Atom Hearted Montreaux (Tarantura TCDPF-001-1,2)
Altes Casino, Montreux, Switzerland – November 21st, 1970
Disc 1: Astronomy Domine, Fat Old Sun, Atom Heart Mother
Disc 2: Cymbaline, Embryo, Just Another 12 Bar Blues, more blues
Pink Floyd played two shows in Montreux in November 1970. Both concerts were recorded by EMI and selections of the two were released on promotion acetates. Tarantura’s Atom Hearted Montreux comes from one of the acetates made and has seen several earlier releases. Montreaux Casino 1970 on The Swinging Pig (TSP-CD-257-2) was released in 1989 and contains the seven songs on the acetate from the November 21st plus three songs from their Montreux 1971 show.
Smoking Blues (FBR 001/002) on Funny Boot Records is another early release of this material and documents only the complete acetate tape. Montreux Casino on Hiwatt has the seven songs from the acetate too but augments it with fragments from the audience recording plus BBC material to create a confusing (albeit enjoyable) hodgepodge of late 1970 Pink Floyd music and is an upgrade to Smoking Blues. Montreux Casino 1970 (MM-007-008) is a cdr copy of the Hiwatt release.
The sound quality of the Tarantura release, compared to the Hiwatt, is very similar. It is very clear and detailed with trace amounts of hiss in quieter passages. Tarantura usually attempts to reduce that problem on their releases but chose to leave this alone. Cuts are present between numbers eliminating tune-ups and most song introductions.
The set list of both Montreux dates were (in order): “Astronomy Domine”, “Fat Old Sun”, “Cymbaline”, “Atom Heart Mother”, “The Embryo”, “Green Is The Colour”, “Careful With That Axe, Eugene”, “Set The Controls To The Heart Of The Sun”, and “A Saucerful Of Secrets”. The encore for the November 21st show is “Interstellar Overdrive” and the encore for the second is “Just Another 12 Bar Blues”.
The songs that EMI have on the acetates are “Just Another 12 Bar”, “Astronomy Domine”, “more blues”, “Embryo”, Gilmour interview, “Astronomy Domine”, “Fat Old Sun”, “Cymbaline”, “Atom Heart Mother”, “Embryo”, “Green Is The Colour”, “Careful With That Axe Eugene”, “Set The Controls”, “A Saucerful Of Secrets”, and “Interstellar Overdrive” and the songs we have are “Astronomy Domine”, “Fat Old Sun”, “Atom Heart Mother”, “Cymbaline”, “Embryo”, “Just Another 12 Bar”, and “more blues”.
All of this is terribly confusing and detailed, but the result is that Atom Hearted Montreux contains all of the songs from the acetate that are in circulation although there are questions about whether the blues encores belong to this show or not. They could be second encores played after “Interstellar Overdrive” but that is really impossible to tell.
The tape begins with Roger Waters saying “Good morning. This is called ‘Astronomy Domine'” and the band begin. The introduction to “Fat Old Sun” cut in with Roger saying, “Dave’s and is called….” “Cymbaline” is next in the set list but is placed out of order on this release, so “Atom Heart Mother” follows with the explanation that they will play the band version instead of the full orchestra and choir arrangement of the piece. In “Cymbaline” there is an equipment malfunction about 9:57 that causes a very loud buzzing and a chuckle from Gilmour.
The first blues track, which is probably from the following night, is a fast, heavy blues number while the second blues number, lasting eight minutes, is similar to the blues jam they play all throughout their career. The titles is limited to 220 copies. The first hundred come in a gold cover with a gold background on the discs and the second hundred in silver cover with silver cover on the disc. The final twenty are on gold discs. The gatefold sleeve is nicely designed with quotes from the band members about bootlegs (Waters thinks it is a good hobby, Mason hates them and Gilmour find them interesting).
Atom Hearted Montreaux is a good sounding collection of the known acetate documents surrounding the two Montreux shows in sound quality as good as been available. Hopefully someday the complete audience source for the first date will surface on silver release.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)