LIVE AT THE PARADISO 1969

  1. Hulloder
  2. Dada was here
  3. Thank  You, Pierrot Lunaire
  4. Have You Ever Been Green?
  5. Pataphysical Introduction Pt II
  6. As Long As He Lies Perfectly Still
  7. Fire Engine Passing With Bells Clanging
  8. Hibou, Anemone and Bear
  9. Fire Engine.... (reprise)
10. Pig
11. Orange Skin Food
12. A Door Opens and Closes
13. 10:30 Returns to the Bedroom  

Recorded: March 29th, 1969, at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Released: 1995

Robert Wyatt: drums, voice
Hugh Hopper: bass
Mike Ratledge: piano, organ


Soft Machine in Amsterdam; bike and bridge


Below other releases of this concert, they are all illegal:

   
Turns on Paradiso , March 29, 1969
(cd - Amazing Discs, Germany, 1988)
Live in Amsterdam 1969; Il Dizionario Del Rock
(cd - Curcio, Italy, 1992)

   
William (cd - Aulica, Italy, 1992)
Soft Machine (cd - Movieplay Gold, Portugal, 1999)
CD contains extra tracks: Soon, Soon, Soon/So Boot If At All (live in Bussum for VPRO-TV); That's How Much I Need You Now/Save Yourself/When I Don't Want You/You Don't Remember (from Jet Propelled Photographs)

   
Live at the Paradiso (cd - Turning Point Music, UK, 2002)
Soft Machine '69 - limited edition lp (Priscilla Records, UK, date unknown)


Live at the Paradiso (cd - Retroworld, UK, 2015)
(lp - limited purple vinyl - Real Gone Music, UK - 2017)
In 1969 I saw Soft Machine on Dutch television performing the music of Volume Two (you can read that story elsewhere on this site) and was immediately fascinated. I didn’t know they also gave a concert at the famous Paradiso, but they visited my country several times in that specific year. In 1988 I suddenly found a cd ‘Soft Machine Turns On, Recorded live at Paradiso’ in a record shop (those were the days). That’s THE concert I thought after hearing it. Volume Two, my favourite Soft Machine album, performed live – almost the complete record! Without winds and all the effects, but what a hell of a concert. I didn’t know I just had bought an illegal cd, but the story of that concert and its releases is a rather strange one. Hugh Hopper describes it in the booklet which comes with the authorised release on BluePrint (Voiceprint) records in 1995. Someone in the audience recorded the concert and asked the band if they had any objections in releasing it. Of course they had! But the guy released it anyway. No money for the band, which should have been. As it goes with bootlegs, someone else copied it, released it again, used another cover, and so on. “Beat the boots” Frank Zappa said and he released various bootleg discs himself. That’s why we had yet another release of the Paradise concert in 1995, but this time it was an official one. Hugh Hopper: “Our turn now, fellas… “ Lucky for us we also got a better sound. It is a heavy sound, thick with fuzz pedals from both organ and bass. Hugh plays as much solo parts on his bass as Mike on his organ. Robert ads his recognizable drum fills and sings. His voice is sometimes drowned in the violence of fuzz pedals and something he is out of tune, but in the softer parts his voice is clear and in tune. One of the excuses is that Soft Machine played very, very loud and the musicians wore earplugs. Because of that the public went deaf, temporarily that is, but thus, they experienced the Machine complete. The first part of the concert starts with ‘Rivmic Melodies’, which is great because that part was only played in the beginning, later on they skipped it in favour of ‘Esther’s Nose Job’. Maybe because Rivmic Melodies is even more complex and lacks the drive Esther has. Also remarkable is the fire engine, which passes twice with his bells clanging, the fire hadn’t been extinguished yet. And when you’re having fun it’s always a drag to go to your bedroom, although it has been 10.30 a long time ago. This track goes on for over ten minutes and contains a long and real drum solo. Sometimes Robert mad a parody of the so called drum solo and played the same pattern over and over again, a little bit like ‘I did it again, and again, and again’. Live at the Paradiso is one of the better live recordings of Soft Machine, if you had to choose one, this is the one, mostly because it’s vibrant and rough, still new and not a routine yet. A door opens….

p.s. One question: what is Elton Dean doing on the back of the booklet? He wasn’t in the band yet. Why didn’t Voiceprint used one of the many pictures from Robert’s brother Mark? The booklet is full with black and white pictures of this incarnation of Soft Machine. A door closes…

Paul Lemmens © 2014