Amazing FMS Streaming Concert Archive: Wolfgang’s Vault

Rob Hall announced the launch of and FMS based project he worked on called Wolfgang’s Vault http://concerts.wolfgangsvault.com/

This is so great. Words (almost) fail me.

The content – original concert recordings of the pioneers of rock, R&B, soul, folk, jazz – is amazing, complete, and deep. Everything from David Bowie to Devo to Miles Davis.

I’m writing this while listening to Led Zeppelin live at the Fillmore West in 1969 visiting San Francisco during their first foray “across the pond”. The show, a good quality live recording from the sound board, begins with Robert Plant making small talk as Jimmy Page slowly replaces and tunes a busted string (he jokes: “Has anybody got a Les Paul?”). The lack of polish and showmanship is nearly stunning and reminder of how early they were in their legendary careers (Plant introduces the band members one by one); however, the music is pure energy and talent. Beautiful round bass tones, larynx shredding vocals, Bonham’s blistering drums – really a time capsule of a time and place in music history that I, in my relative youth, know only from posters and black and white photos.

Technology

The Flash front end to the player embodies much of what has made Flash so successful as a media container. It is, as JD likes to say, a “transparent technology platform” that lets users get to what they want easily and painlessly. The site uses Flash Player 9, so Windows, Mac, and Linux users can all listen in.

As Rob Hall says on his blog:

“The Vault Radio player will even remember what track you left off on intelligently so you can pick up where you left off if you have to quit and come back. Lots of little subtle things we put into the players, like remembering your volume setting and sharing it between the two players, intelligent selection of streams based on bandwidth detection, integration of Express Install, auto-renegotiation of streams in case of drops or low-bandwidth.”

I’ll resist the urge to get into self promoting mode and talk about how great FMS is yada yada, because really, it’s just a tool. It takes talent, art, and vision to create an experience like this. Credit to Rob for building something that resonated so deeply with the users of the Concert Vault – for a real treat, read the comments in the user feedback forums. My fave quote:

I was in front of the stage at the Led Zeppelin concert at Fillmore West.  No one knew who these guys were.  There was mescaline going around the crowd that night.  There was a fat naked hippie older woman also at the front of the stage.  She had a white bed sheet on and would open it up from time to time.  Robert Plant and Page were laughing.  I thought I was going to vomit.  I remember watching Plant sing, and how the light was flickering through his hair.  I thought he had the most beautiful head of hair I had ever seen and that he had a small salami strapped to his leg