October 25, 1969
Pop/Rock, Prog-Rock, Psychedelic, Art Rock, British Psychedelia, Album Rock

Album Review

For many years, this double-LP was one of the most popular albums in Pink Floyd's pre-Dark Side of the Moon output, containing a live LP and a studio LP for the price of one. The live set, recorded in Birmingham and Manchester in June 1969, is limited to four numbers, all drawn from the group's first two LPs or their then-recent singles. Featuring the band's second lineup (i.e., no Syd Barrett), the set shows off a very potent group, their sound held together on-stage by Nick Mason's assertive drumming and Roger Waters' powerful bass work, which keep the proceedings moving no matter how spaced out the music gets. They also sound like they've got the amplifiers to make their music count, which is more than the early band had. "Astronomy Domine," "Careful with That Axe Eugene," "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun," and "A Saucerful of Secrets" are all superior here to their studio originals, done longer, louder, and harder, with a real edge to the playing. The studio LP was more experimental, each member getting a certain amount of space on the record to make his own music -- Richard Wright's "Sysyphus" was a pure keyboard work, featuring various synthesizers, organs, and pianos; David Gilmour's "The Narrow Way" was a three-part instrumental for acoustic and electric guitars and electronic keyboards, and Nick Mason's "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" made use of a vast range of acoustic and electric percussion devices. Roger Waters' "Grantchester Meadows" was a lyrical folk-like number unlike almost anything else the group ever did.
Bruce Eder, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Astronomy Domine
  2. Careful with That Axe, Eugene
  3. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
  4. A Saucerful of Secrets
  5. Sysyphus, Pt. 1
  6. Sysyphus, Pt. 2
  7. Sysyphus, Pt. 3
  8. Sysyphus, Pt. 4
  9. Grantchester Meadows
  10. Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and
  11. The Narrow Way, Pt. 1
  12. The Narrow Way, Pt. 2
  13. The Narrow Way, Pt. 3
  14. The Grand Vizier's Garden Party, Pt. 1: Entrance
  15. The Grand Vizier's Garden Party, Pt. 2: Entertainment
  16. The Grand Vizier's Garden Party, Pt. 3: Exit