It’s unsurprising Pink Floyd spent the rest of their career, after Syd Barrett left, exploring madness and life’s absurdities. Their canvas was soundscapes to color your moods. Yet before Dark Side of The Moon, much of what they played was meant to sooth rather than rage and anger.
Celestial Voices [Rover Records RR CD002]
Radio shows from 1968-1969.
What a day to pick to introduce Careful With That Axe, Eugene and the moody Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun. It was August 9, 1969, Pink Floyd were scheduled to play at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It was also $ingapore’s national day.
Back in 1969, the great international concern was the spiralling war in Vietnam. In $ingapore’s backyard, communal violence was the issue. May 13 arrived with a vengeance. Race riots broke out north of $ingapore in Malaysia. There were rumours of Chinese being killed by Malays in Malaysia.
By June 1, some Chinese in $ingapore decided to take revenge on Malays in $ingapore. Armed gangs in the Jalan Ubi/ Jalan Kayu area surrounded Malay residences and attacked with “swords, spears and wooden poles”. The Malays retaliated by setting fire to Chinese-owned shophouses in Geylang. Four people were killed during the racial skirmishes in $ingapore. Scores were injured in the communal violence.
Pink Floyd’s music of this time spoke of hope through space music. To tune in and be turned on. Song titles hinted at madness and violence. Careful With That Axe could have been a reprimand to a rioter. Musically, this was Pink Floyd at their hippest. Edgy music that was both experimental and hypnotic. Interstellar Overdrive and Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun offered a heavenward look away from the daily grind.
Nightmare, later retitled Cymbaline, was perhaps their prettiest melody. Green Is The Color was another gentle persuasion to chill hot-blooded passion.
Celestial Voices is a brand new 2007 bootleg from Rover Records. They offer a recently uncovered lost recording from August 9, 1969. According to a review at boot-review.com:
“The first four songs come from a recently surfaced soundboard tape of a recording made of Pink Floyd at the Paradiso in Amsterdam on August 9, 1969. The band’s set was professionally recorded with the intention of broadcast on Hilversum 3 Radio. When this tape first surfaced it was said there was a malfunction with the microphone for the vocals and the band were forced to play the songs as instrumentals. This isn’t exactly accurate because Waters does still sing in Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Careful With That Axe, Eugene, and in the latter part of A Saucerful Of Secrets. The vocals are present but barely audible.
“Neither the audience nor the band seems to notice this and it leads one to the conclusion that the band’s PA wasn’t malfunctioning but the radio station’s equipment was. Since the tape was unusable for the radio, Pink Floyd returned to Amsterdam the following month and be recorded by Hilversum 3 again on September 17th at the Concertgebouw, the famous The Man And The Journey tape.”
The other two shows here have both been released before. The best versions [and this is subjective] appear on the Harvested label’s BBC Archives 1967-1969: Revision A.
The versions of both these shows [May 12, 1969 and June 25, 1968] on the Celestial Voices boot are equally brilliant. The show at the Paris Cinema in London on May 12 precedes the Malaysian riots by one day. The last tune played that day was called The Narrow Way. It’s chilling how that can describe the political fortunes of both Malaysia and $ingapore.
This period of Pink Floyd was also their most liberating with all four members equally in charge and contributing. By the time Dark Side Of The Moon was made, Roger Waters was in control. - The Little Chicken
Live at Paradiso, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, August 9, 1969:
1 Interstellar Overdrive (part)
2 Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
3 Careful With That Axe Eugene
4 A Saucerful Of Secrets.
Paris Cinema, Lower Regent Street, London, England, May 12, 1969
5 Daybreak (Grantchester Meadows)
6 Nightmare (Cymbaline)
7 The Beginning (Green Is The Colour) / Beset By Creatures Of The Deep (Careful With That Axe, Eugene)
8 The Narrow Way (Narrow Way Part 3)
BBC Studios, 201 Piccadilly, London, England, June 25, 1968
9 Top Gear introduction
10 The Murderotic Women or Careful With That Axe Eugene
11 The Massed Gadgets Of Hercules (A Saucerful Of Secrets)
12 Let There Be More Light
13 Julia Dream
14 Top Gear conclusion
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Due to popular demand, these sets are now available for download:
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