Munich 1970 New Tape Transfer (Sigma 129)
Circus Krone, Munich, Germany – November 29, 1970
Disc 1 (54:45): Astronomy Domine, Fat Old Sun, Cymbaline, Atom Heart Mother
Disc 2 (56:40): The Embryo, Green Is The Color, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, A Saucerful Of Secrets
Pink Floyd began 1970’s touring schedule with a set full of new material from two movie soundtracks, More and Zabriski Point, as well as their most recent live / studio platter, Ummagumma. These adventurous setlists were short lived and by March the band had focused their attention on a group of song, most featured here as well as a new piece of music that made its debut in some of the year’s earliest gigs. The piece was in its embryonic stages but through constant playing it evolved in the majestic work known as Atom Heart Mother. The song was whipped into shape and would be the basis and title of the next record, released in October to critical acclaim, while considered a great achievement at the time, it is now viewed as a mere stepping stone to Dark Side Of The Moon and beyond. Shortly after the records release, Pink Floyd played a short European tour in late 1970 that began on November 6 in Amsterdam and finished November 29 in Munich, the centerpiece of the tour was the band’s performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival. While most of the concerts were recorded in some form or fashion it was the Montreux recordings that get the most attention, thankfully there have been some great releases to fill in the gaps as this late 1970 tour found the band playing incredibly well with perhaps one of their most cohesive set list, honed to perfection by constant touring throughout the year.
The recording featured here is from the last date on the tour, it has seen a couple previous releases, Zircus Krone (Shout To The Top STTP 210/211) was the earliest version. The concert was hugely upgrade in one of Sigma’s earliest efforts, Zirkus Krone ’70 (Sigma 6). This new release is culled from low generation tape and a fresh transfer, something the label has been doing over the past few years. It is a testament to this labels work that it is hard to improve upon many of their releases, this being one of them. The audience recording is very good to near excellent, full range of sound and balance of instruments. This new tape transfer has just a bit better range of frequencies, the highs are crisp and the bottom end has more depth making for a more warmer listening experience with a bit more of punch. There is also more hiss present that was not as noticeable on the older release, but to remove it would ruin the warmth of the sound. This is what I like about Sigma releases, the mastering is always excellent, they make the necessary adjustments to better the recording, not kill it. So do we have a huge upgrade in sound? No, just a very tasteful upgrade to an already great tape that I very much enjoy.
The tape times between the two titles is minute, just a few seconds shorter on the first and about equally on the second. I particularly enjoyed Cymbaline, it is interesting to gauge the audiences reaction to the footsteps sequence and the band sound very powerful when they return back into the song. There are some strange sound fluctuations during Roger’s introduction to Atom Heart Mother that is not on Sigma 6, this version is a bit shorter than regular, clocking in at a bit over 16 minutes it is not as meandering and a very powerful version. The contrast of the melancholy Green Is The Colour and the sublime intensity of Careful With That Axe, Eugene is superb, Dave’s haunting scat lines over Roger’s almost chanting like “Careful…Careful..” make for a typically great version of the song. Sadly, A Saucerful of Secrets is not complete, the taper runs out of tape after 11 minutes.
The packaging is typical for Sigma, inserts and discs housed in a slim lined jewel case. The label has been interjecting a bit of color into the artwork that is nice and as with many of the Japanese labels there is art work on the CD’s, this release features the live shot of the band found on the back cover and we also get the collectable sticker. A nice release but not a must have in my book.
Yes you are correct, Disc 1 time is 51 minutes 45 seconds. I will be reviewing the Santa Monica show but it will be about a month, I am in the middle of listening to the EV Garden Tapes Zep box as well as seeing a couple shows on Rush’s R40 tour !
thanx for this review, as well as your reviews of Floyd’s “Electric Factory 1970” and Deep Purple’s “Basel 1970”. however, isn’t the total playing time of Disc 1 51:45 instead of 54:45? also, will you be reviewing Floyd’s “Santa Monica October 1970” by Sigma? again, thankx, as always.