Let’s get it straight to the point: Band on the Run sounds spectacular on Dolby Atmos. Well, we’d better say that the album IS spectacular. You cannot transform something bad into something good if the material is not there, Atmos or not.
The Band on the Run 50th Anniversary double cd.
We’re talking about an album that has 50 years, not certainly conceived for this kind of listening experience, although the massive orchestration of some tracks makes it suitable for something special (thus, the early Quadraphonic Mix from 1974 released on 8-track Cartridge and the DTS 5.1 version which appeared in 1996).
The environment offered by Pinaxa Studio in Milan is intimate and designed for the Atmos. A tiny studio, with only three people admitted for each single session.
The room at Pinaxa Studio, Milan, where the listening session took place this morning, 1 February 2024.
Ready for a track-by-track account? I highlight the main elements that grabbed my attention. Beware: it's based on only one listening. Here we go:
“Band on the Run”
Part 1: here we can appreciate more the synthesizer and the vocal harmonies. The separation does a nice job in highlighting the various parts.
Part 2: great clarity on Paul’s vocals and guitars
Part 3: The entrance of the orchestra… well if you think it’s powerful, you cannot imagine what it becomes here! Paul’s vocal seems to feature a slight reverberation. The accompanying harmonies in the chorus are incredible. Volume of the guitar lick seems to be higher, and they are very well defined.
The opening riff seems to balance more horns and guitars. It sounds more aggressive. Great to hear better the Moog notes on the verses. Lead vocal seems smoother, and the section “Ah Mater” features more strident sounding guitars. The “lyrical” ending is glorious.
Three main features: Paul’s vocal, so smooth, the voice blending with Linda in the chorus and wait… Howie Casey’s sax solo… we’re there, in the studio just beside him. Unforgettable, believe me.
You can really hear the wood of the acoustic guitar, guys. The “Ho Hey Ho” part seems to be higher in volume compared to the original. Electric piano in the bridge and guitars are very well defined. You can hear the slight squeak during the sax solo, fantastic.
“Let Me Roll It”
Ah, that accompanying guitar at the beginning… so simple and so pure, you can hear the fingers on the fretboard! More emphasis on the vocals, and Laine harmonies stand out. And the big riff is now the bigger riff!
Great separation on the harmonies, and acoustic guitar is very clear. We can appreciate even more Laine’s work on congas, especially during the ending. Moog solo sound a bit thinner compared to the original.
Great to hear those tight harmonies Paul/Denny so well balanced and defined. The ending solo has a higher volume.
A “surprise”, to say the least. It’s very enjoyable. The dirty sound of the tracks seems to stand out even more, especially the intro is so basic and earthy. The harmonies in the chorus put a certain emphasis on the higher part by Linda, it’s great!
Fabulous is the bass, in particular during the transitions when it’s almost on its own. Vocal is definitely clearer and the guitar licks are so loud and clean.
“Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me)”
Great emphasis on Linda’s high harmony in the verse. During the first “drum machine” segment, we can hear very well the electric piano. Just near the ending, on the fading, there’s a small bass phrase that I’ve never heard before!
“Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five”
In the intro, piano and electric piano/keyboards have been balanced in volumes, so we can hear them both very well. Smoother vocal, and organ very present. The piano seems to be more brilliant.
Last but not least… the grand finale, well, it’s a marvel, I cannot say other words.
Stay tuned for my new book dedicated to Band on the Run!
The story, the songs, the narration of the stolen demos through the years, an in depth analysis of the vocal and instrumental parts, with a focus on Paul’s drumming on the tracks, an exclusive interview with some AIR Studios personnel that worked on the LP… and much more. News on availability as soon as possible!