Brescia 1971 (Sigma 244)
Palazzo Delle Manifestazoni Artistiche, Brescia, Italy – June 19, 1971
Disc 1 (46:49) Intro, Atom Heart Mother, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Fat Old Sun
Disc 2 (79:50) Embryo, The Return Of The Son Of Nothing, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Cymbaline, A Saucerful Of Secrets
Pink Floyd’s date in Brescia, Italy in the summer of 1971 was fraught with issues. The concert was originally scheduled to take place at the Palazzo del Ghiaccio in Milan but a riot at a recent concert by the band Chicago forced the promoters to cancel the Pink Floyd’s performance, referring to the event as an “unsuitable event”. The early Pink Floyd would play just a few concerts in Italy, a total of five concerts only, three in 1968 and two in 1971 and recordings exist for three of these performances.
There are four known recordings from Pink Floyd’s performance in Brescia in 1971, the first, known as recorder 1 has circulated for some time. The recording is in the good range, distant and clear enough with the instruments and vocals being discernible in the mix, a very listenable recording that was released back in 2012 by Godfather as An Italian Tale (The Godfatherecords G.R. 735/736). In March 2020, a second source surfaced and was released on the Yeeshkul site, there are some notes that give a bit of background on this newly surfaced recording:
“Found new recordings is always a great surprise and a great satisfaction for all that like the Pink Floyd’s music live. Some weeks ago, MrPinky, one of the big (Italian) collector on the world, told me that he had a new recording from Brescia and send me the files that the taper digitalized. The taper is Pasquale Perulli, that was one of the lucky that attended at the show. For who don’t know, this show was many problems for location, first Milano, after Bologna and in the end Brescia.
Pasquale was in the first row, near the barriers, two meters from the stage, only accredited photographers was from him to the band. He put the microphone between the barriers and during the concert he made small adjustments to the tone, to improve the sound and try to prevent distortions, since he had a speaker nearby. In his hands he had a 8mm camera, and he made some video too.
Pasquale made it for personal use only, and for all this years he was out from trader groups. Now, he want share his recording. The raw recording is very nice, but I asked at our friend Renzo (RDWM) to put his touch. A very big thanks to Pasquale Perulli for his recording, and to MrPinky, always magnificent person.
Pasquale’s recording is referred to as recorder 2. It is easily in the very good range, it is very clear and detailed having used a Geloso G570 reel to reel deck with an external microphone. It does have a bit of hiss but has much improved frequency range and is vastly superior to source 1. It is also incomplete, there are a few small gaps in the recording itself and he ran out of tape during Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun eliminating Cymbaline and A Saucerful Of Secrets. The folks at Sigma have taken this new source and used recorder 1 to fill the gaps and provide the most complete version they could. After this release a third tape surfaced, recorder 3, it is much lower quality than the first two but had additional tape the other two did not, specifically a six minute piece of the encore, Blues. A composite of the three recordings has circulated on the Yeeshkul site but has not yet surfaced on CD.
The tape patches are during 2:03-2:19 and 12:21-12:36 of Atom Heart Mother, a gap between Eugene and the first :27 seconds of Fat Old Sun, the first :08 second of The Embryo, 6:59-8:25 of The Return Of The Son Of Nothing and the first 26 seconds of Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun. Recorder 2 ends at the 2:26 mark of Set The Controls and source 1 is used for the above patches and remainder of the concert. Sigma has done an excellent job with the patches, they are seamless and very well handled. I pulled out my copy of the An Italian Tale title to compare the first source. The Godfather title has aged very well, the two tapes sound close in sound, this new Sigma is not as loud and has a bit more hiss but a warmer sound where Godfather has increased the volume and cleaned up some of the hiss. If I chose to listen to recorder 1 on its own, the Godfather is easier on the ears.
Gerard Sparaco did a detailed review for the Godfather title back in 2012 and I still find it relevant. The performance in Brescia was a very well played concert with the band doing some very nice improvisations during Careful With That Axe, Eugene, The Embryo, and Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun. Gerard gives a bit more background on the venue issues and like many of his reviews, still stands as definitive. The only thing that needs adding is the sound quality of this new source is vastly superior to the older source and Sigma’s work combining the two sources to provide the most complete version on CD is excellent.
Sigma’s packaging is inserts featuring pictures from the actual event as well as a scan of the event poster and ticket stub. The CDs have pictures on them and some copies come with a numbered sticker, typical for these titles. While the surfacing of a third source and thus more tape available eliminates the need for the use of the definitive tag, this is overall an excellent title to own. For those who are interested in it, perhaps it is best to wait and see if Sigma is going to release a “definitive” edition of this concert, if they don’t then pick this one up.