In terms of live music, Pink Floyd put on almost 150 concerts in 1968, but there's not much in the way of quality live recordings, officially released or not. What I've done is gather together the few songs that were recorded with top notch sound quality and cobble together a live album for the year. By chance, all the songs here were recorded on the European continent, even though most of the shows the band did that year were in Britain or the US, so I've called this album "Live in Europe 1968."
The first three songs, which make up the bulk of the music, comes from the bootleg of a performance at an international rock festival in Rome, Italy, in May 1968. It seems some songs from different bands playing at this concert were broadcast in excellent sound quality on the radio at the time. There's a similarly excellent sounding recording of the Byrds from one day later that also was played on the radio. But unfortunately, only some of the songs were broadcast, and the others apparently have been lost. It's known the band played "Pow R. Toc H." and "Remember a Day" as well, probably more, but there are no known good recordings of them.
The sound quality for the unreleased "Keep Smiling People" is merely good, not great like the others here. But I figured it was worth including because it's an instrumental, so the relatively poor sound quality isn't as obvious without vocals. Also, although you can clearly hear it introduced as "Keep Smiling People," it would evolve into "Careful with that Axe, Eugene," so I figure this early, different version needs more attention. (Other early versions of the song gave it the name "Murderotic Woman.")
The songs are arranged in chronological order. The last two songs are the only ones officially released, but they only came out as DVD extras to "The Early Years 1965-1972" box set. There are a bunch of other "live" songs from 1968 on that box set, but it turns out they're generally lip-synced performances, and only included on the DVD for their visual value.
Now, I need to explain about the editing. The songs generally sound great here, with the exception of the vocals. For the songs with vocals, other than "Flaming," the instruments came through just fine, but the vocals were too low. So I used the sound editing programs Spleeter and X-Minus to boost the vocals where I could. That worked on parts of songs where there was enough vocals heard to get amplified. But for parts of "Astronomy Domine" and "Let There Be More Light," I could barely hear anything at all. So I used BBC versions of these songs, also from 1968, to help. I stripped the vocals from those versions and patched them into these versions where help was needed. It worked because the pitches were the same, and I tweaked the tempos to make them fit, sometimes having to make minor adjustments line by line.
However, I ran into unexpected problems with "Let There Be More Light." Typical versions, including the studio recording, have three verses, with different chorus lyrics following each one. But this version had four. I found out it wasn't simply a matter of repeating one. Instead, the lyrics were all jumbled up. The first verse and chorus was the same as the studio version, but beyond that, different verses were followed by different choruses without any apparent order. I'm guessing it probably was whatever they managed to remember right at that moment. So it took more work to figure out which lyrics went where, and then patching in the clearer version where it was needed. In the end, most of the vocals on this song are actually a mix of the boosted vocals from the same version as the instruments with more patched in vocals from the BBC version. I figured I could get away with that because there already were two vocalists singing at once, so things didn't have to match exactly.
It probably sounds weird with a written explanation, but try listening to it. I hope and assume it will sound perfectly fine, with much clearer vocals than the version you'll find on the box set DVD.
The irony is that there's a different version of "Let There Be More Light" with much better vocals on that DVD that I could have used instead, if I would have known in advance how much work this would take. That's from the same TV show performance as "Flaming" here. But that version is only four minutes long, and the version I chose is seven minutes long. I wanted the extra minutes of jamming.
One more thing. The songs here generally lacked audience applause at the end. For instance, the three songs recorded in Rome had only maybe two seconds of clapping at the end before getting cut off. So, for songs like that, I pasted in the sound of cheering taken from other concerts to give the songs their natural live conclusions.
The bottom line is, there are lots of excellent live recordings of Pink Floyd from 1969 and later (the live half of the double album "Ummagumma" was recorded in May and June of 1969), but really no good live album from 1967 or 1968. This hopefully will set a new standard of sound quality for 1968. For 1967, I've taken the Stockholm concert included on "The Early Years" box set that has an excellent recording of the instrumentation but almost no vocals to be heard, and used the same technique I used here to add in the vocals from studio versions. I'll post that soon.
Also, I mentioned it in a different post, but I'll repeat it here: I just reuploaded all the Pink Floyd albums I've posted here so far. In a couple of cases I've changed the songs on it, most especially the "See Emily Play" stray tracks album. But I also fixed the volume balance between songs. It turns out those were wildly off, with some songs twice as loud as ones next to it. So if you're a big Pink Floyd fan, you might want to redownload those.
By the way, Pink Floyd played four songs for the French TV show "Bouton Rouge" in early 1968. I considered including them here, but since that was done in a studio with no audience present, I decided those weren't really live versions. They're more like the BBC versions, also done live but in a studio with no audience. So I added those to the album "BBC Sessions, Volume 2."
01 Astronomy Domine [Edit] (Pink Floyd)
02 Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun [Edit] (Pink Floyd)
03 Interstellar Overdrive [Instrumental] [Edit] (Pink Floyd)
04 talk (Pink Floyd)
05 Keep Smiling People [Early Version of Careful with That Axe, Eugene] (Pink Floyd)
06 Flaming (Pink Floyd)
07 talk (Pink Floyd)
08 Let There Be More Light [Edit] (Pink Floyd)
For the album cover, I used a screenshot taken of the TV performance of "Flaming," included here. It's not the greatest quality, but it is in color and it features all four members of the band. I had a really hard time finding any other concert photo from 1968 with all of them in it.