Sporthalle, Boblingen, West Germany – November 15, 1972
Disc 1 (50:59) 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 (65:52) Careful With That Axe Eugene, Echoes, One Of These Days, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Like many, I have been waiting for Sigma to release Pink Floyd’s concert in Boblingen, West Germany for some time, yet at the same time I understand why they did not. First off there are four sources for this concert, all in varying degrees of sound quality and completeness. To get the complete concert one would have to use an amalgamation of the sources, like Ganja did on their title The Great Gig In Boblingen (Ganja-011/2) only problem is they filled in the gaps with the Rainbow February 20, 1972. For this new title, Sigma uses a fan made matrix of the Boblingen second set as a foundation. The matrix is again the work of Jimfisheye and he chose to use source one and two, the first source being the most incomplete version at three songs but with excellent sound quality and when uploaded to Yeeshkul, the response was overwhelming in its popularity and appreciation for his diligent work and spectacular results. With good bones so to speak, Sigma decided to round the concert out by doing a matrix of their own with the first set by using the second and third sources and source two for the encore to make the concert complete. The results are excellent and for the first time we get the most complete and best sounding version of this concert.
This new release is not the first go around for the Boblingen concert, there have been releases on 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). On CD there is a scant one, The Great Gig In Boblingen (GANJA-011/2) and for this review I am using my trusty copy of the GANJA title. Save for its slight uses of the Rainbow concert, the old GANJA title was a really good boot, the sound on this first set on the Sigma label is very similar to the older title, the label used the GANJA source and recorder 3, to my ears it sounds like very little, if any, of the latter was used, while in the very good range it was a bit hissier and don’t really hear it in there. I was expecting to hear a bit more of Mason’s drums during the beginning of Time, as on the GANJA source you can hear the drums being panned around the hall. The small cut at the beginning of Brain Damage has not been patched either and while brief, sounds like a hiccup. Let’s recap the Dark Side performance, superb playing by all four in the band. The songs are tight and focused and the jam sections of On The Run and Any Colour You Like are excellent free flowing jamming and while the rhythm of these versions do not vary from other concerts during this time, the band’s playing is just really on, much due to the musical interplay between Gilmour and Wright.
The second disc is certainly the highlight of this set, the work done by Jimfisheye is spectacular, really well done. Again let’s read his remaster notes:
“The goal here was to present the amazing Boblingen recorder 1 in its full potential. This quad master features the 3 songs captured in amazing fidelity by recorder 1 from close to the stage. A second recorder further back in the room allows for a quadraphonic surround mastering of these 3 songs.
The keyboards and some of Roger’s bass are really brought into balance with R2. I can’t really speculate if they had some of the keys firing out of the quad system in the room or if it’s just how the sounds traveled in the room and into the recording devices. I don’t hear any discreet panning from the quad system. Probably partly due to centralized locations (and thus far away from the surround speakers) with the recorders. Both recorders 1 & 2 are stereo though and there is plenty of stereo imaged sound to hear in addition to the depth added from the further back recorder.
I used the dolby off transfer of recorder 1. The dolby copy is appealing to me with the high end eq boosts from the dolby expander hardware. The recording is lacking high end content due to attenuation at every step of the chain as any audience recording made with a tape device and further copied does. The dolby eq boost brings some of that in focus. It also does many unwanted things of course! But now the choice we have is either turn down the high end on the tape with a hardware dolby decoder circuit on autopilot and then try to turn the result of that back up, or work with the tape with the dolby boost as is from this point on. The artifacts have already been introduced by the original dolby recording. Now it’s a choice of how we decode them. There’s less generational loss working from the recording as is.
I didn’t hear an obvious reason to use the original copy of R2. There was some original speed correction work done in that which would have been the most potentially damaging thing anyway. So REV AK. I only used the R2 content (It was patched with an older copy of R1 for continuity.) I used a couple snippets of R4 in the between song audience segues just because it was there. It would not have been possible to build a complete continuous segue from one song to the next because every recorder switched off at some point between every song. There is a long chunk of tuning between Eugene and Echoes that can be constructed between R2 & R4 but there are still breaks both directly after Eugene and before the Echoes announcement.”
First off the Recorder 1 is incomplete and features only three songs, Eugene, Echoes, and One Of These Days but the sound is excellent, the matrix with source 2 brings out a depth of sound that sounds natural, only drawback is the very small amount of hiss that is heard in quiet sections. After the brilliant Dark Side set, relax. Get a glass of wine and if you choose indulge in something to smoke and preferably turn the lights down, better yet, off and light some candles….now you’re ready. Pop in the second disc and just sit back. Careful With That Axe, Eugene is in a word, expansive. You hear the little nuances of the performance, quiet whispers of psychosis, the masterful drumming of Nick Mason is perfect, not keeping time but is, his timing is perfect. The Roger pict rants are clear and sound like the ramblings of a madman. It sounds like Roger plunks out a snippet of the Monkee’s I’m A Believer during the tune ups, he does intro Echoes as “Looking Through the Knotholes in Granny’s Wooden Leg”, the audience is very quiet and respectful, only when Richard plays the keyboards after the pings do they applaud. 13 minutes in during the funky jam before the seabird section Wright plays these sound scapes, like a moving gargantuan moaning out over vastness, Space rock at its peak! Dig the 72 versions of Echoes, so confident so relaxed.
At the begining of One Of These Days I had my eyes closed listening and had to go back and play it again, I was centered between my speakers and it’s like you can hear the sound between the speakers, the matrix echo I guess. The throbbing echo laden bass pulsates with Gilmour’s slide guitar weaving throughout. The soundscape just prior to Mason’s vocal bounces around nicely, the tension building all the while. A source change for Roger’s “Thank you goodnight” is a bit jarring. The encore is Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, while not a matrix, it is a two source mix, the source used for the first minute or so is more distant with lower levels then quickly changes back to the GANJA source. The sound for the encore gives you an even better appreciation of the previous three song matrix and one wishes that the excellent Recorder 1 captured the song as well. Typical great version of Set The Controls, and when one ponders such things, you can take the entire second set as some fantastic voyage of sound with the encore taking us to our final destination.
The packaging is what we expect. This time the inserts are black and white pictures with black background and white letters, visually striking. The pictures on the CD’s is the same one recently used for the labels BBC release, and let’s not forget the numbered sticker. Only thing Sigma could have done better would have been to better smooth over the cut in Brain Damage, but that can be on their Definitive release. It took a while to get this concert but this is a really nice version of a superb concert and certainly recommended.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)