“Judy Garland in Amsterdam” is a unique and thoroughly enjoyable time capsule. The oft used phrase “You are there!’ is apropos here. Judy Garland fans will rejoice, as this 2 CD release finally presents her 1960 Amsterdam concert complete and remastered from the original tapes.
At midnight on Saturday, December 10, 1960 Garland gave a knockout concert at the Tuschinski Theater in Amsterdam, Holland. The concert was broadcast live on AVRO (Algemene Vereniging Radio Omroep [General Association of Radio Broadcasting]). Because the concert started at such a late hour, it was re-broadcast the following Tuesday (December 13th) from 8 – 10:30 p.m. The concert has always been popular with Garland fans as its almost identical to 1961’s legendary “Judy at Carnegie Hall.” It’s also one of the few audio documents that preserve a time in Garland’s career when she was enjoying a meteoric rise to new heights as a singer, performer, and yes – legend.
The concert first appeared on bootleg records in the 1970’s, and then on a 1996 budget release. Neither of these were complete (they neglected to include “Over the Rainbow”!) nor were they derived from the original tapes.
Produced and packaged (beautifully) by First Hand Records, this release presents almost the entire radio broadcast from that night for the first time. A few minor trims were made (see below) that don’t hinder the enjoyment of the CDs in any way. We’re presented with a radio and concert experience rolled into one. Included are chatter from the program’s hosts, Ageeth Scherphuis and Willem Duys, plus the pre-show interview with conductor Norrie Paramor, and the intermission interview with Judy’s husband Sid Luft. We also get a backstage interview with Judy by Nikko van Fleet (this opens the set), the pre-concert host dialog and pre-concert orchestral program.
There is a noticeable difference in sound quality from the radio studio (the hosts) to the stage at the Tuschinski. This is not a fault of the remastering. It’s due to the source material. As noted in Jonathan Summer’s liner notes: “…inherent in this original live broadcast from a theatre and not from a radio studio are level changes, a few balance problems and places where Garland is either too near or too far from the microphone.” But don’t worry, these minor flaws do not impede the enjoyment of the program. Garland’s voice, excitement and joy are front and center throughout.
Also explained in the booklet: “…the broadcast began at midnight, but Garland did not appear until nearer 12:30am. The intervening time was fill with fifteen minutes of preliminary talk in Dutch (which we have removed), followed by what appears to be a live backstage interview with Garland…The only other excisions are of organ music played during the interval and the removal of some long silences in the commentary before the show.”
In short the CD is beautifully produced, with liner notes by Jonathan Summers thoroughly detail Judy’s time in Holland. Plus some fun photos!
This is yet another “must have.”
CD booklet centerfold:
First Hand Records also gave us the wonderful 2011 CD set “Judy Garland – The London Studio Recordings 1957 – 1964“
Judy Garland interviewed by Nikko van Fleet
Ageeth Scherphuis announcement
Norrie Paramor interviewed by Ageeth Scherphuis
When You’re Smiling
Medley: Almost Like Being in Love/This Can’t Be Love
Talk: ‘It’s lovely to be here in Amsterdam…’
Do it Again
Talk: Paris hairdresser story
You Go to My Head
Talk: ‘I wonder what all the people listening to the radio are thinking…’
Talk: ‘I’m known, if I’m known at all…’
Talk: ‘The next starts with a moan…’
Puttin’ On the Ritz
Talk: ‘I think the next is a sort of a strip-tease tempo…’
How Long Has This Been Going On?
Just You, Just Me
The Man That Got Away
Talk: ‘I could stay here for a week…’
Sid Luft interviewed by Ageeth Scherphuis
I Can’t Give You Anything but Love
Talk: ‘Now you know you can’t get any attractive pictures from there…’
Come Rain or Come Shine
Talk: ‘I ran out of breath on the last note…’
Talk: ‘There’s another nice song…’
If Love Were All
Talk: ‘Shall we go on with this nonsense…’
A Foggy Day (in London Town)
Talk: ‘We had about twenty stagehands in Paris…’
Zing! Went the String of My Heart
Talk: ‘I can hear a marvellous woman off there…’
Medley: You Made Me Love You/For Me and My Gal/The Trolley Song
Rock-a-Bye Your Baby (with a Dixie Melody)
Talk: ‘Thank you very, very much…’
Over the Rainbow
Talk: ‘You know we don’t have too many orchestrations…’
Talk: ‘I think it’s rather beastly to keep coming on and going off…’
It’s a Great Day for the Irish (false start)
It’s a Great Day for the Irish
Talk: ‘I don’t know what we can do…’
After You’ve Gone
Talk: ‘I think we’re going to have to just do one of them over again…’
Talk: ‘God bless you and goodnight…’