Pink Floyd – Downfall (Siréne-204)


Downfall (Siréne-204)

Sportpalast, Berlin, Germany – June 5th, 1971

Disc 1 (61:06):  Careful With That Axe Eugene, Fat Old Sun, The Embryo, Echoes

Disc 2 (59:05):  Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Cymbaline, A Saucerful Of Secrets, Astronomy Domine, blues

Pink Floyd’s June 5th show in was the first concert at the Sportpalast that utilized the band’s quadraphonic sound system and light show. This audience recording has been circulating for many years and was first released on the German vinyl Berlin 1971 (PFB-71-A/F) containing the complete show. “Echoes” appears on the vinyl release Lost In The Corridors (Rockwell & Good RG5003 – Spatial Arrangements 3).

Highland released it on Return Of The Sons Of Nothing (HL178/179) many years ago. The sound quality of the tape is very good, but Highland used a high generation copy and they mastered it so that the high end was almost completely eliminated leaving a low-end rumble. The people behind Harvested Records used a low generation copy that is much better sounding and worked hard to eliminate the many mic handling noises present on the source tape on Vierundzwanzig Teile von Nichts (HRV CDR 029).

With so many noises Harvest wasn’t able to remove them all. Siréne use the Harvested for Downfall but it sounds as if they completed that work since there are hardly any of those noises present on this tape at all. The result is a very good to excellent mono audience recording that captures all of the music over the two-hour concert.

There are cuts between tracks which omit the tune-ups and some mc, and there are amounts of hiss present in the upper frequencies more noticeable during quieter parts of the tape like during “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun”.

The concert is right during the Meddle period and the only new song played in “Echoes”. Although an introduction is not present on the tape, it was called “Return Of The Sons Of Nothing”. It received it debut on April 22nd in Norwich, England and was famously performed at the Crystal Palace show three weeks before Berlin.

This would be the ninth overall performance of the piece and is presented in its early form with lyrics different than those on the final recorded version. The show begins with a subtle version of “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” and is followed by a performance of “Fat Old Sun” that reaches almost fifteen minutes.

It is augmented by intricate instrumental passages and is one of the prettiest versions of the piece. There seems to be some disturbance in the audience because the show is stopped after “The Embryo” and an announcer comes out to say, “The Pink Floyd won’t begin until you sit down” before “Echoes”.

“Cymbaline” cuts in nine seconds into the piece and a compact but very effective version of “A Saucerful Of Secrets” closes the event. “Astronomy Domine” and the Pink Floyd mellow jammin’ blues serve as the encores. Appropriate live photos are used on the covers and look really nice. Siréne have released two other titles (Heart Of Darkness and Danish Blues) recently from 1971 and all of them are excellent titles worth having.

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