Washington 1971 (Sigma 36)
Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University, Washington DC – November 16th, 1971
Disc 1 (57:42): The Embryo, Fat Old Sun, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Atom Heart Mother
Disc 2 (59:59): One Of These Days, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Cymbaline, Echoes
Pink Floyd’s November 16th show in Washington DC was perhaps the most requested show to be released by Sigma. It is a very good to excellent tape of the complete show from Floyd’s autumn tour and is interesting for being right before they entered Abbey Road Studios to record Dark Side Of The Moon. It has startling clarity and the attentive audience don’t interfere with the enjoyment of the performance. There are times throughout the show when the right channel is favored over the left but it’s never distracting. It was released previously on The Return of the Sons of Nothing on Gold Standard with a really nice upgrade on Process Of Creation(Highland HL250/251). Sigma smoothed over some of the rough spots on the tape, notably the gap between “The Embryo” and “Fat Old Sun” but the sound quality between Highland and Sigma sound identical.
according to the webpage http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~cm3k-iitk/pink_data/@0_250_51.htm, the sound quality is rated as VG. would anybody say the new Sigma version rates as a VG too, or any better (or any worse) ?? thanx
The one thing that always fascinated me about this particular concert was the strange opening. According to the Washington Post “a fellow gifted as magician, juggler and fire-eater, breathed forth flame so a white-robed lady could light her cigarette”. Pure rock theatre!! The Floyd didn’t start recording Dark Side for another seven months after this, June ’72.
This is the only release I have for this show and extremely happy with this one. IMO the sound is very clear and balanced and to top it off a excellent performance!!!! I would easily recommend this for even the casual collector of early Floyd. Four thumbs up!!!
I concur that the performance itself is the main selling point for me on this show, apart from the fact that I’ve seen many shows at Lisner Auditorium myself (not this one however). I included this concert as a “runner-up” selection in my Essential Floyd article here with the excellent versions of “One Of These Days” and “Careful With That Axe Eugene” particularly in mind. Sonically, I’d rate it towards the upper end of the scale, as there are certainly plenty recordings that are far worse – personally I would agree with DLee that “Heart Of Darkness” is superior, and it’s nearly on par with “Labyrinths Of Coral Caves.”
Meanwhile, after this release 28 Floyd (minus the 2 Anthologies), 6 Waters, and 3 Gilmour items originally released on Highland remain otherwise unrepresented on silver from the Sigma lineage. A handful of these did appear in CDR format via Ayanami, Sirene, or as bonus gift items, but if my past theories hold true, Sigma still has a way to go before all of the Highland releases are upgraded/replaced. On that note, a couple in particular are terribly overdue in my opinion, particularly Chicago 3/7/73 and a silver pressing of “Nassau 1975 Day 2” 6/17/75 (sans the clicks/pops on the Godfather version). The Rainbow Theatre concert from 11/4/73 would also be another that comes to mind, along with the remaining items previously represented on Ayanami releases already.
Sound quality is only slightly inferior to that of “Labyrinths of C.C.”, and virtually as great as that of “Heart of D.”. It’s pretty much a must-have for Floyd fans in terms of performance, especially as it has among the very-best-ever versions of ‘One of These Days’ & ‘Careful with that Axe, Eugene’.
I don’t own any versions of this show, and I’d therefore be very interested to know how this release compares in terms of sound quality with the likes of “Heart Of Darkness”, “Pepperland 1970” and “Labyrinths Of Coral Caves”. The review says it has “…startling clarity”, just wondered if this recording is better than average. Thanks.
Yes Sigma do handle the edits better than Highland but I don’t think this is a dramatic upgrade in sound quality over the Higland. I do think this is a good release simply because Process Of Creation has been sold out for years and is hard to find, so the Sigma does fill a need. But for those who have the Highland this is recommended only if you want the smoother edits.
Since I was rather surprised by the comment of the sound qualities of the Highland & Sigma versions being “identical”, I’ve just listened to the Highland title again just for comparison, and it’s surprisingly somewhat better than I thought it was. However, I still think that the new Sigma 36 is at least a tiny bit superior in sound quality. Furthermore, the Highland release has a few unfortunate edits that the Sigma 36 version definitely doesn’t have, so Sigma has certainly made an upgrade.
Mine arrived Thurs. of last week, and the artwork is considerably impressive, but to me its sound quality is noticeably better than that of both the Highland & Gold Standard recordings – a significant upgrade, unless my ears need to be checked out. This new Sigma 36 sounds pretty much the same to me as the non-commercial 2-CD-R release “Something from Nothing”, which sounds virtually just about the same to me as the hard-to-find pair of factory-pressed 1-CD silvers “Fat Old Sun” & “Eugene” by the Oil Well label. Highly recommended.