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Home Latest News Wishbone Ash 1995 Anniversary
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Live In GenevaIt was during the first half of 1995, when I completed the setting up of a very special itinerary for Andy and Wishbone Ash to celebrate their 25 year Jubilee (Silver) anniversary.

The dates were earmarked for October, November December in the United Kingdom rolling out into the highly popular Germany, Austria, Switzerland and BENELUX territories at the start of the new year to coincide with the bands 25th birthday. It was an exciting time for everyone and the schedule was highly fruitful as a consequence of the planning having been laid out from the start of November 1994.

As work continued the tour soon began to shape up on the drawing board. As was expected, the steady surge of media attention publicised about the prestigious tour and occasion soon reached promoters across the earmarked territories. January '94 started with a torrent of interested parties and one incoming telephone call started the negotiations for appearing in one of a series of French television shows set to be captured in a new type of dazzling format aptly titled High Definition or HDTV as it is now widely known.

We didn't know it at the time, but in 1995, HDTV recording and broadcasting was 10 years ahead of its UK premiere, as I was soon to learn after receiving a return call from a senior staff member at the BBC. At that time, I was
relaxing back on Terra Firma after a busy 6 months but already launched in the throes of making a few calls in the right places to see if there might be any interest in broadcasting the in-concert footage. The BBC, as one can well imagine, were high up the list of my prospecting outlets.

During the conversation, the Broadcast director seemed very curious to learn how an Artist management / Publishing company from South Yorkshire came to be talking in all circles about an amazing 2 hour mega quality film footage of classic rocker's Wishbone Ash, done in a format that the BBC weren't expecting to be rolling out for public enjoyment until at least 2005.

I'd already had my minor crash course on the nuts and bolts entailed in this exciting new viewing mode and I guess that any development expert on the receiving end of telephone enquiry regarding some "supposed" genuine HDTV recordings sat in South Yorkshire, had no option but to return the call in the curious manner in which it was delivered.

Five minutes into the conversation however, the concept was beginning to seem dead in the water for any likelihood of pushing the concert out nationwide. The equipment to do such a broadcast just simply didn't exist back then? I wasn't really sure for a moment whether it was a good or a bad thing to own such a device anymore?

I did managed to appease the curiosity of my highly qualified enquirer, who very quickly realised from the well rehearsed description of the method, quality and equipment used on site, that I absolutely, without any shadow of a doubt, did own a genuine piece of 21st century broadcasting technology. When asked, I was able to confirm to him that the medium was in the form of one gigantic looking VHS video cassette and before long, after having answered all the technical questions correctly, I think I can safely say, he was politely impressed with our early achievement.

It was a good discussion and one that has continued to be somewhat inspirational many years on, keeping a strong light burning for the devotion I have felt about these Wishbone Ash Geneva recordings.
The sound was captured in 48 track digital and later transposed mixed and mastered from 2 inch analogue magnetic tape.

Today, I remain happy, carrying on regardless, mentioning to friends, family, grandchildren, top film producers, ancestry.com and uncle tom cobbly that, way way back in 1995, whilst all the top dogs in the Broadcasting industry were ploughing away developing state of the art electronic technology, probably as a secret black project and probably covertly named "Operation BBC UK HDTV 2005" little old us got back home and apparently beat them to it. At least that's what I've been telling everybody for the past sixteen years.

So way back then, after a grueling magnificent 6 months tour, landing back on UK soil, we really did produce something ahead of its time. Not a new thing for Andy Powell to have achieved; he was simply following a 25 year long trend of the Wishbone Ash trademark which he alone has so readily kept afloat pioneering from day one, stamping that mark on the birth of twin lead harmony guitars and the iconic flying V that will always belong at his side.

Martin E Looby - Wishbone Ash (1990-2000)

Director: SYME Music Publishing Co Limited; Pureserver Limited; Grassmonster Limited

Visit Hengest On YouTube - Wishbone Ash - Live In Geneva (Collectors Footage)
 
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