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Pink Floyd – Gothenburg 1970 (Sigma 156)

Pink Floyd – Gothenburg 1970Gothenburg 1970 (Sigma 156)

Konserthuset, Gothenburg, Sweden – November 11, 1970

Disc 1 (53:45) Astronomy Domine, Fat Old Sun, Cymbaline, Atom Heart Mother

Disc 2 (39:48) The Embryo, Green In The Colour, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, A Saucerful Of Secrets

A few months back a new recording appeared in collectors circles that made a bit of a wave, Pink Floyd’s performance in Gothenburg, Sweden during the much loved late 1970 European tour. It caused excitement for a couple reasons, first off it was a new tape to circulation and that within itself is reason to celebrate. The other reason is there was an old vinyl bootleg, Pictures Of Pink Floyd Vol 1 and 2 (TOPSOUND 70001 / 10022) that was attributed to this date. Since the recoding, like many old vinyl bootlegs, was not properly dated the Pink Floyd ROIO community attributed it to this date due to the structure and sound of the songs. The recording is also known for the long improvisation titled the Libest Spacement Monitor, since there are only a couple of concerts from November 1970 with no know recordings, it is now being labeled as from Starbrucken on Nov. 28. Getting back to this new tape from Gothenburg, with most new tapes that pop out of nowhere, it has a story (this is from the original file torrent):

The story behind the recording:
The story begins in a record store in Gothenburg 1994.
I was familiar with the owner of the record store and he knew that I was an avid collector of Pink Floyd. One day when I came to the store the owner had talked to a customer who told that he had seen Pink Floyd in Gothenburg in 1970 and his friend had recorded the concert on cassette tape. Of course, he asked about the cassette tape was still there! But the customer had no contact with his friend anymore but had shortly after the concert made its own copy to open reel and the open reel he thought maybe was left somewhere in a box that was in the attic of his parents’ summer home. The customer promised to look for it so that I could borrow it. Time passed and after almost a year, I had given up hope, then finally the customer finds the open reel and I could borrow it. It was a tremendous filing to borrow and listen to this recording. At that time I worked in a sound studio which was equipped in professionally equipment. As the open reel is transferred to a provisional way.

Notes from the customer at the record store (1995):
The recording was made by my friend from the 10th row on a so called reporter’s tape recorder (cassette used for interviews ect). I sat on 28th row and experienced my first real concert. Later I transferred the cassette to open reel. My friend only had a C-90 tape with him and noticed that the time went, especially in the very long instrumental tunings between each song. He made a few adjustments in a few places (fade out, fade in). A Saucerful Of Secrets was interrupted when the cassette runs out, unfortunately. Astronomy domain is halfway recorded too high before it is discovered that it is too loud. When it comes to high volume the concert is still unbeatable. The song with the footsteps going / running (Cymbaline or Embryo, I do not remember) was the concert Hall completely black during this time and the steps ran around the speakers around the 360 degrees, already then an odd event that causes laughs heard on the recording.

This new tape falls in the very good category for sound, it is clear save for the beginning of Astronomy Domine, the vocals are a tad lower in the mix and Mason’s drums are even more deep in the recording, what is nice is the keyboards are really well heard in this recording and one can really enjoy the playing of Richard Wright. Due to the limitations of the recording equipment there is also some distortion that can be expected as is just a small amount of tape hiss. Sadly the person who recorded the show only had one tape so the recording is incomplete, and when compared to the torrent titled “Raw Files”, I found no difference in sound.

The tape begins with the keyboards sounding like a beacon that heralds the arrived of Astronomy Domine, as the notes stated the sound overloads the recording equipment but it is not as bad as one would think and is quite listenable. The sound starts clearing mid song and the tape is paused at its conclusion, one should guess that the levels and microphone has been adjusted as Fat Old Sun has really nice and enjoyable sound. The improvisations between Wright and Gilmour is quite powerful and reach a cohesive peak during these November 1970 shows. Cymbaline has a nice long footsteps section and a strange drop out at its conclusion, and as the notes from the “customer” detail, the response to the footsteps and description of the event make it even more enjoyable to hear. Wright plays some incredible swirling sounds just prior to the footsteps section that is really cool and very well captured in this recording. Even though the tape is cut afterwards, we do get some actual tuning and an introduction by Roger where he explains that they are doing Atom Heart Mother without the brass and choir, something that is met with quiet applause. A weird curiosity is at the end of the song there is a tape pause then a minute and half of tuning for what I am guessing is the beginning of the second set.

There second set is the more fragmented of the recording, typical with set lists from this tour The Embryo is the opener and strangely fades after 10 minutes. Versions of The Embryo were averaging a little over 12 minutes during this tour, its curious  that the song has been forgotten by the Floyd save for a couple official releases of the studio version as for me it has been a set highlight. You can here the whole band interact and sounds like they actually really enjoy playing it. You can hear a couple sporadic “pings” during the Seabird section as some of this improvisation would be used the following year for Echoes. After the fade we get Roger’s introduction to Green is the Colour and Eugene but the former is cut 30 seconds into the song then we get one of the best versions of Eugene from the tour. The build up is creepy, the are a couple of tape fluctuations that give it an eerie vibe. David’s quiet scat vocals and some swirling “wind” effects can be heard all while the tension builds to the point of being almost unbearable. The recording has a raw sound and when the violent sequence begins and the recording gets a bit distorted it works to amazing effect and Dave goes off on a killer solo so to speak.

A bit of whistling is heard as a prelude to Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, the only other complete song from the second set. The song is very well captured in this recording, one of Roger’s early epics the song is more a Richard Wright tour de force as his keys ripple like waves of sound through the vastness of space in progressive psychedelia perfection. Sadly, A Saucerful Of Secrets is a scant 5:45 fragment of the middle part of the song. Based upon what is present it sounds like a typically great 1970 version of Syncopated Pandemonium was played yet with Mason’s drums buried it lacks a certain bombastic vibe, the song ends rather abruptly.

The packaging is typical Sigma, I found the front cover with the band superimposed over a cows head in stark black and white really striking and quite nice as are the rest of the live and posed photos. We get picture discs and a bonus numbered sticker as well. Always nice to have a new Floyd recording and from 1970 is the icing on the cake, and Sigma have released a nice version of this tape.

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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