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Pink Floyd – Boblingen 1972 Revisited (Sigma 312)

Boblingen 1972 Revisited (Sigma 312)

Sporthalle, Boblingen, West Germany – November 15, 1972 

Disc 1 (50:44) 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 

Disc 2 (67:13) Careful With That Axe Eugene, Echoes, One Of These Days, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun 

One of the earliest Pink Floyd bootlegs I got was called Eclipsed, a double LP set featuring the 1971 BBC show and the 1972 February Rainbow show, it was actually a friend who bought it and was able to dub it on cassette. Dark Side Of The Moon was so raw yet very interesting, especially what was referred to as “The Mortality Sequence”. Fast forward decades to when I began very actively collecting Pink Floyd bootlegs, I found myself starting with the 1973 recordings. Once I starting buying the 1972 recordings and really dug into them I found myself actually preferring the embryonic versions of Dark Side Of The Moon. The band toured very heavily in 1972 and honed their piece into perfection, it’s amazing how many tapes exist from that year and how good quality they are. 

The band started the year with a tour of the U.K. followed by a Japanese and North American tour with the release of the soundtrack Obscured By Clouds coming mid year, as did recording sessions for Dark Side Of The Moon. September brought another tour of the US and a European tour split into two legs capped off the extremely busy year. The first leg of the European tour featured dates in Denmark and West Germany, all but the second show in Copenhagen were recorded and all circulate freely into collectors circles. The band’s stop in Boblingen comes in the middle of the tour at the 6,500 capacity Sporthalle. There are four recordings that exist in varying degrees of sound and completeness, sources 1 and 2 are the best quality and make up the bulk of releases to date. Source 2 has been released in the days of vinyl, Lysergsaureamide – Live In Boblingen 1972 (Bandit Records-Time Beat FL (3/4), Live In Boblingen 1972 (Bandit Records-Time Beat FL (1/2/3/4), and Weird Trips Vol 1 and 2 (TMOQ Japan). The same source was also used in the original compact disc title The Great Gig In Boblingen (GANJA-011/2) and the first disc of Boblingen 1972 Stereo Matrix Edition (Sigma 211), the second disc featuring that excellent Jimfisheye matrix. 

Now Sigma has another release of the Boblingen concert that differs from their first. The label uses the same basic outline as their original Boblingen 1972 Stereo Matrix Edition (Sigma 211) title but this time they feature the sources on their own, no matrixing, and features mastering by Graf Zeppelin. The results are very enjoyable. Since Sigma 211 is the best version for this concert in my collection, I’ll use this as a barometer of sound. First thing you will notice is the mastering on Sigma 211 was done to align it closer to the second set Jimfisheye matrix, the sound has been mastered for a crisp high end and is a bit louder to boot, all this gave the set a bit of tape hiss. This new Revisited title sounds excellent, and natural. The upper frequencies are more natural and well rounded with a warm analog sound and feel. The tape hiss is greatly reduced as well and the transition from Any Colour You Like into Brain Damage is glorious. The mastering on the first disc is excellent and for my taste is preferred over Sigma 211. 

The second set is harder to compare, the Jimfisheye is an absolute work of art and IMO should be considered essential listening, it’s just that good. That being said the mastering work of Graf Zeppelin is no slouch either. Source 1 is an exceptional recording, while this version doesn’t have that dimensional quality, it can easily stand on its own. The upper frequencies are not as crisp and detailed as the matrix version, this version has a more natural sound one associates with an analog tape, the lower frequencies are rich and the sound retains that warm feeling. The clarity and depth of sound is also an improvement to the old Ganga title as well. As with the first set, Sigma incorporates portions of source 2 and 4 to fill in the gaps, and like the first disc, the patch work is seamless and well handled, quality as one expects from the Sigma label. 

The late 1972 European tour featured a very confident Pink Floyd, they have honed the Dark Side Of The Moon to live perfection, and still free to improvise at will, something that they lose a bit in 1973 and beyond. I prefer the On The Run jam and interesting to hear The Great Gig In The Sky being part Mortality Sequence and what would be on the Dark Side LP. Roger’s delivery of the lyrics to Brain Damage and Eclipse are rather poignant, some things never change. The second set is incredible if just for the version of Careful With That Axe, Eugene with the excellent pictish rants. Echoes is relaxed perfection and Set The Controls is sublime, Boblingen is simply a wonderful performance and sits well with the other German recordings from 1972. Thanks must go to the tapers of West Germany, their love of the Floyd (and other bands) and their commitment to quality field recording has given us so much. 

I very much like the packaging of this new title, in homage to their original Boblingen title, they use the picture from the CD’s for the front cover with a live shot overhead. My favorite part of the packaging is the rear and interior tray shots, they are pre concert shots of the Floyd’s equipment and audience, snapshots in time and are superb. Also love that they superimpose a gig poster on the back as well, I am a sucker for that kind of stuff. This is an excellent release, I like the idea of presenting the Boblingen matrix free and the Graf Zeppelin mastering is excellent and spot on. If I have to pull out one version of this concert, this would be the one simply due to the overall sound presentation. Thankfully I don’t have to choose.  

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    Yes – this one I was very much looking forward to when it was first released a few months ago, along with other Floyd titles by Sigma, such as “Definitive Chicago 1972”, “Montreal 1977”, “Wembley 1974 2nd Night Master Tapes”, etc., etc., etc.

    Thanks for the great review.

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