Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Pink Floyd 1970-02-11 Town Hall Birmingham, UK

Project Birmingham
Town Hall
Birmingham, UK

Release date: 18-Dec-2001 by Harvested Records
Originally released in SHN format

1. The Embryo
2. Main Theme from More
3. Careful With That Axe, Eugene
4. Sysyphus

1. Project Birmingham, feat. variations of:
    Heart Beat, Pig Meat
    The Violent Sequence (aka Us And Them)
2. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
3. The Amazing Pudding (aka Atom Heart Mother)

>>From Harvested's RonToon:

For those who are interested, here's some of the details of Project
Birmingham (which will be our NEXT release...Ed promises to be
wedding in time for X-Mas). I initially started working on this
almost 2 years ago. I had three sources to choose from; the vinyl
bootleg LP "Violence In Birmingham" (the longest of the 3), "The
Violent Pudding" released by JS&TBD, and a low gen analogue tape.

I mainly used the old analogue tape as my source and spliced in the
additional material from the vinyl release, which gives you a few
more minutes of AHM. I then tweaked the Hell outta this one,
balancing and boosting channels, patching lost moments and applying a
custom EQ to the whole thing. There was still an unacceptable amount
of hiss left, and for the 1st time I was willing to go with some
major noise reduction and give it a try.

I sent the files I had been working on to Chris Burns in NYC. Chis
had some professional audio equipment and volunteered to lend his
skills to the project. The NR greatly reduced the hiss, but created
an artifact that gave the impression of listening through a long
drain pipe. Still, I felt that this was an improvement over all that

The data CDs were next sent to Marc-Oliver who has a built in radar
detector for speed correction. He worked on each track, making sure
that the pitch and speed were accurate. The next step was more
difficult. Marc had trouble mailing it back to me as customs busted
the package (pretty trivial with what's going on in the world today)!
Eventually, the CDs got back to Ed via France, no less.

I was glad to be finally done with this one.... until a better source
came along!!! As soon as I heard the quality of this new recording, I
knew I would have to scrap all the work that was done and start all
over again. Which I did........

There was still hiss on this new source, but not as bad. AND, I was
able to hear some subtleties that I hadn't heard before. I also took
a new approach to remastering this show as well. I didn't want to use
any NR this time as I felt that some EQing would do the trick.

There seemed to be some strange anomolies with the source that I also
would like to mention. During some songs, the hiss seems to oscilate
in and out like a whirlwind effect. It's really not too terrible and
only rears it's ugly head in a few places for a short period of time.
In other places it just cuts in and out...almost as if someone was
playing with the Dolby button while making the dub (although I was
assured that this was not the case). These sudden "bursts" were also
very difficult to smooth out and I only had limited success at times.

After re-assembling the entire show, I cross-dissolved different EQ
applications over the entire piece. During the quieter parts I
brought the high end down, for the louder parts I boosted the bass
and midrange a bit. Next, it was back to balancing and boosting
levels again and all the general work I had done before. Lastly, I
speed corrected the entire thing, using M-O's previous effort as a
reference. I'm sure that the speed will be pretty close, although it
does vary from time to time.

This performance has an incredible setlist, one of my favorites, and
it's mostly instrumental! If you can make it through the opening
minute of Embryo (which is totally distorted and over-saturated),
you'll be in for a real treat for what follows. You will also find
that Sysyphus and AHM (aka The Violent Pudding) are now complete, and
the missing bits were NOT sourced from an alternate show. However, Dr
FrankenToon did "cheat" to make them complete ; )



>>From Harvested's Ed P.:

Hello Again,

The air is thick with anticipation.

Harvested's next release will be available soon, I promise.

I wanted to take a few moments to discuss Project Birmingham and make a request
to the group.

For the benefit of those that are a little less knowledgeable than others, I'll
go over a little of the history of this show.

Basically, the February 11, 1970 performance in Birmingham has produced the most
infamous Pink Floyd RoIOs of all time. Why is that?

It's a combination of two factors -- the set list and the sound quality.

After completing the 'Man and the Journey' tour in 1969, and before settling
down to the standard setlist that would become the 'Atom Heart Mother' tour, the
band was very experimentative with their setlist and even included songs from
their most recent project -- Zabriskie Point.

The setlist:
The Embryo
The Main Theme from More
Careful With That Axe, Eugene
Heart Beat, Pig Meat
The Violent Sequence
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
The Amazing Pudding

Of these songs, Embryo, Careful, and Set the Controls were quite common numbers
in Floyd shows; but the others...

Variations of Quicksilver and Moonhead had been standard numbers during the Man
and the Journey performances. But this was not an M&J performance. These
tracks here, in their normal form, are quite rare.

The Main Theme from More, Heart Beat Pig Meat, and The Violent Sequence are
equally rare tracks without caveat. Variations of these songs did not appear in
M&J or other tours.

Although Atom Heart Mother would become standard faire, it's precursor - The
Amazing Pudding - is quite rare as well. There are subtle and not so subtle
differences between TAP and AHM. Best of all, the Birmingham performance
includes a 4 minute long drum solo by Nick Mason!

