Pink Floyd’s inaugural visit to Japan in 1971 found the band playing two festival dates and one in a small concert hall and was certainly a very successful visit and the seeds were planted for a larger scale visit the following year. The resulting tour commenced in March 1972 and consisted of six dates, two each in Tokyo and Osaka, one in Kyoto and Sapporo. Thankfully the enterprising tapers in Japan were on hand and all six concerts were captured on tape, these tapes are the focus for the fourth Pink Floyd Box set from the folks at Godfathers. The best sources are used and alternate recordings are used to fill gaps or to be used as bonus material, one only has to look at the disc times to know that one is getting a value for one’s money.
The packaging is simple yet elegant, each concert is housed in an individual tri gatefold sleeve and the typical box is used to house them all. There are goodies as well, a ticket reproduction of the first gig in Tokyo, the mini tour program reproduction and tour poster with liner notes written on the flip side is also included. While the liner notes are not as expansive as one would like, they are informative and accurate. The box itself is a work of art, the white background is striking against the colorful graphics taken and expanded from the tour poster, the shiny foil effect used for the lettering in a very nice touch. There are detailed reviews for each of the six concerts on the Collectors Music Reviews web site, please follow the links for the in depth analysis of each concert, this review will primarily focus on the sound quality of each concert.
Taiikukan, Tokyo, Japan, March 6, 1972
Disc 1 (79:52) Speak To Me, Breathe (In The Air), The Travel Section, Time, Breathe, The Mortality Sequence, Money, Us And Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse, Stage Announcements. Bonus Tracks: Japanese FM Pirate Radio Broadcast: Speak To Me, Breathe (In The Air), The Travel Section, Time, Breathe, The Mortality Sequence, Money, Us And Them, DJ Comments
Disc 2 (71:16) One Of These Days, Tune Up, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Tune Up, Echoes, Stage Announcement / Intermission, A Saucerful Of Secrets
The first night of the Japanese tour and the first of two nights in Tokyo, there are two recordings that circulate, a partial FM source featuring a large portion of the Dark Side suite and a complete audience recording. There have been previous versions of the audience source such as Waters Gate (TNT-940147/148) and Live In Tokyo 1972 (Amsterdam AMS-9616-2-1/2), back in 2009 Sigma came out with the most complete version with upgraded sound and featured both tape sources in a three disc set called Acid Moon (Sigma 45). Three years later the same label would release the audience source in better sound and this time complete as Eclipse Of The Sun (Sigma 84), featuring all between song chatter and tune ups and stage announcements.
For the first set of this new box Godfathers utilizes both tape sources to provide collectors with the most complete version of the show. The first disc consists of the audience source for the Dark Side suite and with the stage announcements clocks in at 49:40. The sound is very good and when compared to Eclipse Of The Sun (Sigma 84) it does sound slightly lower in volume but has a warmer and natural sound and the bottom end is not as pronounced as the Sigma. The warmer sound makes for a much more enjoyable listening experience as it does not sound as harsh, since the source is already very good it becomes a choice of preference. The stage announcements from Goro Itio are after the Dark Side suite on this release as on Sigma 84 they are at the beginning of the second disc.
The rest of disc 1 is the FM source, the quality of the recording is excellent, much more dynamitic than the audience source, it has been released before as Dark Music (Sirene 118) and on disc three of Acid Moon (Sigma 45). The recording is not complete as it runs out 1:20 into Us And Them, Sirene chose to release the recording on its own on Dark Music while Sigma 45 completes the recording with the audience source, Godfather chooses to present the recording on its own. Again I used Acid Moon to compare sound, Sigma is a tad louder and Godfather has a warmer sound and its upper frequencies are not as harsh, the differences are minimal though.
As Gerard pointed out in his assessment of Eclipse Of The Sun that the second half of the show is much more dynamic of a performance. The sound quality when compared to Sigma 84 goes hand in hand with the previous disc, slightly lower volumes with warmer sound and a bit more clear to my ears. The crowd is more enthusiastic since they are familiar with most of this music, the tune ups do get tedious as they are a couple minutes long, the ever patient Japanese calmly wait for the musicians, their reward are great versions of Careful With that Axe Eugene and Echoes. All In All a decent first night in Japan.
