Montreux 1970 Day 1 Recorder 2 & 3 New Transfer (Sigma 235)
Super Pop 70 VII, Casino de Montreux, Montreux, Switzerland – November 21, 1970
Disc 1 (63:23) Announcer / Astronomy Domine, Fat Old Sun, Cymbaline, Green Is The Colour, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Disc 2 (41:56) Atom Heart Mother, The Embryo, Green Is The Colour, Careful With That Axe Eugene
There are three separate recordings for Pink Floyd’s first gig at the Super Pop 70 VII music festival at Montreux Casino in Montreux, Switzerland. What is referred to as Recorder 1 is an excellent sounding incomplete audience recording done by Victor, who also taped the band the next day. This recording can be found on two titles, Victor’s Montreux (Sigma 60) and Too Late For Mind Expanding (No Label). The next tape, Recorder 2 is a soundboard culled from an RTS Radio Broadcast Off Air Recording, this too is incomplete and is of near excellent quality. This recording has been released in parts on Montreux Casino (Hiwatt SCPI-001/2) and Smoking Blues (Funny Boot Records FBR 001/002). The final tape is Recorder 3, another incomplete audience recording, the shortest of the three in circulation and falls into the near excellent range. Recorder 2 and 3 would commonly circulate together, often mixing the sequence and recordings together. Smoking Blues and Swiss Made (Sirene 198) I believe are taken from this reel, I do not own either so cannot confirm.
This new release from Sigma is taken, like so many others, from the excellent Yeeshkul site and is the work of Jimfisheye and Bert13 who have taken the reel referred to as “The Good…The Bad” and done a fresh transfer of the reel as well as speed corrected a few tracks, this gentle mastering has provided the best way to hear these two recordings and is the perfect companion piece to the Victor tape. I like reading the info that comes with these fan created torrents, this is some info culled from it:
‘For a Few Dollars More’
Unknown Gen Scotch Branded 3 3/4 IPS Reel > Tandberg TD20A > Zoom F4 (WAV 24/96)
New tape transfer by Beechwoods, August 2016.
Speed Correction and Azimuth Correction (on Rec. 3 only) by Jimfisheye, February 2017.
Additional revisions by Bert13 – Details below.
Reel supplied by Phil Legault.
This is a new tape transfer from the same reel that was originally released by Buffalofloyd as ‘The Good… The Bad’. Here it is presented in 24/96, a new transfer with speed correction and restoration by Jimfisheye and Bert13.
Recorder 2 is an off-air mono recording of the RTS Radio Broadcast.
Recorder 3 is an audience recording; see below for more details.
Bert: I downmixed recorder 2, the panning on that one is very distracting and almost absent from recorder 3. The ground hum is mostly present on recorder 2 as well, I only had to filter out a short segment during Embryo on recorder 3. Both sound very nice, recorder 3 has some distortion issues. I am unsure whether recorder 3 is in stereo or mono. Both channels contribute but it could have azimuth issues from earlier transfers. Jim already corrected this on three of the four songs. Comparing it to the older transfer at first it’s obvious of course that the speed issues are gone on this one thanks to Jim and I think recorder 3 sounds a bit brighter and clearer than the old one, recorder 2 being about equal.
Phil: The reel belonged to Boris R., from Switzerland. He attended the show (also Montreux 71 and Zurich in 77) but did not record it. He could however remember some of the recording equipment: he mentions in one email that it was a personal AKAI stereo recorder, 2 AKAI mono microphones on 70 centimetres stands, dead-center, about 6 meters from the stage. The stage itself was very low, only about 30 centimetres high. Although I can’t say if it’s Rec 2 or Rec 3, I assume this information pertains to Rec 3. In a later email where I ask for more information, he simply mentions a Revox 4-track was used at one point, probably for the copy.
He does mention that the announcer was recorded from radio and that this reel was given to him by a friend who was a recording engineer for local bands (including his own 9-piece band) back then.