Last, but not least, is Sysyphus. This track is unique to this show!!! No
other RoIO date has it.

Obviously, this one-of-a-kind setlist makes a recording of this show a must have
in every RoIO collection. But what makes this show infamous is the sound
quality. It sucks!

I bought the 2LP Violence in Birmingham RoIO fifteen years or so ago. Now that
was a painful listening experience. The show was very very hissy, saturated,
and distorted. Add to that, vinyl pops, speed problems, and losses from a high
gen tape source... yuck!

Ron Toon to the rescue.

As Ron posted before, Ron acquired a very low gen tape source a couple years
ago, converted it to CD and speed corrected it and was almost ready to release
it, when he acquired an even lower (2nd?) gen tape and redid the whole effort.

This is what I've been working with. It's got no clicks, no pops, no speed
problems. The sound is full. You can hear subtle things that were lost on
later generation tapes. But the original problem remained: HISS.

I've been very carefully dehissing the show. Painstakingly applying just the
right amount to preserve the fidelity of the music and not create any noise
reduction artifacts.

The weeding will begin very soon. As always, Ron and I enjoy the work we do and
are happy to pass it along. But, because of the importance of this show and the
effort we've put in to produce it, Ron and I have decided to alter the weed
rules on this one slightly.

After you receive this show, you should listen to it before offering up copies
to the group. When you make your weed offer post, you should include your
comments/thoughts/observations about it as part of the offer post. And not just
a one-liner. Put some effort into composing a paragraph (or more). Thanks.

Stay Tuned,

>>From Harvested's Ed P.:

Hello everyone,

I hope everybody's poised for a great 2002. Best wishes to you all.

First, many thanks to everyone that's been posting reviews of our latest
release, Project Birmingham. We definitely appreciate it. But, I'd like to
remind those continuing this weed that posting a "full review" isn't a
requirement. Just a paragraph of your thoughts/comments/observations... But
the more the merrier.

Second, I'd like to bring up the topic of applause and the lack of it in this

Has anyone noticed the relationship between when the last note of a song is
played and when the audience starts to applaud?

A well behaved audience usually withholds their applause until the song ends.
And I would certainly consider the Birmingham audience to be well behaved that

On Embryo, the applause starts 2 seconds before the last note.
On More, the applause starts 2 seconds after the last note.
On Careful, the applause starts at the same time as the last note.
On Sysyphus, the applause starts 7 seconds before the last note.
On PB, the applause starts 3 seconds after the last note.
On Controls, the applause starts 2 seconds after the last note.
On AHM, the applause starts 2 seconds before the last note.

Although Ron did a superb job faking the endings to Sysyphus and AHM; in my
opinion, the fake applause added to the end of the faked Sysyphus ending comes
in too soon. I assume this was intentional, a necessary part of the illusion.
If the applause were to come in 2 seconds after the end, like it probably did in
reality, the fakery would probably be noticeable.

Another topic concerns the lack of applause in PB. The first three parts of PB
all segue into each other nicely. However, between the end of the third part
(Moonhead) and the start of the fourth part (TVS), there are 24 seconds of
silence (that's right twenty-four). Was The Violent Sequence a separate track?
Did the audience not notice the end of Moonhead as the end of the piece and
thereby forget to applaud? Or was the band still doing something on stage
during this lull (like the pause for the footsteps in Cymbaline) to indicate to
the audience that the piece was continuing?


>>From listener Pat B.:

allow me to stir this pot up a bit. disclaimer: i haven't heard PB yet, but
i did spend an obscene amount of time fiddling with a different low gen
source of this show (which eventually became the JS+TBD release "the violent
pudding", thank you again scott j.) and there should not be any "silence"
before us&them/the violent sequence. i had to crank the levels to an extreme
degree on that particular section to make out what was going on, but there
SHOULD be some extremely quiet piano happening there. i suspect there was a
spotlight or something on rick to let people know that the piece continued.
perhaps this bit was lost to the noise reduction?... (if you have TVP, refer
to the end of track 10 'moonhead' after the tom-tom stops. there IS a bit
of piano going on there, buried under that mountain of hiss.)

on a side note, nobody has mentioned this: THE PIANO!!?!? did they really
drag a baby grand PIANO around the british midlands in winter for this leg
of the tour? or did they only play this tune in halls that had one
available? that would be my theory as to why this piece was dropped from the
setlist so early after it's introduction only two weeks before....



>>From listener Ryan D.:

Hello all,

Violence in Birmingham was one of the first ROIOs I ever received. I was
still relatively unfamiliar with early Floyd- I did have all of the albums,
however I didn't listen to them much. Even after hearing Main Theme on ViB
I thought that the label was a misprint- I believed that i was listening to
a long jam on the intro to Let There Be More Light. Regardless, Violence in
Birmingham quickly became my favorite show to listen to- it was just *so*
different, so unique.

When I first heard about JS+tBD's release of ViB as The Violent Pudding I
knew that I would want to get my grubby paws on it. My tape of ViB was
pretty much useless in this day and age of digital media, and it was an nth
generation tape to boot. It sounded like shit. TVP was a godsend. The sound
quality was much better (though, as the liner notes state, 'it still sounds
terrible') and I began to pick up on nuances that could not be heard on my
old cassette.

