Seig Howdy! Music By Day Consumers. Since Pink Floyd seem to be ALMOST as popular as The Beatles around these here parts, it’s probably a good idea to address a couple of issues I see as being unimportant to anyone but the newly obsessive Pink Floyd fan who needs just that little bit more than the “Immersion” box sets are going to supply.
“Why Pink Floyd?”
If I didn’t have to pay rent, I would’ve bought the Dark Side of The Moon immersion set and the Wish You Were Here and The Wall immersion sets as well as the Sure to come immersion versions of Piper At The Gates Of Dawn and Animals (they must be on the way!). However, there are some good you-tube videos of people taking us on a tour of the immersion Dark Side… set, so you can feel like you know what’s going on. What they include and are going to include in the later sets are,as far as I’m concerned, brilliant, except I don’t know if I need the marbles, the laundry, and the coasters at all.
However, the idea of the 5.1 and the original quad mix of the albums (except for The Wall, the quad idea had died by then)is great and I do look forward to hearing them. The Alan Parson‘s early test mix of Dark Side…is interesting as is the fantastic live rendition of the album in 1974. Having seen them in ’87 I can also say that having the films made for certain songs would be cool as well. Those are legitimate treasures of course and as always, the packaging is top notch and likely worth the money.
But I think that EMI and the band should really embark on a live album series for the FANS. Especially those very adventurous early years where they weren’t completely in juke-b0x mode and note perfect every time. There are some great BBC and European FM broadcast recordings that capture some really great and ‘out there’ stuff. And maybe the odd audience recording of stuff that would be considered very rare and desirable. In the mean time…..
I thought I’d give you all (those who don’t already know this stuff) a head start on the best live RoIOs (Recordings of Illegitimate Origin) to get in order to complete the early Pink Floyd experience.
First of all, a quick note on Bootlegs and Piracy: Piracy is bad, i.e; selling knock-offs of official stuff and making money off of it. Bootlegs are conditionally good, i.e; producing stuff that was never meant to be released for the satisfaction of the REAL fans who have already bought all the legitimate stuff anyway. The argument that this stuff is ripping of the artist or label or lowering the good name of whoever with sub-par quality recordings is rubbish because not many people will be fooled into putting out for a boot over a real product. As a fan, those mystery tapers of the days of yore performed a great service for people like me.
I guarantee you that anybody who has any of the below, has indeed already bought Ummagumma and Atom Heart Mother.
I will admit though that making money off this stuff (as was originally the case, to cover pressing costs and make a few extra dollars) could be questionable, with the advent of the internet, this stuff is all changing hands for free now, as it should be. Fans taking care of the fans. Making the music come first. Now you can find almost anything in FLAC form and it usually comes with nicely produced CD artwork that you can download and print out for your own personal copy.
I’ve got a couple of the old vinyl with a sheet of paper boots from the old days as well as a triple vinyl boot of the concert I saw in ’87 in Toronto:
The Complete Concertgebouw Amsterdam – Sept 17, 1969
Very good sound and very interesting/experimental performance. Combined FM source and audience bits patched in, this is a complete presentation of the legendary “The Man And The Journey“. Along with cracker versions of “The Embryo” and “Cymbaline” and the rarely performed “Biding My Time” and “The Narrow Way“, they also cut wood and drink tea, live on stage!
Interstellar Zappadrive – Actuel Festival, Belgium, Oct 15, 1969
Also of note for 1969 is Interstellar Zappadrive. Recorded at the Actuel festival in Belgium, it features a rendition of “Interstellar Overdrive” with Zappa as special guest! taped from the audience but not too bad sound.
Project Birmingham – Town Hall, Birmingham, Feb 11, 1970
Probably one of the worst sounding ones ever but this one comes under our scrutiny for the fact that is contains VERY early versions of “The Embryo” and “Atom Heart Mother” when it was still named “The Amazing Pudding“. Also contains (as far as I know) the only live recording of “Sysyphus”, the main theme from “More” and a 25 minute suite of Zabriskie Point songs including the “Violent Sequent” which became “Us And Them” a couple of years later. Probably for hardcore fans only.
Too Late For Mind Expanding – Montreux, Nov 21, 1970
Combining an EMI recording and a good quality audience tape to complete the concert, this one sounds great. A two and a half hour show with lots of improv and some frightening renditions of the numbers. Include fantastic versions of “Atom Heart Mother“, “Cymbaline“, “Careful With That Axe Eugene” and a couple of 12 bar blues. A fast one and a slow one. Unusual! A fantastic representation of a late 1970 Pink Floyd concert.
