Lund Master (Sigma 41)
Akademiska Foreningens Stora Sal, Lund, Sweden – March 20th, 1970
Disc 1 (46:28): Astronomy Domine, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Cymbaline, A Saucerful Of Secrets
Disc 2 (56:08): The Embryo, Interstellar Overdrive, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Atom Heart Mother
Lund Master is the latest incarnation of one of the more interesting Pink Floyd tapes in circulation. A high generation copy of this tape was used for the earliest release Atom Heart Moo Live (WPOCM 0390 F 048-2). It was listed incorrectly, claiming to be the March 8th show in Birmingham. But also the label completely ruined the tape with the NoNoise procedure and produced one of the worst Pink Floyd bootlegs to ever be released.
Better sounding versions were issued including Interstellar Highlights (Orange Records FP-70-A/B) released in 2002, In The Lund Of Grey and Pink (Ayanami 132) on CDR and Lund Sweden 1970 (Flux And Reflux Music FARM 20507). Sigma use the master cassette which surfaced several years ago. The sound quality is not only an improvement over all previous releases, but can be considered to be one the best sounding tapes from their short European tour that spring. It is very clear before a quiet audience and is very enjoyable.
When they toured England earlier in the year, Pink Floyd incorporated more numbers into their live repertoire including songs from their soundtrack More, songs from their own avant-grarde theater piece The Man And The Journeyand even a couple attempts at “Sysyphus” from Ummagumma. But when they began their tour of continental Europe on March 11th in Offenbach, Germany, the set took on a standard form with numbers from their released albums, the unreleased song “The Embryo,” and their epic “Atom Heart Mother.” The show in Lund, Sweden was the penultimate gig with the final show being at Tivolis Koncertsal in Copenhagen.
The show begins with Syd Barrett’s signature tune “Astronomy Domine,” a song that is so firmly rooted in their early days that it sounds archaic in the new decade. It sounds close to the studio version as the band give a perfunctory performance, and it turns out to be the shortest song of the night at nine minutes. “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” is introduced by Waters as a “track off our last album Ummagumma.” The band sound much more interested in this song. It’s fascinating to hear the instrumental taking its time to build. The vocals, articulating the song’s title, is delivered in an evil monotone. The latter half of the song hits a rare intensity in a tribal sounding beat under the guitar, only to be answered by the tranquil keyboard melody. It’s a very dramatic performance.
The first set ends with “A Saucerful Of Secrets” which has a tense keyboard solo before Gilmour breaks the tension right before the “Syncopated Pandemonium” section. Mason favors a strict military beat during “Storm Signal” before “Celestial Voices” ends the piece.
Disc two contains the second set. It cuts in with “The Embryo” and this performance is interesting for the extreme dynamism between the instrumental breaks and the vocals. It sounds as if Waters and Wright join Gilmour on vocals, singing in unison. There is no giggling children tape played in the middle, but rather it is dominated by the whale-song effect before Wright brings them into the final verse. “Interstellar Overdrive” begins with an interesting and unique keyboard melody. In the long improvisation Gilmour’s playing sounds very abstract, sounding very sixties, but at about the eleven minute mark becomes very melodic and having a catchy melody.
Wright dominates the middle improvisation during “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun,” producing tense moments punctuated by Waters playing the melody on the bass guitar. The show ends with their latest epic “Atom Heart Mother” which at this point was still called “The Amazing Pudding” (it wouldn’t receive its final title until July). At nineteen minutes, it is close to its final form but is obviously performed without a brass and choir section.
Gilmour plays an angular guitar solo during the “Funky Dung” blues section in the middle before he essentially duets with Wright, who plays more fascinating melodies. Hearing the two interact during the entire show is a wonderful experience. Fortunately, because the taper paused the tape between songs, the whole epic is captured on tape.
Lund Master is one of the best shows from this era, demonstrated not only by the number of releases throughout the years, but by the care taken to work with the original master to produce a definitive edition. As usual Sigma produce very attractive artwork with good live shots on the inserts. This is definitely an improvement over past releases and is worth having.