Offenbach Master (Siréne-225)
Stadthalle, Offenbach, Germany – February 26th, 1971
Disc 1 (72:04): Astronomy Domine, Green Is The Colour, Careful With That Axe Eugene, The Embryo, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Cymbaline, A Saucerful Of Secrets
Disc 2 (38:50): Atom Heart Mother, Atom Heart Mother (reprise), blues. Bonus tracks, from the analogue LP Pictures Of Pink Floyd Vol. 1: blues, Atom Heart Mother
Several years ago Siréne released their three disc Offenbach 1971 (Siréne-023) set using a first generation copy of the master tape for the first and longer source of the February 26th, 1971 tape. Soon afterwards the taper himself released the master source and dedicated Pink Floyd collectors circulated the master along with the what is still extant from the second tape source, “blues” and the three minute reprise of “Atom Heart Mother” that first surfaced on the Dutch vinyl Pictures Of Pink Floyd Vol. 1 (TOPSOUND 70001).
More than a year later Siréne issued that production on silver as Offenbach Master. The sound quality of the new Siréne release is certainly an upgrade over the older version, but not THAT much of an upgrade. It is a bit clearer than the earlier generation. However, it isn’t enough to throw Offenbach 1971 away if one has it as some have suggested. It is still a distant but reasonably clear and listenable recording that is a nice listen once they ears adjust to the fidelity.
During louder parts the distortion in the upper frequencies is very noticeable and it increases by the end of the tape with “Atom Heart Mother”, “Atom Heart Mother (reprise)” and especially the final blues in the encores. There are various cuts between most of the tracks and one present at 12:42 in “Atom Heart Mother”. Thankfully the audience concentrated fully on the music and the venue is extremely quiet during the performance.
This show comes from a very short tour of Europe in the beginning of 1971. It included stops on February 24th in Münster, February 25th in Hamburg (M-502 Collector’s Edition, Sirene-176), this one in Offenbach, and a stop at the ORTF TV studios in Paris to film “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” for the television music show Pop 2.
February 26th originally was scheduled for the Alte Oper in Frankfurt but was changed to Offenbach when the Alte Oper management didn’t give the band enough time to assemble their equipment. The set list is similar to the previous evening’s with “Astronomy Domine” serving as the opener. Roger Waters gives a very nervous introduction to “Green Is The Colour” which is the most melodic and lyrical song played this night and the only respite from the long and demanding material chosen by the band to play.
“Saucerful Of Secrets”, which could reach twenty-five minutes on any given night, is very compact in this performance reaching only sixteen minutes. The set ends with twenty minutes of “Atom Heart Mother”. David Gilmour complained in the press the previous November about the poor quality of the live performance of this piece with choir and orchestra because of the inability to play with the same ensemble more than twice.
For these three dates in Germany, and for the April 3rd show in Rotterdam (Live In Rotterdam, Sirene-095), Pink Floyd were accompanied by Jeffrey Mitchell directing the same brass and choir for continuity. The first encore is “Atom Heart Mother (reprise)”, a three-minute reiteration of the main theme of the piece that was played as an encore on some dates on the English tour in December 1970.
The final encore is the common blues piece they played all throughout their career with this version lasting six minutes. The final two tracks on this release are the same encores taken from the other tape source that have been circulating for years.
This sounds like a soundboard recording that is in pristine quality and makes one wonder where the rest of the show is. If the complete tape were to ever surface that would be perhaps the best Pink Floyd release from 1971. The older release has an advantage on this since it has more material with the entire LP on the third disc including the “The Liberest Spacement Monitor”, “Embryo” and “Fat Old Sun” from a 1970 Sweden performance.
But since Siréne‘s earlier release has been sold out for years this is a viable alternative for those who want this show. Offenbach Master is packaged with high quality glossy inserts with various photos from the era and is limited to three hundred copies.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)