Taiikukan, Tokyo, Japan, March 7, 1972
Disc 1 (77:55) Speak To Me, Breathe (In The Air), The Travel Section, Time, Breathe, The Mortality Sequence, Money, Us And Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse, Stage Announcements. Bonus Tracks: One Of These Days (alternate source), Tune Up (alternate source), Careful With That Axe Eugene (alternate source)
Disc 2 (79:51) One Of These Days, Tune Up, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Tune Up, Echoes, Stage Announcements / Intermission, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun. Bonus track: Set The Controls for The Heart Of The Sun (alternate source)
The second night in Tokyo finds The Floyd much more relaxed and turns in a much tighter performance than the previous evening, this is most evident on the Dark Side material that takes up the first set of the evening. There are three sources for this concert in varying degrees of sound quality, the first source is a very good to excellent recording that made up the Live In Tokyo 1972 (Zeus Z 907001/2) release, it features the majority of the concert but Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun was incomplete. A second source appeared on Missing Pieces : Japan Tour 1972 (Sigma 34), it was a notch down from the Zeus source but did not suffer from the low end distortion of the first source. This second source was also incomplete and was mainly the Dark Side suite plus a complete version of Set The Controls, the remainder of the show, believed to exist, does not circulate.
The bulk of this show comes from the first and best sounding first source and is most certainly from a better generation of tape than the Zeus version, the low end distortion is still evident but does not sound as intrusive and has a much warmer and enjoyable sound. There are a couple tape cuts in the Dark Side piece where the second source is inserted, the edits are well done and very smooth. The bonus tracks on the first disc comes from a third source, it is a good sound but is slightly distant from the other two, there is some sound fluctuation and there is a slight bit of tape hiss present but it is very listenable and enjoyable.
The second disc again comes from the Zeus source with the second source edited in to complete Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun. The third source is again utilized for a bonus “alternate” version for Set The Controls, of the three bonus tracks this is by far the most enjoyable. The tri gatefold sleeve features a great picture of the four members with their wives / girlfriends giving an inside glimpse to the private musicians.
Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan, March 8, 1972
Disc 1 (68:04) Speak To Me, Breathe (In The Air), The Travel Section, Time, Breathe, The Mortality Sequence, Money, Us And Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse, Stage Announcements. Bonus Track: Atom Heart Mother (alternate source)
Disc 2 (72:40) One Of These Days, Tune Up, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Tune Up, Echoes, Intermission / Tune Up, Atom Heart Mother
The first gig in Osaka has been widely bootlegged, and multiple sources exits for this concert, the first source was used on Fourth Eclipsed Night (Highland HL 593/594), the second source was found on Naniwa – Natural Dark In Osaka (Highland HL 665/666), and Darkest Moon (Sirene-007), and a combination of both tapes was used for Assorted Lunatics (Sigma 40). Missing Pieces: Live In Japan 1972 (Sigma 34) featured a third source for Echoes. Since I only own Assorted Lunatics that will be the basis of my review for this concert. From listening to the Assorted Lunatics release versus this new release one can determine they are not the same tape. The Godfather version is very good and borders on excellent, and just a notch below the Sapporo recording. It is clear and atmospheric, all instruments are well represented and the vocals are much more up front in the mix, there is just a touch of top end distortion at times but nothing to detract from this superb recording.
On Assorted Lunatics you can clearly hear the fumblings of the recording as he adjusts his equipment at the beginning of Speak To Me, none of this is present on this recording. Brain Damage is also complete unlike the Assorted Lunatics version that is a two source mix to complete the song. The bonus track on the first disc is an alternate recording of Atom Heart Mother, it is slightly distant but clear and atmospheric, it does not have the audience noise in the immediate area like the Assorted Lunatics recording.
The second disc has a few different sources mixed about, most notably the first 1:50 of One Of These Days and some of the tune ups before and after Echoes is from a different source although this version of Echoes is complete, there is also a source change as the band return to the stage for Atom Heart Mother. With all the small scraps of tape mix in it all flows together nicely, not too jarring and the edits themselves are very smooth making the sonic transition easier. The sound on the second disc is comparable to what is on the Assorted Lunatics second disc for the show.
Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan, March 9, 1972
Disc 1 (75:54) Speak To Me, Breathe (In The Air), The Travel Section, Time, Breathe, The Mortality Sequence, Money, Us And Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse, Stage Announcements. Bonus Track: Echoes (different mix)
Disc 2 (65:05) One Of These Days, Tune Up, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Tune Up, Echoes, A Saucerful Of Secrets
There is one main source for the second night in Osaka, Sigma has released it prior on the Assorted Lunatics (Sigma 40) and the encore Saucerful Of Secrets appeared on Missing Pieces: Japan Tour 1972 (Sigma 34). The sound quality is very similar to the Sigma, if anything the Godfathers has less hiss making it a bit clearer but the difference is minimal. The very low levels make this show hard to listen to, I prefer to listen to recordings like this at night when the noise of the day is much less. The bonus track on the first disc is an alternate mix of Echoes, it sounds as if they increased the levels to make the music louder, it also makes the hiss more prominent and since the levels are so low to begin with it did not make sense to master the whole recording that way, I am guessing that is the reason for the bonus track. I also agree with wgpsec in his assertion that A Saucerful Of Secrets is from a different source, it is much more enjoyable a recording, there is some audible audience chatter also.
Furitsu Taiikukan Hall, Kyoto, Japan, March 10, 1972
Disc 1 (72:46) Speak To Me, Breathe (In The Air), The Travel Section, Time, Breathe, The Mortality Sequence, Money, Us And Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse, Stage Announcements. Bonus Track: Echoes (different mix)
Disc 2 (50:04) One Of These Days, Tune Up, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Echoes
There is one source for the Kyoto show, it is similar in sound to the final Osaka being distant and having low levels, the Kyoto show is a bit brighter and therefore is an easier listen. The show has seen two prior releases, Assorted Lunatics (Sigma 40) and Kyoto 1972 (Sigma 92). The sound of this Godfather title sounds virtually identical to the latter Sigma title Kyoto 1972 (Sigma 92). The bonus track on the first disc is another alternate mix of Echoes, they have taken the levels up, there is hiss to be expected but not as bad as I was expecting. Where I found the alternate mix of the last Osaka date not special, this mix is really nice and makes me wish there was more from this mastering job as it is far easier to enjoy than the original tape.
Nakanoshima Sports Center, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan, March 13, 1972
Disc 1 (71:54) Speak To Me, Breathe (In The Air), The Travel Section, Time, Breathe, The Mortality Sequence, Money, Us And Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse, Stage Announcements. Bonus Tracks: One Of These Days (alternate source) Careful With That Axe Eugene (alternate source)
Disc 2 (70:16) One Of These Days, Tune Up, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Echoes, Atom Heart Mother
The final gig in Japan for 16 years has four know recordings that circulate in varying degrees of completeness, the most popular of these recordings is for a good reason, it boasts the best recording to surface from the tour but is sadly incomplete as it is missing the last two songs. The recording commonly referred to as source 2 is excellent, well balanced with all instruments and vocals being well balanced, it sounds as if it was recorded very close to the stage and is simply fantastic. There have been a slew of prior releases of this tape Cold Front (AS 91PF001), The Great Gig On The Moon (Teddy Bear TB 35), Think Pink (Black Cat BC-18), Dark Side Of The Rising Sun (Pigs On The Wing), Dark Side Of The Ice (Highland HL679), Memories Of The East (Sigma 24), and Sapporo 1972 (Sigma 82).
The Dark Side suite is virtually complete, the cut in Brain Damage is patched with the inferior recording found on Sapporo 1972 (Sigma 82) and is referred to as source 1. The quality of source 1 is distant but clear and atmospheric and much better than Kyoto and Sapporo and as with the other patch edits it is seamless. The bonus tracks on the first disc are also from source 1 and sound a bit clearer than the Sigma 82 versions. The first two songs on the second disc are the excellent source 2 recordings and are on par with the Highland and Sigma versions of the tape. Source 1 is again used for Echoes, again the sound is slightly clearer and more enjoyable. Atom Heart Mother first appeared on Missing Pieces: Japan Tour 1972 (Sigma 34) and Sapporo 1972 (Sigma 82), since there is no supporting evidence either confirming or discrediting the claim of being from this concert its inclusion here makes sense. The recording is distant and muffled and is almost identical to Sigma 82.
Another massive box set from Godfathers, and together with their previous release First Time In Japan (The Godfatherecords 933/934/935) provide collectors with a comprehensive overview of the bands live history in Japan. Based upon comparisons with other titles, the versions here are equally as good or better than the best versions out there and until some newer and better sources are found this should be considered the best and definitive statement of Pink Floyd’s Japanese concerts. Another lovingly assembled set by Godfathers and is certainly recommended.