Here is a Pink Floyd bootleg staple that has really, finally, gotten some appropriate attention. The KQED-TV appearance and broadcast has been around ever since I can remember. Where I get a little confused with what is being used for sources is that there is the original broadcast from Spring of 1970 - the performance recorded on April 29th and this release citing the afternoon of the 29th while others say it was early morning prior to playing Winterland that night - and then there is the 1980 re-broadcast tapes which were leveraged skillfully by the good people at fan-label Harvested and has been my standard ever since they provided their marriage to that source to the FM broadcast audio about 3 years ago or so. But I actually watched a broadcast of this circa 1974-75 sometime as well and is when I originally saw this tape on the local PBS channel. Onto reviewing this particular set.
The Sigma Label has broken out of just Floyd audio catalog titles and lately giving us some video projects as well. This is a great move and I hope they look to cataloging various other video options going forward. Being a devoted Pink Floyd label, Sigma packages this set up in a really nice clear clamshell production that is wrapped with dual-sided black & white photography with color print art, professionally designed and presented. The inside utilizing live black & white photos of the band, most of which I haven't seen before, and providing a nice background for the dual-hubbed clamshell that houses both the DVD and CD discs.
The DVD is a very straight-forward transfer from what is credited as a U-Matic TV Station Master. I have compared this to the Harvested version, which is sourced from a VHS version of the 1980 rebroadcast. I was surprised while watching this Sigma disc that this too, is the very same rebroadcast and isn't as smooth in the transfer as what the Harvested people were able to achieve with their tape. To be fair, this new Sigma presentation is a straight transfer of the master tape, no remastering vs. Harvested's where enhancements were made. It's a very trippy affair but is also the most intimate and best live video of the Gilmour/Waters/Mason/Wright line-up and catches them at their most progressive period as they were touring the States on the latest production, "Ummagumma", though "Atom Heart Mother" was being tested thoroughly on the road and here gets a very moody and spacey performance as the band were simply relaxed and focused with the TV studio surroundings. Our director was certainly prepared with the visuals to accompany the live shots and we get lots of global landscapes with changing colors, etc. to accentuate the compositions. Highlights for me are always the combo of "Grantchester Meadows" and "Green Is The Color" - both providing awesome live shots of the band but in particular, Roger and Dave on Acoustic Guitars.
The Sigma Production doesn't blend sources on any level so we get a fairly flat soundtrack to the DVD presentation. This is another point where the Harvested version trumps as it uses the FM soundtrack flawlessly synced to the remastered video. Sigma's decision not to play with the sources wisely led them to include the FM audio on an accompanying CD and it's great. I will say that the FM source Harvested uses is a little more lively and has better depth but that could also be due to the DVD format vs. CD. The bottom line is that Sigma has done Pink Floyd collectors a really nice favor by securing the sources here and delivering them to us via silver disc. A great set indeed! Perhaps they could work with Harvested in getting us an alternate version on silver DVD of their source too?