Rise And Shine – Sheffield, Dec 22, 1970
A pretty good audience tape containing the only know recording of the hardly ever performed “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast“. You can hear the clinking of tea cups and all! Very lively versions of the numbers including a 30 minute “Atom Heart Mother” with full brass section and choir! Also interesting is you finally get to hear a band ‘blow out the power‘. Just as the ‘celestial voices‘ part of “A Saucerful Of Secrets” gets started, the fuses go and Mason’s drums are the only thing to be heard coming from the stage. While the crew are trying to get the power back on, Rick Wright gets on an acoustic piano and pounds away at a swinging version of the piece until the power comes back on and they continue from where they left off.
M502 – Hamburg, Feb 25, 1971
New Mown Grass – San Diego, Oct 17, 1971
Both great sounding (relatively) shows from either end of 1971! The Hamburg show contains the only full orchestra and choir version of “Atom Heart Mother” without mistakes by the brass section. Also includes a frightening version of “Careful With That Axe Eugene” and the best ever version of “A Saucerful Of Secrets” The San Diego show has what is likely the best performance of “Fat Old Sun“. Another good sounding show.
Here They Come – Brighton, Jan 20, 1972
The Complete Rainbow Tapes – London, March 17-20, 1972
Here They Come is notable for being the first performance of Dark Side Of The Moon. Also notable is that the sound effects tape and click track crashed during the first verse of “Money” and they had to abandon the rest of the album and finished the 1st set with a band version of “Atom Heart Mother” instead. The Rainbow shows in March are just a record of a typical Floyd show in early ’72 with a Dark Side… quite different to the released version roughly a year later. The frame work of the album was set but arrangements weren’t quite solidified, especially for “On The Run” and “The Great Gig In The Sky“.
The sound quality is variable from night to night but by and large, not too bad. As each night goes on, too, you can hear their confidence in the new material growing. The 4th night’s version of set 1 (Dark Side…) has been the basis for numerous packagings of a ‘live’ Dark Side Of The Moon. The second sets usually include “Careful…” and “Echoes” and the odd others.
Childhood’s End – Chicago, Mar 7, 1973
So-so sound but includes a good performance of the newly released and evolved Dark Side Of The Moon and most notably, a performance of “Childhood’s End” from Obscured By Clouds. Also a ripping version of the title track “Obscured…”. Desirable for collectors. For some reason, it also includes 2 bonus performances of “Childhood’s End” from a couple of other March shows, I guess because they only performed it a few times ever.
Who Was Trained Not To Spit On The Fan? – Montreal, June 7, 1977
This is not the greatest sounding show (not terrible either) but it certainly is important! This is the show that inspired Roger Waters to build a wall in front of the stage. Leading on of course to the development of the whole Wall concept as we know it. As Waters said once: “The Audience that night were busy trying to kill themselves.” They were noisy! Compare this show to the early ones on this list.
In the past, the audience came to listen to Pink Floyd music. Pink Floyd fans went to the shows because they were interested in something different. After the success of Dark Side… the audience came to party. Rock fans now came to the concerts. And this bugged the crap out of Waters and to quite a lesser extent, the rest of them. Hear him lose his temper during “Pigs On The Wing (part 2)“. Hear as he taunts the stage climber during “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” and then spits on him (Hence, the title). “COME ON BOY!!! YEAHHH!!!” Hear him introduce “Us And Them” for the encore and encourage quiet for the quiet parts “so we can end this thing peacefully.” He talks about the “assholes” at the front making it hard for the crowd at the back. “Don’t worry about it. I don’t. Well I do but I wish I didn’t” History! And for a lot of the last bit of the show, there’s constant shouting and yelling in french to sit down!
So there you have it. You don’t really NEED stuff from ‘74 or ‘75. It will be largely represented on the live discs in the Dark Side… and Wish… immersion boxes. And The Wall “tour”, the ‘87-’88 tour and the ‘94 tour are already nicely represented on official releases. The only thing I would suggest is one of the first 4 or 5 shows in Sept. ’87 which represents the last times they ever played “Echoes” live. Within a couple of weeks it was dropped and replaced by “Shine On You Crazy Diamond“. That’s about it really.
All of the above titles have been remastered from, where ever possible, the first or second generation tapes and tweaked for a bit of EQ, fixing drop outs and adjusting speeds to compensate for temperamental battery operated tape recorders. And they’re all available and easy to find on various fan sites for FREE download, as they rightfully should be. Prepared by fans for fans. So if any of the above strikes your fancy, you’re not losing anything by going and obtaining it and enriching your Pink Floyd experience. And don’t forget to leave comments and thank them where appropriate.