Santa Monica October 1970 (Sigma 130)
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, California, USA – October 23, 1970
Disc 1 (65:45) Introduction, Astronomy Domine, Green Is The Color, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Fat Old Sun, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Cymbaline
Disc 2 (71:48) A Saucerful Of Secrets, Roger Introduction, Atom Heart Mother (with Orchestra and choir), Interstellar Overdrive
Pink Floyd’s concert in Santa Monica in October 1970 took place at the tail end of the band’s second US tour, there would be a last concert days later in Boston, Ma. The concert was also one of just a handful to feature a brass orchestra and choir to accompany the band for the Atom Heart Mother suite, quite fitting since the album the music came from had just been released at the beginning of October. The concert is blessed with two tape sources, the recorder 1 is the first I heard and fell in love with was from the boot Sing To Me Cymbaline (Gold Standard Coliseum 00-C-039 (A/B), collectors know that there have been other versions on titles as Bovine Psychosis (HypedUp HY 1001-A/B), Santa Monica 1970 (Ayanami-247), and most recently as Creatures Of The Deep (Sigma 039). As the Sigma title showcased, there are two tape sources for this concert, Sigma’s excellent title gave us a bit of recorder 2 on the third disc but sadly it was sourced from vinyl.
Recorder 1 was taped by the legendary Dub Taylor and this new version of the tape can only be described as phenomenal! To compare it to the older releases it does not even sound like the same recording, this is bright and powerful sounding, it sounds as if a layer of rust has been removed and a bright, gleaming surface was found underneath. From doing research on the Yeeskull site it looks like this would be a digital copy made from a legitimate first generation tape of the master. When people talk of upgrades many times it seems to come down to mastering, well folks I am here to tell you that this is significant and moves this concert to being among the best to surface from 1970.
There is still a cut a bit past the 8 minute mark in Careful With That Axe, Eugene but the edit is much better handled, the cut in Atom Heart Mother is at the 22:10 mark and the editing is superb, if you did not know it was there, you would never know. It is not known how much of the song is missing but this version clocks in at over 28 minutes. The other highlight of the tape is Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, making its silver debut and it a typical 1970 mind bending journey and together with the huge sound upgrade really makes this release special. For a full run down of this concert, you must read Plomerus’ review, for me he was the definitive reviewer of Floyd material, his passion and knowledge always make for interesting reading. The second disc is epic in every way, 1970 was a pinnacle in the exploration of the outer reaches of space and time.
The packaging is simple full color inserts featuring live shots with cows imposed over them, the colors have that faded look to them and Sigma has been different fonts on many of the releases, giving a more lively feel versus some of the older releases that utilized black and white shots. The back cover also has a picture of the Santa Monica Civic Center, cool to see the older venues. The CD’s have pictures on them, it’s the new norm for the Japanese titles and there is a sticker as well. Last word? This is a stunning release and a musty have for Floyd Fanatics everywhere.