The Ultimate Breakfast (Devil’s Breath DB 001)
City Hall, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England – December 22nd, 1970
Disc 1: Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast, The Embryo, Fat Old Sun, Careful With That Axe Eugene
Disc 2: Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, A Saucerful Of Secrets, Atom Heart Mother, Atom Heart Mother (encore)
The Ultimate Breakfast is the premier release on the Devil’s Breath label. It documents the complete tape from Pink Floyd’s December 22nd, 1970 show in Sheffield, the final concert they gave that year before the holiday season. This tape is special not only for containing one of the longest Floyd concerts on tape clocking in at more than two hours, but for having the only live reference for the Atom Heart Mother track “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast”. Selections from this tape first appeared in the vinyl era on Lost In The Corridors(Rockwell & Good RG5003 – Spacial Arrangements 3) which has “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” along with other rare material, and Allen’s Psychedelic Breakfast (Circus Sun APSB-1270-A/B MR) which has “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” and “Careful With That Axe Eugene”.
A Psychedelic Night I(PYCD 038) and A Psychedelic Night II(PYCD 039) are some of the earliest releases of the complete tape on cd, released in 1990. All of the songs are present but “A Saucerful Of Secrets” is placed out of sequence as the encore and contains some cuts during the teatime section of “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast”. It is sourced from a high generation tape and the sound quality is very poor. Pink’s Psychedelic Last Night(HL 176/177) is a very nice release on the Highland label with improved sound quality but with “A Saucerful Of Secrets” still out of order.
“Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” appears on Electric Factory (WC-9/26/70-A/B) on Wild Card and on the four disc set Fat Old Gigs on Columbia (6751-987-CD) and on Rainbow Show on Orange Records (FP 1972), the latter two released in 2002.Alan’s Psychedelic Christmasis one of the several fan-produced, non-commercial cdrs. This is sourced from a low generation copy of the reel-to-reel on an audio-only VHS. The sound quality is generally good, is speed corrected and has the hum removed. The title was produced in a limited edition of ten copies. Sheffield Master Tapes, supposedly from a copy of the master, is basically the same as Alan’s Psychedelic Christmas but sounds, according to one collector, more “crispy … still a little hissy but not touched up at least.”
Another version of the master was released under the title Sheffield 70.12.22. This is a three-disc set that is six minutes longer than the other version with more tunings and audience noises. It also sounds duller than the tape from Alan’s Psychedelic Christmas. Ayanami from Japan used this source for their three cdr set Alan’s Psychedelic Master Tape (Ayanami 277). Most recently a new version of this tape surfaced and was released on cdr as Disgusting, Hardly Music! on Fat Old Sun Records (FOS-CDR-001) which is a remastered version of the first generation copy of the masters shared by Peter Austin, who bought the tapes over twenty years ago and was reasserted by some enthusiastic tape collectors. The Ultimate Breakfast derives from this source and offers gorgeously produced silver pressed edition of this tape made available to Pink Floyd collectors.
This version of the tape is far superior to all previous versions sounding very sharp, distinct and dynamic with only trace amounts of hiss to spoil the sound. It contains virtually the complete show. There is a cut at the end of “Fat Old Sun”. “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” is cut at 9:36 that lasts for a second (which sounds like the taper leaning on the pause button) and the very end of the song is missing. “Set The Controls” is cut at 12:17, which eliminated the final part of the song. “A Saucerful Of Secrets” has a small cut at 18:12 just after the PA loses power and starts again before the power is regained. At 19:50 there is another cut and it starts again after they’ve just regained power and “Celestial Voices” starts again with Wright on the keyboards.
“Atom Heart Mother” has a small cut at 32:10 during the applause at the very end of the song and at 32:38 where it comes back in when Waters announces what the encore will be. According to the liner notes, “This was a very special performance by the band. This is the only known live recording of ‘Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast’ but also hosts an amazing performance by the band which included them making morning tea on stage which is audible. Just like most of their earlier performances, the performance of “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” slightly differs from the album version due to some nice jamming done by the band, especially Gilmour with his delay pedal.”
There are four concrete documents of this song played live: on December 18th at the Town Hall in Birmingham, December 20th in Colston Hall in Bristol, December 21st at Free Trade Hall in Manchester, and the final time on December 22nd in Sheffield. It is a curious decision by the band to begin the show with the piece. On the LP it is just over thirteen minutes long but almost double the length live. Roger Waters stated in the magazine Sounds, “The logistics of doing it live are quite difficult – we can’t obviously take a set of a kitchen around with us and do it all, but we’ll have to have some table arrangement to fry eggs on and boil kettles and everything. Roadies fry eggs and brew tea on stage to DJ Jimmy Young’s trademark ‘Oft we jolly well go'”. This suite is their second attempt, after 1969’s “The Man And The Journey”, to present a musical adaptation of “life as art”. The live version on this release reaches almost a half-hour, significantly longer than the original studio version.
Having this recording is reason enough for this release, but the whole concert is a prime example of Pink Floyd’s psychedelic-space-rock-cult-band. Every song is pushed past their studio counterparts and the band jams in a way that would be abandoned once they become arena rock superstars. The electrical breakdown has been noted in “A Saucerful Of Secrets” and it is great how Wright compensates on the grand piano until the road crew can fix the problem. “Atom Heart Mother” lasts more than a half hour and is a scarce version with full choir and horn section. The encore is the three-minute reiteration of the main theme played by the band only. The Ultimate Breakfast comes packed in a double slimline jewel case with appropriate era photos adorning the artwork and with nicely produced picture discs. This is a strong debut by the label and is an essential title to own.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)