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Pink Floyd – Victor’s Montreux (Sigma 60)

Victor’s Montreux (Sigma 60)

Altes Casino, Montreux, Switzerland – November 21st, 1970

Disc 1 (71:33):  Astronomy Domine, Fat Old Sun, Cymbaline, Atom Heart Mother, The Embryo, Green Is The Colour

Disc 2 (58:45):  Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, A Saucerful Of Secrets, bar blues, more blues.  Bonus track, Altes Casino, Montreux, Switzerland – November 22nd, 1970:  Interstellar Overdrive

Pink Floyd played two shows in Montreux in November 1970.  Both concerts were recorded by EMI and selections of the two were released on promotion acetates.  The professional recording has been released several times before, most recently on Atom Hearted Montreux (Tarantura TCDPF-001-1,2) and Swiss Made (Siréne-198).

Victor’s Montreux is sourced from the amazing quality stereo audience tape of Pink Floyd’s set that night.  Named after the taper, this surfaced in November 2009.  There are some imperfections with the tape.  “Fat Old Sun” has a tape speed up at the beginning as does “Atom Heart Mother” at 6:27.  “Green Is The Colour” is cut after three and a half minutes eliminating “Careful With That Axe, Eugene,” and there is a cut at 17:03 in “A Saucerful Of Secrets” eliminating some of the “Celestial Voices” section. 

Dating the two Montreux shows is still terribly confusing, but it seems that the encore for the first night are the blues numbers and the second is probably “Interstellar Overdrive.”  Sigma hedge their bets by including that song as a bonus track after the blues numbers, even though it is incomplete and runs out after eleven minutes.

The show, lasting more than two hours, is characterized by very long, ethereal, unsettling arrangements of the songs.  The tape begins with Roger Waters introducing the first song, “Astronomy Domine.”  Picking up the instruments beautifully, it’s easy to hear the thumping bass underneath David Gilmour’s guitar, sounding very lively and creative.

Gilmour has the next two songs, a gentle “Fat Old Sun” and a very long and abrasive “Cymbaline.”  The band sound best in their attempts at improvisation in the longer numbers.  The recording is very good at picking up and conveying the vagaries of their ideas, especially in “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” and the long “A Saucerful Of Secrets.”  

The encores contain the two extended blues improvisations.  They are the normal blues they would occasionally play.  Blues was not a genre they particularly exploited, and it’s banality stands in stark contrast to all that came before in during the show.

Sigma include “Interstellar Overdrive” from the following night.  Unfortunately it is incomplete, but it too has some very interesting improvisatory passages unique to this period of their history.

Victor’s Montreux is a great sounding recording, packaged in a double slimline jewel case.  The artwork for this, as with all of their releases, is very attractive.  This is one of the best sounding recordings from 1970 for Pink Floyd and is an essential tape to own to hear and understand what they were doing at this point in time.     

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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  1. Thanks Axeman. I have Smoking Blues, just wondered if it was worth picking up Sigma 60 for “Set The Controls…” and “Saucerful…” which don’t appear on the soundboards. The audience quality seems phenomenal, going by these reviews, so I might be tempted. Thanks Again.

  2. Careful Axeman Eugene

    strummerville, Victor’s Montreux is from an audience tape of the same September 21 show that’s on Smoking Blues, which is from a soundboard tape. and Montreux Casino has all of that same soundboard tape that’s on Smoking Blues, plus an amalgamation of other tracks.

  3. Can anybody tell me if this is the same show/tape source as Smoking Blues (Funny Boot label) and Montreux Casino (Hiwatt label)…?

  4. Careful Axeman Eugene

    ok, alucard72, but then that would mean that the version of Just Another 12 Bar that’s been attributed to the show on November 22nd by so many sources for so many years is actually the one that was played on the 21st. correct? anybody else know anything?

  5. Hello Careful Axeman Eugene, it would appear that the setlist for both shows was the same with the exception of Just Another Twelve Bar which was only played on the 21st.

  6. Careful Axeman Eugene

    hello, alucard72? anybody? doesn’t anybody know the answer(s)? or know where to look? i would really appreciate it…especially because i’m trying to make my own cdr copies of the best recordings for each night.

  7. Careful Axeman Eugene

    thanks, alucard72…so Povey and Russell and most other sources had the last songs of each night incorrect for so many years? were Interstellar, Just Another 12 Bar, and More Blues played as the last 3 songs for both nights? and were the entire setlists identical for both the 21st and 22nd? thanks again

  8. Careful Axeman Eugene, I believe that Sigma are correct in their dating of this material. According to Hodges and Priston’s excellent “Embryo: A Pink Floyd Chronology 1966-1971” book (every Floyd collector should own a copy), Just Another Twelve Bar (AKA the closing section of Biding My Time) and the following blues number are indeed from the 21st. The version of Interstellar Overdrive on this CD is from the 22nd, the version from the 21st is much longer.

  9. Careful Axeman Eugene

    i agree that this is a great one, but there seems to be some confusion about the dates…and at least somebody has made a mistake. according to the In The Flesh book by Povey and Russell, most widespread info about the recordings, especially on the internet, and DLee, etc., Interstellar Overdrive was the encore done on the 21st, not the 22nd, and Just Another 12 Bar Blues and More Blues were the encores done on the 22nd, not the 21st…so Sigma seems to have them the other way around. and so now that seems to throw all the other tracks, including The Embryo, into question too. are they really from the 21st…or are they in fact from the 22nd? i’m sorry if i’m opening a can of worms, but can anybody please clarify? many thanks to anybody who can!

  10. I’m also pleased that I picked this up. Great performance and unbelievable sound quality for a 1970 show. Victor, wherever you are today thanks for sharing your source. Recommended for any Pink Floyd collector who enjoys the early shows. Thanks Sigma for another fine release!!!

  11. After passing on the last few Sigma titles I was pleased to see this show come up and was blown away by the sound quality, at times it can pass for a soundboard but with a little crowd ambiance. How the taper got such an amazing sound captured is mind blowing, a great release.

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