Copenhagen 1967 3rd Night (Sigma 241)
The Star Club, Copenhagen, Denmark – September 13, 1967
(36:55) Reaction In G, Arnold Layne, One In A Million, Matilda Mother, Scream Thy Last Scream, Astronomy Domine
Copenhagen 1967 is the second circulating audience recording of Pink Floyd and one of just three amateur recordings from the Syd Barrett period. Audience recordings from this period for most bands, not just the Floyd, are of average quality for two reasons. First off, concert sound systems were not that advanced and secondly, recording equipment was limited, the fact that there are early recordings at all is something to be applauded. This new release from Sigma explores one of these early audience recordings from the Barrett days, a recording that has been in circulation for some time and is really getting an upgrade thanks to the Yeeshkul group, whose goal to preserve the live history of Pink Floyd provides source material for many of the bootleg titles on the market.
First off lets get some history on the recording itself. It was made by a local musician Casrsten V who recorded on an unknown recording device. His master tape was copied by a fellow Michael K on reel to reel. Martin Balsam made a cassette copy of this reel and came into circulation by the famous Pink Floyd collector Rolf Ossenburg, the Martin B tape would thus be a third generation from the master and considered the best that circulates. Like many recordings, there are several versions of the tape and the Master audio technician Jimfisheye was provided the Martin B tape and another that is only referred to as Low Gen for use on this project. Both recordings had slightly different sound characteristics, so both were used, one in one channel, one in the other. While both recordings are mono it gives an almost stereo effect to the sound, add some mastering into the project and JFE was able to get, in most opinion, the best sounding version of this tape in circulation.
There have been other releases of this show on bootleg, Star Club Psycho (Black Panther BPCD 032), Stone Rust (Oil Well RSC 107), and the copy I have had in my collection for years, Stoned Alone (Night Tripper AST-552). These old silver titles are all quite old by now, for years one of the most popular versions of this recording circulated in fan sites as What Syd Wants (Harvested HRV CDR 032). Just for old times sake I’ll compare this new Sigma to Stoned Alone. Wow, no comparison, this new title is stunning. The sound is much cleaner, less muddled and has wonderful instrument separation, a major upgrade, so much that you don’t need to try hard to discern what is going on. As most know Syd’s vocals are extremely low in the mix, no fault of the recording, more to the fact that the onstage vocal PA was not loud enough to compete with the instrumental power of Pink Floyd. There is the occasion sound fluctuation and just a very small amount of tape hiss as one would expect. Having never ventured passed Stoned Alone I am blown away by the sound on this title and can now not only enjoy this recording, but can also listen and take in this historic performance.
The recording begins with Reaction In G, guitar, bass, and drums are all audible, it is difficult to pick out Richard Wright until the three minute area you can begin to pick up his organ. The playing is quite furious, Syd is playing very well and delivers some really great lead type runs, these are being accentuated by Roger’s wonderful bass lines. Syd’s vocals can be heard rather nicely during Arnold Layne, so much that I did not have an issue making out the lyrics, Richard Wright plays a nice yet short organ lead on the song as well.
One In A Million features vocals by Roger, the count in to the song is clear and the song is quite heavy and pondering. He would later use a variation of this for the song Corpral Clegg on the A Saucerful Of Secrets album. Matilda Mother features Richard Wright’s organ very clear in the mix and leads the band, Syd and Roger seem to pick up the pace pushing the song and making for some really nice improvisation. Scream Thy Last Scream was one of the aborted Syd songs that was played at all three known live Syd recordings, very heavy sounding with the band hammering the audience’s ears, the then unknown song gets mild applause. The last song of the set is Astronomy Domine, it is what I would call a standard version capping off a very good performance that shows how good the Syd Barrett Pink Floyd were as a live act.
The packaging is typical Sigma, live and posed shots of the band that are coloured to give a psychedelic light show effect. First off this is a very short disc, Sigma have elected not to include any filler, after listening to the 36 minutes of music in this quality, what could they have put on here to follow this? All marks go to Jimfisheye for his incredible work on this project. Let’s hope Sigma decides to delve into the Floyd recordings from the late 60’s more as the 67-69 years have largely been ignored by the label. Until then, for the Pink Floyd collector this is an essential title to own.