Sportpalast Berlin! 1971 (Cape Music CM 824)
Sportpalast, Berlin, Germany – June 5th, 1971
Disc 1 (57:52): Careful With That Axe Eugene, Fat Old Sun, The Embryo, Echoes
Disc 2 (59:41): Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Cymbaline, A Saucerful Of Secrets, Astronomy Domine, blues
Pink Floyd’s June 5th show in was the first concert at the Sportpalast that utilized the band’s quadraphonic sound system and light show. This audience recording has been circulating for many years and was first released on the German vinyl Berlin 1971 (PFB-71-A/F) containing the complete show. “Echoes” appears on the vinyl release Lost In The Corridors (Rockwell & Good RG5003 – Spatial Arrangements 3).
Highland released it on Return Of The Sons Of Nothing (Highland HL178/179) many years ago and in 2006 it appeared on Downfall (Siréne-204). The sound quality of the tape itself is very good. Highland used a high generation copy and they mastered it so that the high end was almost completely eliminated leaving a low-end rumble. Harvested Records used a low generation copy that is much better sounding and worked hard to eliminate the many mic handling noises present on the source tape on Vierundzwanzig Teile von Nichts (HRV CDR 029).
Cape Music utilzed the Harvested but it sounds as if they completed that work since there are hardly any of those noises present on this tape at all. The result is a very good to excellent mono audience recording that captures all of the music over the two-hour concert.
There are cuts between tracks which omit the tune-ups and some mc, and there are amounts of hiss present in the upper frequencies more noticeable during quieter parts of the tape like during “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun.” Compared to the Siréne, this version has an airy, brighter sound which empahsizes the higher requencies. It has more dynamics and is much more enjoyable.
The concert is right during the Meddle period and the only new song played in “Echoes”. Although an introduction is not present on the tape, it was called “Return Of The Sons Of Nothing”. It received it debut on April 22nd in Norwich, England and was famously performed at the Crystal Palace show three weeks before Berlin.
This would be the ninth overall performance of the piece and is presented in its early form with lyrics different than those on the final recorded version. The show begins with a subtle version of “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” and is followed by a performance of “Fat Old Sun” that reaches almost fifteen minutes. It is augmented by intricate instrumental passages and is one of the prettiest versions of the piece. There seems to be some disturbance in the audience because the show is stopped after “The Embryo” and an announcer comes out to say, “The Pink Floyd won’t begin until you sit down” before “Echoes”.
“Cymbaline” cuts in nine seconds into the piece and a compact but very effective version of “A Saucerful Of Secrets” closes the event. “Astronomy Domine” and the Pink Floyd mellow jammin’ blues serve as the encores. Appropriate live photos are used on the covers and look really nice. Like the other Berlin shows in this set, Sportpalast Berlin! 1971 is packaged in a glossy digipack with fantastic artwork.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)