The late Dan Fogelberg's Live At Carnegie Hall is an unearthed treasure from 1979, brought to fruition and to our ears thanks to the hard work of his wife, Jean.
In the musical archives of the late, great troubadour Dan Fogelberg, a hidden gem sat, just waiting to be discovered. It was March of 2015 when Jean Fogelberg, while sifting through a trove of photographs and tapes, stumbled upon a DAT tape bearing the words "D.F. Live At Carnegie Hall."
Flash back to 1979, a pivotal year for Fogelberg. As he stood on the brink of his Carnegie Hall debut, his management posed a question: should they record the show? Nerves tangled with the thought, Fobelberg declined, citing the pressure he felt about the monumental performance and the presence of his parents in the audience. A decision, it turns out, he'd later regret.
This was a recording that wasn’t supposed to exist, but now Jean Fogelberg was holding it in her hands.
Intrigued by what she'd discovered, Jean was mentally prepared to hear a disaster - a recording riddled with hiss, audience chatter, and technical glitches. However, to her surprise, the recording's quality was surprisingly good. And armed with the technological progress in audio restoration over the ensuing 36 years, she was convinced that the recording could be polished into something truly worthy of fans hearing.
Jean passed along a snippet of "Song From Half Mountain" to none other than Irving Azoff, a lifelong friend of Dan's. The note was simple yet loaded: "Irving, I just listened to the recording of Dan at Carnegie Hall, and I would love for us to release it." Azoff lent his ear, found himself captivated, and serendipitously, his pal Ron Perelman was the head of Carnegie Hall. Perelman's swift response set the wheels in motion, connecting them with the right channels for permissions.
Audio restoration followed, but when the reference CD arrived, it didn't sound as Jean hoped. The vision was to transport listeners into the heart of Carnegie Hall, but this restoration wasn’t doing it in Jean’s estimation. A lifeline emerged in the form of Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering. Jean ventured to Gateway in Maine, hand-delivering the precious tapes to the audiophile genius himself. Ludwig's mastery transformed the recordings, resurrecting the magic of that legendary night. The authenticity of the performance remained paramount; every nuance of Fogelberg's banter with the audience was preserved, like the impromptu creation "All Night Long" born from an audience member's screaming for Dan to play just that.
A photo captured by Andy Katz held sentimental value for Jean and would be the album cover. With some help from designer John Kosh, responsible for many of Fogelberg's previous album’s artwork, the full package came into being. Lacking visual memorabilia of the concert, Jean turned to the masses via social media, igniting a Facebook quest for photos or artifacts. An unexpected gift arrived from devoted fan Jill Dolnick McGovern - ticket stubs and a New York Times ad, designed, as fate would have it, by John Kosh.
So, dim those lights, recline in your chair, and let your imagination take you back to the glourious '70s. Envision yourself a few rows behind Larry and Margaret Fogelberg, gazing upon their talented son in his prime, as the spirit of Dan Fogelberg’s Carnegie Hall performance is reborn in every melodic note.