The Montreux 40th Anniversary Series
Too Late For Mind Expanding (HRV CDR 036)
Montreux Casino, 21Nov70
Mastertape by Victor
Remastering by MOB
Quality Control by EdP
Artwork by RonToon
Produced by Harvested Records
1. Astronomy Domine
2. Fat Old Sun
4. Atom Heart Mother
1. Green Is The Colour
2. Careful With That Axe, Eugene
3. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
4. A Saucerful Of Secrets
5. Just Another Twelve Bar
6. More Blues
This new Harvested release provides the first of the two Montreux 1970 concerts in the most complete form and with the best possible quality. The main source was Victor's raw master transfer already shared last year. The ending part of Green Is The Colour and the following track Careful With That Axe Eugene, not present on Victor's master, were taken from "The Good" recorder that surfaced some years ago on "The Good... The Bad" RoIO ref. FA033.
Victor's raw transfer shared in November 2009 was first thought to be from the second concert, mainly because it matched "The Good... The Bad" RoIO that was labelled from 22Nov70. However, based on Victor's recollections of the two shows and some pictures from his reels, it now appears that the present show with the two "blues" encores is actually from 21Nov70 (this show ended late, forcing the band to finish with a quiet blues). The second concert was added at the last minute for the next afternoon at 2.30pm (Roger sarcastically said "good morning" to the audience) and at this second show the encore was Interstellar Overdrive. But that's for our next release... ;-)
Victor's master is a superb audience recording and a compilation cassette he did in the past from both concerts was copied by someone and ended up on the 1995 "Smoking Blues" bootleg ("Smoking Blues" is therefore at least 1st or 2nd gen, and even with that lineage some people thought it was from soundboard or from some EMI acetates that are most probably pure legend). Embryo, Just Another Twelve Bar and More Blues from "Smoking Blues" are from 21Nov70, but the versions presented here are upgrades, coming directly from the master and with an uncut More Blues (fading out on "Smoking Blues").
Despite its fantastic quality, Victor's master had some flaws that needed to be corrected. The speed was not consistent throughout the show: for some tracks, speed was absolutely perfect, while for others speed gradually slowed down (probably an "end of reel" effect during the play-back). Fat Old Sun, Atom Heart Mother and A Saucerful Of Secrets suffered from that slowing-down phenomenon and speed was corrected for these three songs. There were some channel loss and levels fluctuations, the most obvious being during the first verse of Fat Old Sun. These were repaired. There were also drop-outs here and there, especially during the first 2 minutes of Cymbaline (one drop-out every 862ms, thus 140 drop-outs were manually corrected one by one in order to fully restore these first minutes of Cymbaline). The right channel became slightly weaker during Set The Controls and A Saucerful Of Secrets, where more drop-outs were present on that channel. These flaws were attenuated as much as possible. Last but not least, there were several cuts on the master: the very first chord of Fat old Sun was missing and has been restored, a short cut during Mother Fore (AHM) was carefully patched, and the central part of Celestial Voices (ASOS) that was missing due to a tape flip, was restored from another show in order to save the continuity and progression to the climax of the song.
The end of Green Is The Colour, Careful With That Axe Eugene and the first 30 seconds of Set The Controls were taken from "The Good" source. A lot of work was needed in order to restore that part, because of abrupt speed fluctuations during Careful, and also because "The Good... The Bad" RoIO comes from a "tweaked" tape: the original audio capture is pure mono (there is absolutely no stereo separation between the instruments), but someone found funny to play with the faders during the analog transfer, introducing artificial panning in order to fake stereo effects (these tricks were clearly done during an analog mixing of the recording, not in the digital world). Speed was corrected segment by segment, and levels were carefully adjusted in order to restore the original music as it was on the master, i.e. in the centre of the stereo image, before the artificial panning ruining most parts of "The Good... The Bad".
So there you are. The 21Nov70 Montreux concert in all its glory !
This is a rare case where all the stars were aligned: we have the best audience recording from that era, and at the same time the Floyd performance was really magic that night. All five songs of CD1 were delivered with fire and passion (including the most powerful rendition of Funky Dung ever recorded). And on CD2, the first part of A Saucerful Of Secrets (Something Else) shows the Floyd sounding like King Crimson would sound three years later. Another highlight of CD2 is Just Another Twelve Bar: even if not too interesting from a musical point of view, this song is a true rarity in Pink Floyd live repertoire (even if it's mainly based on the bass riff from Biding My Time).