Now comes Project Birmingham. And after two-plus listenings all I can say
is this: WOW!

I read all of the technical jargon that RonToon posted last month about how
he had put the show together. Not being an audiophile of any sort I didn't
understand half of what Ron said he was doing to the show- but I did know
that this release would surely have to surpass TVP in quality (I's assume
Ron wouldn't release it otherwise). And surpass TVPs quality it surely does.

I took out my copy of TVP and listened to the first minute or so of Embryo.
Ignoring the distortion and saturation that plagues this section, I
listened to the music. On TVP it seems as if the notes blend together-
there is no articulation. It sounds like I am on the other side of a giant
wall while Pink Floyd plays toward the opposite direction.

This isn't quite the case on Project Birmingham. Five seconds into the
opening of Embryo I knew we had a winner of a show. The notes were
separate, for the most part, and now, instead of just being on the other
side, I have my ear up against the wall, waiting for someone to call out
'would you touch me'.... erm... yeah. Anyways, you can play this show LOUD
and it will sound good- I look forward to being able to listen to it in my
car, where previous versions of the show were difficult on the ear.

The whirling hiss Ron mentioned seems to me to only be noticeable when Nick
is playing the cymbals. I do not know what it is about their tone, but they
seem to bring that whirling effect out a little bit.

Another thing I want to comment on is how great of job Ed has done getting
rid of the little pops and clicks that were prevalent on TVP. I understand
that these are different sources (I think) so the task may not have been as
daunting, but as of my third listen I have yet to hear any little excess
noise- no pops, no clicks, no farts, nothing. This is a clean show.

I'll refrain from commenting on the performance as I think I do a horrible
job at reviewing music, but I do want to point out that the rendition of
CWTAE on this set reminds me greatly of the Oakland '77 performance, and
that's not a bad thing, that's... a good thing! :^D

Now, Ron, I really want to know what you did to complete Sysyphus and TAP.
I had always assumed that these bits were lost forever. You hint at
doctoring them a bit in your original posts on the matter, but you state
that it's not a Frankenshow (god I love that word) of different dates. So I
venture to guess that you copied and pasted completed parts of each tune
over the missing sections, but that's a lot of space to fill, especially in
TAP, which jumped from 9:42 on TVP to over 25 minutes on PB. What's your
secret, dude?!

>>RonToon's response to Ryan D.:


If you don't like to know how magic trick are done,
please avoid the rest of this post ; )

To answer Ryans question (and thanks for the great post, dude ; )

<< Now, Ron, I really want to know what you did to complete Sysyphus
and TAP.

Ryan was correct in remembering that I said that this was indeed
a Frankenshow, and those 2 song were now complete, but not used
from alternate sources or shows.

Sysyphus was a no-brainer. It almost kinda works too. The end of
the piece basically reprises the main theme that is played during the
the 1st section. If you listen carefully, you can hear my segue.
From that point on, it'll stick out like a sore thumb.

TAP was trickier. The source was much longer than 9:25....in
fact, it plays out all the way through Nick's drum solo. I
listened to a few other performances of TAP within a week's
period to see how they were completing the piece after Nick's
drum solo. Again, previous sections were reprised and repeated.
Nick's solo end's with a drum roll re-introducting the main
theme again. I just segued (I rarely do hard "cuts") together
the next few sections that were repeated during the other
performances. I think my edit is fairly true to the other
complete performances as the ending of TAP on PB is comprised
of 4 individual sections.

Now go enjoy the show and don't think of this all to much.

And, as Dr Frankentoon once said...."IT'S ALIIIVE!"

>>Ryan D's final thoughts:

>Warning: SPOILERS

I'll repeat this-


>Sysyphus was a no-brainer. It almost kinda works too. The end of
>the piece basically reprises the main theme that is played during the
>the 1st section. If you listen carefully, you can hear my segue.
> From that point on, it'll stick out like a sore thumb.

I did notice this in my first listen, but I'll disagree that it sticks out
like a sore thumb. It's noticeable, especially with headphones, but it's
very well done and I doubt unsuspecting listeners would even notice.

> I think my edit is fairly true to the other
>complete performances as the ending of TAP on PB is comprised
>of 4 individual sections.

Well, Ron, you've done a masterful job at creating something out of
nothing. It is definitely rewarding to be able to hear a 'complete' TAP
when I listen to this show. The cut on all other versions of the Birmingham
show was always a big letdown- it's like there was no reward for having the
patience to listen to such a low quality recording. It's like having Echoes
cut out just before the big climax prior to the final verse. It was
disappointing. But now I can rejoice in knowing that I have a 'complete'
recording of the show.

And speaking of 'complete', I fear that with Ron's fine handiwork now out
for public consumption that some misguided fellow will get a hold of it,
make a few copies, and start marketing it as, 'For the first time
ever! Pink Floyd's Legendary show in Birmingham- the COMPLETE recordings!'
or somesuch and make a few bucks off of it. Hopefully we'll be able to
discover any type of this activity early. Or maybe I'm just a worrywart.

Thanks again, Harvested crew for another fine release.



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