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Pink Floyd – Heart Of Darkness (Siréne – 190)


Heart Of Darkness (Siréne –190)  

Golden Hall, San Diego, CA – October 17th, 1971

Disc 1: Careful With That Axe Eugene, Fat Old Sun, Atom Heart Mother, The Embryo

Disc 2: Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Cymbaline, Blues

Heart Of Darkness is an excellent clear audience recording from Golden Hall in San Diego. Sounding very close to the stage, the recording allows for plenty of detail to be heard which really helps tracks like “Set The Controls” and the quiet beginning of “Cymbaline”.

Roger’s whispers in “Careful With That Axe” are easily heard as well. “Atom Heart Mother” is the stripped down version without brass and choir which seems to be preferred by most fans because of the raw feel and is another great performance of this piece.There are cuts between tracks omitting mostly tune ups, etc., but all music is there with only the opening drum fill of “The Embryo” cut off.

Povey and Russell’s Pink Floyd: In The Flesh book has “Echoes” and “A Saucerful Of Secrets” placed after “Cymbaline” but so far have not been featured on any release of this show. The taper does gets all of “Cymbaline” which cuts to a complete “Blues” including Roger’s final goodnights so perhaps somebody is holding out on these tracks. It will certainly be nice to hear these someday especially if they exist in this quality.

This show has been available on a number of older boots including Embryo San Diego 1971 on Golden Stars, and the Live Storm clone of the same name. From Oblivion on the Never End label had upgraded sound which included some BBC material for filler but more recently on Highland’s Wind And Seabirds and also on CDR from Blue Café as The Night Turns Around Gold. All contain the same tracks. 

The San Diego show is an awesome performance from Pink Floyd’s only North American tour from 1971 which was the end of an era for the band. Songs like “Fat Old Sun”, “The Embryo” and “Cymbaline” would no longer be played, making room in the set for the brand new Dark Side Of The Moon material. There is some excellent jamming and powerful Gilmour work in “Fat Old Sun” and particularly in “Blues” that are highlights of tonight’s performance and this show, in one form or another, belongs in everyone’s Floyd collection.

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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  1. the footsteps sequence in cymbaline is fantastic also!!!

  2. Oh, It’s a very Nice.

  3. I just got it and I’m waiting ’till the 17th to listen to it.
    Then I’ll tell you about it…maybe.

  4. the sound quality is much better than wind and seabirds. heart of darkness is much fuller sounding. the definitive release so far.

  5. This is the first time I’ve heard this show and I’m stunned at how good the sound quality is, especially for a 1971 show. Pink Floyd are not as adventurous in San Diego as they would be in Cincinnati and Cleveland later in the tour, but the show is highly enjoyable.

  6. I can confirm DLee’s response to lug_nutz6, with HOD being noticeably better the WAS. Same source (listen for the sneezes before ‘Cymbaline’!)but HOD is a lower generation, with less hiss yet clearer vocals and instruments, ie it is not noise-reduction that has reduced the hiss. WAS distorts slightly in places but, for all that, is still a pleasant listen.

  7. Thanks DLee for the info. I guess I have another Sirene to locate.

  8. The Highland version was pretty good, but certainly noticeably inferior to the better releases such as “From Oblivion”, etc.; and “Heart of Darkness” sounds noticeably cleaner than “Wind & Seabirds”, as do the better ones of the others also too.

  9. What are people’s opinion of this title versus the Highland equivalent, (Wind & Seabirds)? Is the Sirene version worth upgrading to? Does it sound that much better? Any insight is always appreciated.

  10. This particular version of “Careful…..Eugene” is one of my all-time favorites, as is the “Atom Heart Mother” from this show as well. What seems to be rather unusual for “Careful” this night is that Roger doesn’t start his screaming until approx. 2-3 minutes after he whispers the ‘Careful…with that axe, Eugene’ line. Thanks to WGPSEC for the great review.

  11. I needed to upgrade my copy of Embryo San Diego 1971 on Live Storm and this was a perfect choice. Excellent performance and love how it starts off with Careful With That Axe.. I have GS to blame for my growing Pink Floyd collection. Thanks to his suggestions I’ve picked up some great stuff.

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