting, speeds increase with nervousness, and not with any forethought or intentions.

Harry
Something tells me that Richard would not have let 'nervousness' accelerate the count of any song.... My interpretation was if they sped things up a tad - they could fit more songs into the set. (or quite possibly this was their answer to not let things get dragged down by all the ballads...)
 

BarryT60

Well-Known Member
I loved this album. I prefer it to the latter live performances. This set most mirrored my own concert experience on November 17th, 1973. I want to say it was song for song a duplicate - but I cannot be sure... I remember being a little miffed in 1973 that we didn't get the whole version of my then favorite, Yesterday Once More... but other than that - my third row center seat was all a flutter at the mere site of K & R walking on stage... It's amazing my 13 year old self remembers anything about that night!

As for the album itself, it was sent to me - by a "pen-pal" from Japan that I wrote to often. These pen pal situations were engineered by Ev and the group at the fan club. Anyone else participate in that activity?

What fun it was corresponding with a Carpenter fan from oh-so-far away....

I've lost touch with Miwako.... but I'll never forget her lovely letters, and the thoughtfulness involved in procuring, packing & sending me the Live album.

She was a dear. And this album remains a very special piece of my collection.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I also think that in a concert setting, speeds increase with nervousness, and not with any forethought or intentions.

Something tells me that Richard would not have let 'nervousness' accelerate the count of any song.... My interpretation was if they sped things up a tad - they could fit more songs into the set. (or quite possibly this was their answer to not let things get dragged down by all the ballads...)

I definitely think it was the latter. There's no way they let nervousness get in the way of a performance. These concerts were performed with absolute precision and Richard has said many times that Karen was like a metronome. If the songs were fast in concert, I reckon they were rehearsed that way, to the n'th degree.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Perhaps a better term, instead of nervousness, is the energy of the crowd. Though I cannot claim to be a performer, I do sing in a neighborhood chorus and know that our concerts always finish sooner than we thought they would. It's natural that a performer will feed off of the energy in an audience and go just that little bit faster than normal.

And in addition to the "Look how fast I can perform this song?" mentality that might account for a tiny increase in speed, there's a bit of familiarity in there too. When you do a song over and over and over again, it's natural that you get better at it from practicing - and you get a little faster from that too.

No, I'll stick to my guns and believe that Richard and Karen, the perfectionists, would have wanted the songs to sound exactly the way they did on record - and at the same tempo - but it just didn't happen. And I'll bet you'd get a similar answer from Richard if you asked him.

Harry
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
This is an interesting discussion, to say the least. Many fascinating viewpoints.
I see that the Essential Collection has Ave Maria clocking in at 2:36.
The December 1978 Live performance takes roughly about 2:15 !
(I always felt it was performed live a tad 'fast'....never checked until today.)
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
In regards 'tempo' of the recordings versus the 'live' performances,
it is amusing to note that the Resource has this description of the recording "Close To You":
"Because Richard and Hal had a tendency to rush the tempo a bit, Hal suggested that they use a “click track”,
which was basically an electronic signal or “click” that accompanied the musicians, allowing them to follow a tempo map."
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
A post from well over a decade ago has our Chris May posting info from the 35th Anniversary box set liner notes, with this tidbit:

1) The 1971 Bacharach medley ("Carpenters") rhythm tracking was played by the musicians from the live show per Richards request and not studio musicians. This was due to the fact that they were all very familiar with it, and were playing it every night on the road. Richard said that "we all got it in one take, although due to the inconsistency of the tempos was 'sped up'". The album version was "just too fast". [/img]

http://www.amcorner.com/forum/threads/35th-anniversary-liner-notes.2619/

Harry
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Good Stuff!
Also, in the Chris May interview with Joe Osborn and Hal Blaine,2014:
Joe Osborn states: "Richard is the one that needed the 'click'." (at 9:48).
Hal Blaine: "He (Richard) was going faster and faster and faster..." (at 10:05).
 

moog

Well-Known Member
Perhaps a better term, instead of nervousness, is the energy of the crowd. Though I cannot claim to be a performer, I do sing in a neighborhood chorus and know that our concerts always finish sooner than we thought they would. It's natural that a performer will feed off of the energy in an audience and go just that little bit faster than normal.

And in addition to the "Look how fast I can perform this song?" mentality that might account for a tiny increase in speed, there's a bit of familiarity in there too. When you do a song over and over and over again, it's natural that you get better at it from practicing - and you get a little faster from that too.

No, I'll stick to my guns and believe that Richard and Karen, the perfectionists, would have wanted the songs to sound exactly the way they did on record - and at the same tempo - but it just didn't happen. And I'll bet you'd get a similar answer from Richard if you asked him.

Harry

Gotta say, though, they played the Bacharach/David medley even faster than on the album here live, and color me impressed! Wow!

 

moog

Well-Known Member
Also, Coleman quotes (p.119-120) members of the band (Doug Strawn) :
" ..She'd do it her way, Richard wanted it to go faster. She'd take her pause to the maximum, and
they'd get into a shouting match
."

As perfect as the studio recordings are, I honestly prefer the live ones, because they're more human.

I actually think the best, most heartfelt performance of "I Need to Be in Love" Karen gave in her life (that I've heard) was on the Bruce Forsyth show (when Richard wasn't there), primarily because she was able to take a few more liberties with her interpretation, take those pauses, hold out notes longer, and really squeeze all the emotion she could out of it.
 

song4u

Well-Known Member
Gotta say, though, they played the Bacharach/David medley even faster than on the album here live, and color me impressed! Wow!

Hadn't seen that in a while. Thanks for posting it. I loved that medley live.
 

Eyewire

Well-Known Member
Why did they change the lyrics on We've Only Just Begun in some of their live performances such as the one on this album, their '71 BBC show and the '72 concert in Australia? Just curious.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Live In Japan:
Absolutely love this concert...is the drummer Cubby O'brien ?
(Credits on LP say Yes, but I can't tell visually watching !),
but, the drumming is great --as with Tony's guitar work---
I get a kick out of the Rainy Days And Mondays drumming here....
 

ars nova

Well-Known Member
Why did they change the lyrics on We've Only Just Begun in some of their live performances such as the one on this album, their '71 BBC show and the '72 concert in Australia? Just curious.

if you are referring Karen not singing part of the lyric, I think it was to strengthen the harmony on the phrase, " we've on just begun ".
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
if you are referring Karen not singing part of the lyric, I think it was to strengthen the harmony on the phrase, " we've on just begun ".

In essence, yes, but it was also because as talented as Karen was, she couldn't sing two parts at the same time in a live setting. Rich sings "We've only be gu--u--u--u--u--u--un" and on the long syllable, Karen joins with the guys to form the harmony chord. This is where she would normally have a lead vocal overtop of that chord ("Before the rising...") and then she turns her harmony "un" into the last part of "sun, we fly".

I'd be willing to bet that that was one of the things that drove Rich crazy, because it didn't sound like the record.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Is the drumming on
Rainy Days a bit better (intense/creative) than that found on the original LP ?
I have not compared the two, yet......
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I see the Link above (post#63) has already disappeared from Youtube.
Oh, well....I played the LP,
Live In Japan, this morning....still, love this concert.
Now, I see Karen and Cubby drumming together on the song
Help...is that common in the concerts ?
I don't normally listen to the song Help,
but, here it really comes alive with Karen at those drums !
Karen, a soft drummer ? I think not !
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Billboard Magazine, May 10, 1975, Page 44:
"About 150,000 copies of Carpenters' album
Live In Japan are reported to have been sold
since release March 6."
 
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