Acute Danger (Sigma 9)
Emerson Gym, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH – November 6th, 1971
Disc 1: The Embryo, Fat Old Sun, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Atom Heart Mother
Disc 2: One Of These Days, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Cymbaline, Echoes, blues
When this tape first surfaced several years ago, the owner claimed it to be a radio broadcast from 1967. Further investigation revealed the correct venue and date, and it was quickly released on Cleveland 1971(Ayanami-174) on CDR. There have been several fan produced titles with this, but Acute Danger is the first silver release of this magnificent tape. The sound quality is very good to being almost excellent. The music is loud and well balanced and Sigma used very light mastering to make this sound as good as possible. What does mar the tape is upper end distortion during louder portions of the show, and the audience member’s conversations scattered throughout the show. Some of the comments, like that girl at the beginning of “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” saying, “Mrs. Lennon!” are a bit funny, but most of the time one wished they would just shut up. There are cuts between each of the tracks but most of the tunings and song introductions are intact.
This show in Cleveland occurs exactly a week after the release of Meddle. Many people, including Gilmour and Mason, consider this to be the first truly great Pink Floyd recording. Although only two new songs from the album are in the set list, the entire show reveals tremendous confidence in their abilities and every song contains previously unheard jamming in improvisations. The tape begins with Roger Waters saying, “…we’re ready. This is called ‘The Embryo.'” This song was in the set list for almost two years up to this point, and this is destined to be one of the final live version before it was taken out of the set list. “Fat Old Sun” is close to fifteen minutes in length and includes a lengthy jam session in the middle which reminds some collectors of The Beatles’ Abbey Road. Before “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” Gilmour says, “They’ve ask me to tell you to not to smoke because apparently some people are not feeling too well for reasons I don’t understand.” The middle instrumental interlude is very loose in this performance.
The final song of the first set is an eighteen minute, band only version of “Atom Heart Mother.” Like “The Embryo,” which came into the set at the same time, this is destined to be one of the final live performances of their first side long epic suite (the final with the four band members was in Amsterdam the following spring). The second half begins with the first new song of the evening “One Of These Days.” At about four minutes forty five seconds they veer off into a strange improvisation and the song almost comes to a halt. “Cymbaline” is also quite long and the audience really enjoys the middle section. One of the tapers exclaims, “what a mind fuck!”
“Echoes” is the second and final new song played and it closes the set. At twenty-eight minutes it is a bit longer than the studio version, and the band hit a massive groove about fifteen minutes into it followed by a super creepy and bleak “seabird” section and ends with impassioned singing by Gilmour and Wright. The encore is an eight minute version of the “Pink Floyd Blues,” the same improve they pull out whenever they want to jam. Many times this turns into a lame replication of the blues, but Wright plays some interesting organ melodies the the middle and after the two hour long psychedelic explorations, perhaps a blast of the blues gave the audience members something catchy to remember. Acute Dangeris packaged in a double slimline jewel case and is limited in quantity. Along with the Cincinnati and Washington D.C. tapes, this is one of the best recordings from the tour with a tremendous live atmosphere and an amazing performance. (GS)