Hunter College 1971 (Godfather Records GR 590/591)
Assembly Hall, Hunter College, New York, NY – November 5th, 1971
Disc 1 (77:07): The Embryo, Fat Old Sun, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Atom Heart Mother, One Of These Days
Disc 2 (72:31): Careful With That Axe Eugene, Cymbaline, Echoes, A Saucerful Of Secrets
Pink Floyd’s final live appearances in 1971 was a long US tour. Beginning on the west coast in the middle of October, it came to the east coast at the beginning of November and would end in Cincinnati on November 20th.
The New York date was at Hunter College in New York on November 5th (the others in the metropolitan area were in Passaic, New Jersey and at SUNY Stony Brook). Several days after the release of their new album Meddle, there are two tape sources are in circulation for this date.
Godfather utilizes the first of the two tapes. It contains the complete show with tune ups, no noise reduction or dehissing and runs at the correct speed. It is a bit distant and thin sounding with slight distortion at the beginning of the show, but clears up as the show progresses to be a really nice sounding document. There is a small cut after “Atom Heart Mother” and one 12:32 in “Careful With That Axe, Eugene.”
For the tape’s silver pressed debut Godfather produced a wonderful title worth having.
Pink Floyd’s fall tour of the US stands out from others because they made an attempt to follow a trend of being improvisers on stage instead of constricting themselves to the recording. In later years this would cease when they began to present their own brand of rock theater. Like many shows from the tour, it begins with “The Embryo.” Having been in the set for several years, this would be the final tour in which it would be played.
The opening song lasts for eighteen minutes, partly born out of necessity since Roger Waters has serious equipment problems. The bass guitar disappears from the mix, so Gilmour takes command with his slide guitar, playing slippery surreal melodies before going into the “proper” solo with the walking Hammond organ melody and the giggling baby.
“Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” truly takes its time. Waters plays the melody in the middle part in counterpoint to Wright’s unsettling keyboard melodies. This is one tune which is firmly committed to their old “space rock” ethic.
“Atom Heart Mother” closes the first half of the show. During the fast tempo middle instrumental they try out several abrasive noises and sounds to augment the aggressive feel of the piece. It sounds as if they’re trying hard to make the piece sound more relevant and interesting to compliment their new epic “Echoes.”
The second half of the show opens with the first new song of the set “One Of These Days.” The obstinato bass sounds menacing, and the middle of the piece has less “Dr. Who” and more keyboard effects. Wright uses the VC3 synthesizer to good effect, producing very strange and sounds which are more consistent with the mood of the show.
“Echoes” is the other new song of the night and closes the set. It has a very light feel. The band do not attack the chords in heavy metal fury as they normally do, suggesting a more “psychedelic” interpretation of the piece. It’s a unique performance. “A Saucerful Of Secrets” closes the show.
Godfather package Hunter College 1971 in a trifold gatefold sleeve with and white photos on the cover. There are extensive liner notes, but there are to inaccuracies. The author states Pink Floyd played several shows in the New York metropolitan area including Buffalo. While Buffalo is in New York State, it’s not considered part of the New York City metropolitan area as is Long Island, northern New Jersey and south western Connecticut. Buffalo is nine hours away and is closer to Pittsburgh and Cleveland.
Also, Hunter College is not part of Colombia University. It’s part of CUNY (City University of New York, not Columbia University of New York).
Nonetheless this is another very strong Pink Floyd debut on the Godfather label worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)