Live In Osaka 1971 (Zeus Z20102701/2)
Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan – August 9th, 1971
Disc 1 (48:57): Green Is The Colour, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Fat Old Sun, Atom Heart Mother
Disc 2 (72:35): Echoes, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Cymbaline, A Saucerful Of Secrets
Pink Floyd scheduled only three shows on their first tour of Japan in August 1971. The first two were in Hakone at the open air festival on August 6th and 7th and the final on August 9th in the Festival Hall in Osaka on August 9th supported by Buffy St. Marie and The 1910 Fruit Company at all three. The Osaka tape is distant but very clear and with fantastic atmosphere. There are cuts between most of the songs but all of the music is present.
The taper probably eliminated the long tune ups that were characteristic of Pink Floyd’s performances during this time. Two songs, “Cymbaline” and “Fat Old Sun” were issued on the vinyl Pink Floyd (kp339-kp344) and “A Saucerful Of Secrets” can be found on Fourth Eclipse Night (Highland HL593/594) along with the Osaka show on March 9th, 1972. Otherwise Zeus are the only label to offer the entire show pressed on silver.
The tape opens with Waters introducing the medley of “Green Is The Colour” and “Careful With That Axe, Eugene.” This is a short, dramatic pairing that had been utilized for more than a year up to this point. The mellow opening tune is a bucolic and pastoral foil for the mechanized psychedelic crunch that will comprise “Careful With That Axe Eugene” and the better part of the next two hours.
After the two Ummagumma song two new tracks are played from Atom Heart Motherreleased the previous October. “Fat Old Sun” had already been expanded to three times the length of the studio recording with extra guitar solos in the middle and superlative interplay between Gilmour and Wright. Waters introduces “Atom Heart Mother” as the last song of the first set before they play an eighteen minute version without orchestra and minimal vocals but with emphasis is upon the instruments.
The first song of the second half of the show is “Echoes.” Zeus print this on the artwork under the initial working title “Return Of The Sons Of Nothing” but Waters introduces it under the correct name in these shows.
However it still has the extra lyrics not found in the studio version: “Two planets meeting face to face / One to the other cried, how sweet / If endlessly we might embrace / The perfect union, deep in space / If Heaven might this once relent / And give us leave to shine as one / Our two lights here forever / One light blend /And through that longing to be one / The parting summons sound is wrong / I’ll see you back to travel on / And on and on, around the sun.” The depth of the recording enhances the chugging bass-lines in the middle of the piece and the finale.
“Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” gets off to a noisy, clanging start and Wright leads the band into atonal explorations in the most psychedelic song of the evening. Compared to the new material it sounds slightly out of date in the program but is nevertheless effective.
“Cymbaline” is one of the more concrete and melodic songs in the set and the audience are extremely quiet during the footstep interlude in the middle. The encore is a twenty-minute version of “A Saucerful Of Secrets” that, while sounding slightly dated has moments of true terror and religious awe in the middle during the “Syncopated Pandemonium” section. This is one of the early Pink Floyd’s most effective stage pieces which reached the height of its development and performance during this time.
Live In Osaka 1971 was released a decade ago when labels where proud to produce real silver manufactured discs and comes with the warning “beware of cheap imitations on cd-r,” a sentiment that is largely lost today. It comes packaged in a double slimline jewel case with a four page insert with various live shots of the era.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)