Back in 2005 he sent me a 160K mp3 of a 1975 cassette copy he had made of that reel but that mp3 is long gone by now.
Otherwise, the fact that I have this reel is a complete fluke. I was scouring French rock n roll message boards and this guy was talking about Pink Floyd. I sent him a message asking which concerts he had seen and if he recorded anything, next thing I know he’s sending me that 160K mp3. Pure luck.”
The breakdown of the discs is simple, recorder 2 is on disc 1, the recording begins with a French radio announcer introducing the band members by name, you can hear the very beginning of Astronomy Domine beginning so guessing the introduction was done post concert. There are cuts between songs so banter and tunings are edited out and very little crowd noise is heard, while the sound is excellent it does lack a bit in atmosphere compared to both recorders 1 and 3. Fat Old Sun is long in late 1970, quite pastoral with some typically good jamming by the band, Dave’s guitar is a tad low in the mix, Rick’s organ is thus higher, great to hear his playing while Gilmour plays some typically nice leads.
Cymbaline is quite long, the band seem in no hurry and play a very laid back version of the song, the audience are pleased with the footstep section, as usual. Roger’s introduction to the next two songs goes like this, “We’re gonna do two things together now, one is another song off the soundtrack to the film More which is called Green Is The Colour and second thing is an instrumental off Ummagumma and it’s called Careful With That Axe, Eugene.” The contrast between songs is incredible, the mellowness of Green Is The Colour plays in direct contrast to the murderistic Careful With That Axe, Eugene. The latter is a great version, the recording picks up all of Roger’s voice nuances, very Jekyl and Hyde, sadly the song features the poorest sound of the soundboard recording. An ethereal version of Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun follows, the epitome of Space Rock, one wonders if perhaps Rush used the swirling middle section as inspiration for the 1977 epic Cygnus X-1.
The second CD features recorder 3, a really nice sounding audience source, it has a very nice in your face sound and feel to it. There is just a tad of distortion during the really loud parts typical for audience recordings from this era. There is just a small amount of tape hiss, the audience is quiet during the music but loud in their ovations, the atmosphere between the two recordings is like black and white. Where the soundboard gets rather dull, this audience source has a feeling of vitality and liveliness. The first song is Atom Heart Mother and the band is very much on, very dynamic and heavy, small band version. Nick’s drumming is very nice, hitting all the classic areas with his trademark fills as only he can.
A twelve minute version of The Embryo follows, like AHM, missing from the soundboard tape, is only present on the audience source. The recording picks up all the detail from the long seabird enhanced middle section, very dreamlike thanks to Richard Wright’s soundscape, the exit is a bit Jazzy before Gilmour leads the band back into the main theme proper, once the full band enters it is very powerful. The final two songs on the recording are Green Is The Colour and Careful With That Axe, Eugene. There is a tape cut between songs, Roger’s intro and the first note or two is missing from Green and Eugene is cut at the 9:07 mark missing the last 3:20. That being said, Roger’s scream during Eugene is simply mind blowing and very intense, it literally distorts and takes over the recording like a wave, just incredible and I can only imagine what it must have been like to experience this in person.
A really nice package from Sigma, but it could have been improved upon. There is an incomplete recording of Astronomy Domine that was streamed on the RTS Radio site that is in superb quality. While the recording was captured via streaming and therefore considered a lossy source, would have been a very nice bonus track on the second disc, there was certainly enough time left.
The packaging is typical Sigma featuring both posed and live shots of the band. The inside cover has pictures from the November 1970 concerts, the rear has a great picture of Roger down on one knee captured mid gong smash, Sigma does a nice job with their artwork. Only complaint was that they did not include the picture of the master reel used for this release. The 1970 Montreux shows have found a nice place in late 1970 recordings, with the release a few years back of the Victor recordings, the older alternate sources have fallen by the wayside, nice to see a new release presenting these recordings in best yet quality.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)