This 45-minute live fragment captures the Soft Machine at the Paradiso Club in Amsterdam circa 1969. The second incarnation of the band included Hugh Hopper (guitar/bass/vocals), Mike Ratledge (keyboards), and Robert Wyatt (drums/vocals). The trio heard here had originally been joined by Kevin Ayers (guitar) on the group's major-label debut Volume One (1968). Not only did that leave the band minus a lead guitarist but a primary contributor to the material as well. The songs are derived from Volume Two (1969), which had been recorded but not yet issued when the Soft Machine set out on tour. While the album is not replicated in its entirety, Live at the Paradiso 1969 (1995) presents a vast majority of the LP with a lean and ravenous capital A Attack. The disc commences with a swirling and swaggering reading of the Hopper-driven medley "Hulloder," "Dada Was Here," "Thank You Pierrot Lunaire," "Have You Ever Bean Green?," and "As Long as He Lies Perfectly Still." This miniature suite was abandoned prior to the creation of the Third (1970) and subsequent repertoire. Those familiar with the original studio platter will note on paper what would appear to be a slight shift in the performance order. Although the credits claim "Hulloder" and "Dada Was Here" are the first two tracks, the opposite is actually the case. This is reversed from the Volume Two rendering as well. As heard here, it works as a cohesive segue with the removal of the free-form "Out of Tunes" and the surreal acoustic ballad "Dedicated to You, But You Weren't Listening." As enthusiasts of the group are aware, this show has circulated as a bootleg for well over two decades prior to this sanctioned CD release. However, sound quality was never really an issue as a majority of the various incarnations and titles that have circulated were derived from the same source. Consumers should not be confused as the contents are also available as Live Paradise (1995).
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer