Missing Pieces: Japan Tour 1972 (Sigma 34)
Disc 1: (60:00) Tokyo Taiikukan, Tokyo, Japan – March 7, 1972 – Dark Side Of The Moon – Speak To Me, Breathe, On The Run, Time, Breathe (Reprise), The Great Gig In The Sky, Money, Us And Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Disc 2: (56:27) Echoes (Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan – March 8, 1972), A Saucerful Of Secrets (Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan – March 9, 1972), Atom Heart Mother (Nakajima Sports Center, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan – March 13, 1972)
Missing Pieces from Sigma compiles new tape sources from Pink Floyd’s second visit to Japan. Disc one is entirely from the second show of the tour with disc two containing three tracks from various Japanese shows.
The March 7th 1972 show in Tokyo on disc one is Pink Floyd’s second night at Taiikukan and features a new incomplete alternate source. The tape features the entire Dark Side Of The Moon and the encore “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun”, missing “One Of These Days”, “Careful With That Axe Eugene”, and “Echoes”. The older source was previously issued on Live In Tokyo 1972 (Zeus) that had an incomplete “Set The Controls”, cut off after just 5:30. When Missing Pieces was announced “Set The Controls” was advertised as 12 minute complete version and there claim is true.
The source used for Zeus is very good and clear but suffers from overbearing low end distortion in places and runs about 2.5% fast. The new source used on Sigma 34 is slightly distant with emphasis on the low end but fortunately doesn’t distort as bad as the older source and runs at the correct speed. I do find it strange how “One Of These Days”, “Careful”, and “Echoes” are completely missing yet the taper captures a complete encore. My guess would be that these do exist but are being held back for some reason.
The additional material from disc two starts with “Echoes” from March 8th in Osaka and marks the third source from this show to be pressed on silver disc. Highland issued the first source on Fourth Eclipsed Night (wrongly attributed to March 9th) while the second source was pressed on Darkest Moon (Sirene) and followed by Naniwa…Natural Dark in Osaka (Highland). The difference in sound quality between Darkest Moon and Naniwa was only marginal and both were excellent releases, being more enjoyable than the first source. After comparison with Fourth Eclipsed Night (Highland) and Darkest Moon (Sirene) the performance matches perfectly which proves the date and venue are accurate. Roger whispers “This is called Echoes” before the track to great applause. The new source is more distant than the others but overall offers a fuller range of frequencies. While the first source has a rather flat sound, the second source captures more detail but has a very thin one dimensional quality to it. Recently, a bonus CDR was released titled Darkest Moon Master and will more than likely be issued as a pressed version from Sigma in the future, hopefully with upgraded sound. Although the new source is distant, it would be interesting to hear the entire tape someday.
There has been some speculation about the authenticity for the remainder of Missing Pieces and for good reason. “A Saucerful Of Secrets” and “Atom Heart Mother” have never appeared on any sources associated with the dates listed and are subject to skepticism. “A Saucerful Of Secrets” was thought to maybe come from the mislabeled Fourth Eclipsed Night (actually from August 9, 1971 in Osaka but labeled March 9, 1972) but when compared is a very different version. So until more of this new source surfaces or another collector can identify it, this remains a mystery to me. It is, however, a good strong performance of the piece in decent sound quality.
The final track, “Atom Heart Mother”, is listed as being from Sapporo on March 13th but again no source has listed this track before. The source is very distant and muffled, losing much detail. The track starts with a short taped segment of the choir before the band crashes in and is a good performance although the recording doesn’t do it justice. Although I can’t attribute this to any other night, I still think it is rather unlikely from Sapporo but I would love to be proven wrong if and when more surfaces.
When Sigma 34 was first announced, it was exciting to hear that new sources for these shows had surfaced but leaves me asking why more complete sources weren’t issued instead of a compilation of different nights. Is this really all that exists from these new tapes or is this just a sampling of things to come? The March 7th show in Tokyo would make a great release if the remainder of the tracks are found but when all is said and done, disc two is more a curiosity for the completeists and not really essential for Floyd fans. Missing Pieces is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with a distant stage shot for the front cover and a glimpse of the infamous Binson tape echo on the back.