In Germany 1970-1971 (Sigma 71)
Disc 1 (51:08): Niedersachsenhalle, Hannover, Germany – November 27th, 1970: Intro, Astronomy Domine, Fat Old Sun. Ernst-Merck-Halle, Hamburg, Germany – November 14th, 1970: Green Is The Colour, Careful With That Axe Eugene, MC, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Disc 2 (40:54): Halle Munsterland, Münster, Germany – February 24th, 1971: Embryo, Green Is The Colour, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Fat Old Sun, Cymbaline
In Germany 1970-1971 is a birthday present. A German collector gave a friend of his a cassette in 1978 with excerpt of Pink Floyd live in Germany in late 1970 and early 1971. The 90 minute recording had twenty-one minutes from the November 14th, 1970 show in Hannover, thirty minutes from the November 14th show in Hamburg, and forty-one minutes from the Münster concert on February 24th, 1971.
Nothing is in circulation for the Hannover and Münster shows, and the Hamburg fragment is a different tape source than has been pressed on Corrosion (Siréne- 235).
The tape is interesting not only because of the glimpses it gives into two previously undocumented shows, but the stellar sound quality. All presumably from the same taper, they are in startling stereo and capture the music and atmosphere nicely.
On the first disc are two tracks from the Hannover show on November 27th, 1970. It sounds like these are the first two numbers of the night. “Astronomy Domine” sounds typical for the era. Richard Wright has a keyboard showcase in the song’s improvisational middle, playing a slow and contemplative tune before the others come in.
Afterwards, Roger Waters introduces the next song as one from the new album, calling it “David’s song” before they start “Fat Old Sun.” Atom Heart Mother was released only a month before. The title track had been in the set since the beginning of the year, but “Fat Old Sun” was added about this time. It’s a bit quicker and more melodic than it would evolve into during the next couple of years. Unfortunately the track isn’t complete, cutting out after 11:44.
The Hamburg fragment is three songs totaling thirty minutes in much better sound quality than the longer tape used on Corrosion. The four tracks are from the latter half of the show. WGPSEC in his review states that “‘Green Is The Colour’ is an interesting version with Nick Mason experimenting with some different drum feels but Gilmour seems distracted and mumbles through parts of the verses.”
Mason’s drum fills are all over the place, and Gilmour not only mumbles but also burps his way through the song. It’s very strange. It has to be heard to be believed. The segue into “Careful With That Axe,Eugene” is seamless. Waters has fun vocalizing the protagonist’s insanity, even threatening the “Pictish rant” from earlier in the show (not audible on this tape, but can be heard on the Siréne release). Mason continues trying different drum fills by pounding out an energetic beat under Gilmour’s abrasive guitar in the song’s final moments.
Before “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” Waters assumes the role of town herald and says: “My lords, ladies and gentlemen. On my left in the all red kit, The Massed Gadgets of Auximenes. In the right corner, in the all black kit, the Knights Of The Teutonic Order.”
The piece lasts for over fifteen minutes. There is a bit of tape flutter eight minutes in, the only real imperfection on the Hamburg recording. The performance is fascinating for Wright’s very tense keyboards in the middle improvisation. The tension is broken with his loud descending scales and Waters’ aggressive bass playing.
The second disc contains a generous fragment from the February 24th, 1971 show in Münster. It was early on their live schedule and Pink Floyd were still touring in support of Atom Heart Mother. The band juggled the setlist quite a bit that month so it’s hard to judge with accuracy exactly which part of the show we now have, but it seems the tape picks up with the second song of the night after they opened with “Atom Heart Mother.”
It begins with a nice 1971 version of “The Embryo.” The middle section still has Gilmour’s seabirds, but the babies finally have arrived and can be heard giggling under the music. It is followed by a straight forward rendition of “Green Is The Colour,” sounding extremely pastoral and relaxing, which segues right into “Careful With That Axe, Eugene.”
Gorgeous versions of “Fat Old Sun” and “Cymbaline” close out the all-too-short fragment. Since this cassette is a compilation tape, do the entire concerts exist elsewhere? Will they someday be released? The sound quality of these shows are all very impressive for the time period and would rank among the best sounding live tapes of the Atom Heart Mother era. In Germany 1970-1971 is recommended, even though the shows are not complete, because of the sound quality, great performances, and the tantalizing glimpse into what could surface sometime in the future.
I found it quite hard to fully enjoy this release, not only because most of the songs are incomplete but also because there seems to be that dreaded metallic sound present particularly in the quieter sections. Maybe not Sigma’s fault but that of the person who posted it on the internet.
I think it was gsparaco’s use of the word “stellar” to describe the sound quality of this release that persuaded me to pick up a copy of IN GERMANY 1970-1971. I’ve been waiting some time for a really great sounding title to appear from Sigma, and here it is. Make no mistake, this is truly a joy to listen to.
For me, this title ranks alongside some of the best sounding audience documents from Floyd’s US tour of 1970. The occasional tape flutter and extremely minimal audience chatter between songs does nothing to detract from the performance. At first, you may suspect that the first two songs on Disc 1 from Hannover do sound noticibly louder than the following tracks on Disc 1 from Hamburg, but when Dave’s guitar kicks-in during Green Is The Colour you appreciate that the levels are pretty evenly matched.
Oh, and gsparaco was spot on with his observation regarding Nick and Dave… they do enjoy some bizarre, almost ska-like skank during Green Is The Colour. Dave’s whoooo-ing takes-off like a crazed cartoon rocket, it’s fantastic.