Stamping Ground (Highland HL640/641)
Holland Pop Festival, Kraalinge Bos, Rotterdam, Netherlands – June 28th, 1970
Disc 1 (49:47): Astronomy Domine, Green Is The Colour, Careful With That Axe Eugene, tuning time, Atom Heart Mother
Disc 2 (58:21): Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, A Saucerful Of Secrets, Interstellar Overdrive
The Holland Pop Festival was held over three days at the end of June 1970 and has been well represented on past releases. On vinyl a poor mono audience source was used for Kralingen on Wild Thing Records (SCH-1-A/F P-1970), a three LP set covering various artists at the event. Pink Floyd is represented on side six with “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” and “Atom Heart Mother”. Kralingen/Isle Of Wight on Westcoast Records (WRC-002A/B/1) is another Dutch vinyl production that contains “Insterstellar Overdrive” from the same tape source.
The first compact disc to surface claiming to have material from this was Reversion Or Revalorization (WPOCM 0690 D 054-2) on the Italian label World Productions of Compact Music in 1990. However both “Careful With That Axe Eugene” and “Cymbaline” (which wasn’t even played in Kralingen) are from another source. Early Flights Vol. 7 on Euroboots (PF 7) contains “A Saucerful Of Secrets” and Kralingen Pop-Festival (KRCD17-7753) contains the fragments from “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” and “A Saucerful Of Secrets” from the movie soundtrack along with other artists from the festival.
Stamping Ground is sourced by the DAT clone of the original master cassette taped from the audience and represents the first legitimate complete release of an audience source from Pink Floyd’s set at the festival on a commercial boot. It is a bit distant and has the usual “woosh” sounds from the wind hitting the mic but it is clear enough to listen to and enjoy and Highland didn’t mess around with the tape.
Pink Floyd appeared at the Bath Festival in England the previous day and they hit the stage in the middle of the night just before dawn. The opening numbers sound a bit sluggish but their performance improves considerably for “Atom Heart Mother”. Afterwards Roger Waters says, “It seems the sun is beginning to show itself slightly so before we do our last number we’ll do ‘Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun'” to celebrate the sunrise. The middle intrumental was used for the movie Stamping Ground. The beginning of the final song of the set “A Saucerful Of Secrets” is gentle enough to allow the morning birdsong to be heard under the music.
This was obviously unrehearsed and is in complete agreement with the mood of this section of the song, an unscripted piece of pure magic! The “Celestial Voices” section from this was also included in the film and is played against the dramatic sunrise giving the listener and viewer a romantic vision of hope after the “Syncopated Pandemonium”. The tape deteriorates slightly during this part to the end becoming a bit more distorted than the rest.
Waters thanks the crowd by saying, “As some of you probably know we were playing in Bath in England yesterday… It was really nice in Bath but here it’s just incredible…good vibes” before a twelve minute version of “Interstellar Overdrive” played as an encore. The tape ends with six minutes of announcements in both English and Dutch, thanking Pink Floyd for two and a half hours of music. Highland have produced what is quite likely the definitive version of the event on commercial boot which would only be surpassed if the entire film were to surface.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)