Live At Free Concert (Godfather Records GR 550)
Amsterdam Free Concert, Amsterdamse Bos, Amsterdam, Netherlands – June 26th, 1971
(76:32): Careful With That Axe Eugene, Cymbaline, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, A Saucerful Of Secrets, The Embryo
While Pink Floyd took an enormous step between Atom Heart Mother and Meddle, it was the older material that were the basis of their live show during 1971. In June they played dates around Europe and most of the shows include their newest epic “Return Of The Sons Of Nothing.” On June 26th they played the Free Concert festival in Amsterdam.
Almost a year to the day since their last festival appearance in the Netherlands (the famous Stamping Ground show in Rotterdam), they played a shorter set devoid of any new material. The “newest” song performed is “Cymbaline” recorded in 1969.
Three tapes exist for this show. The first to surface is very good to excellent but is cut between the songs. It was used to source several vinyl releases including Early Tours ’70-’71 (Space Records FET 771 A/B), Barrett’s Revenge (TKRWM 2820-A/D), Amsterdam ’71, Sysyphus (S-1001) with “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” from this show, and Pink Floyd (Angry Taxman Records ATR 003-S1001).
The second tape to surface is also very good and clear which includes all of the tuning and introductions. It was used for At Free Concert 1971 (Ayanami-190) on professional CDR and is also utilized by Godfather for Live At Free Concert. Godfather’s mastering is much superior to Ayanami, sounding louder, clearer and much more enjoyable enjoyable. It is a tremendous mastering job which deserves definitive status.
(A third tape surfaced several years ago in excellent quality. It’s superior to these two but only had “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” and “The Embryo.”)
Pink Floyd headlined this event. The tape begins with the words of the mc welcoming them to the stage saying: “with enormous difficulty but with great joy we bring you the Pink Floyd.” It is a hurried yet extremely intense performance. (After the performance the mc mentioned Floyd having to catch a plane).
Even though they play neither of their two epics “Atom Heart Mother” or “Echoes,” the numbers included are improvised greatly and have interesting performances. “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” is very quiet and mellow until the scream. Waters is loud enough to cause distortion in the sound system as the noise shakes the stage.
“Cymbaline” retains its melodic beauty. The middle tape section entertains the audience, not with footsteps and a slammed door, but with the sound of a woman in orgiastic passion (to the surprise and amusement of the audience).
After a twelve minute version of “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” there is a five minute long delay as they fix the equipment. The set closes with a lengthy version of “The Embryo.” It is a rare instance where this song closes a show. By this time in the song’s performance history Gilmour would play the seabirds from “Echoes” in the middle. Also in this performance Waters duplicates the Scottish rant from “Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving With a Pict” from Ummagumma.
At the end the audience is begging for more as the mc thanks Pink Floyd, the crew, and all the other bands for participating in the event. He also asks the audience to, as they are leaving, to take their trash with them.
Since Godfather began releasing Pink Floyd titles several years ago they’ve released several excellent titles. Live At Free Concert stands above the others for its relevance (there are no other silver pressings of this show available), completeness, and mastering of the tape. It’s much better than anyone should expect and is a title definitely worth having.