To tie us Pink Floyd fans waiting patiently for the Heywood/Wromanus version*, here’s the bootleg of the Complete Rainbow Tapes.
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The Complete Rainbow Tapes [GR BOX 02, 8CDs]
Live at the Rainbow Theater, Finsbury Park, London, England, February 17-20, 1972. Very good audience recordings given the Godfather volume “boost”.
Editor’s note: These concerts happened almost a year before Dark Side Of The Moon was released in March 1973. But 1972 was the year the album was fully conceived.
Pink Floyd by the beginning of 1972 were growing tired of their stage show. In interviews leading up to the Rainbow gigs the members of the band were quoted in the press saying only “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” and “A Saucerful Of Secrets” provided any sort of challenge to them anymore. The rigidity of epic pieces such as “Atom Heart Mother,” coupled with their desire to outgrow the cliched appellation of “space rock,” lead them to compose their masterpiece, Dark Side Of The Moon.
Several times before they wanted to write an extended piece of rock theater emulating the commedia dell’arte (The Man And The Journey and Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast come to mind). Neither of the two resonated either with the audience or their own talents. But “Eclipse,” the early name for Dark Side Of The Moon, did with its explorations of human madness and vanity.
This presented almost 45 minutes of new music and, at this point, allowed them to improvise to a degree. The band began touring for the new piece on January 20 in Brighton, a full month before the important London shows at the Rainbow. Press reports from the Brighton show were not very promising since they had a serious breakdown in equipment. Melody Maker described the new piece as “not impressive” and “lacking framework and conception.” (But the report singled out drummer Nick Mason for praise).
The month-long preparation tightened up the piece and the four sold-out concerts at the Rainbow were a major success. Melody Maker called the show “Pink Floyd’s Star Trek,” singling out the light show and special effects. New Musical Express likewise mentioned the special effects and called it a “magnificent production.”
And the Sunday Times, in an almost complete reversal of Melody Maker’s assessment of the Brighton show, pointed out that Pink Floyd “have structure to their music, beauty of form” and that their new music has “an uncanny feeling for melancholy for our times.”
All four shows were recorded from the audience in varying degrees of sound quality and completeness, but only the fourth show has received much attention. Given the superlative sound quality (and its alleged BBC source), there were many vinyl and silver disc editions.
The Complete Rainbow Tapes is the first time Godfather have ventured into the risky work of boxsets. They are all around expensive, and oftentimes if an inferior tape is used for even one show then the whole set diminishes in worth to the collector. Furthermore, many boxsets fail because they collect common material and expect collectors to shell out the money for what they should already have.
Godfather avoid both of these mistakes. The source tapes in this set are all as good as possible, and most of these shows are extremely rare to find. Godfather presents the first and definitive versions of these shows in a gorgeous set. This is one of the best Pink Floyd releases to surface in quite a long time and may go down as one of the best Pink Floyd releases to ever be produced. - gsparaco at collectorsmusicreviews.
A full review of this March 2011 release is here.
Read the BigO review of the Rainbow shows here.
*Heywood/Wromanus are a pair of faithful fans who share their restoration of Pink Floyd tapes at the yeeshkul fan site. They come with the highest recommendation.
Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.
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Day 1 (GR BOX 08 A/B)
Rainbow Theater, Finsbury Park, London, England - February 17, 1972
Disc 1 (46:52m)
Track 101. Speak To Me (1.5MB)
Track 102. Breathe (3.8MB)
Track 103. On The Run (9.2MB)
Track 104. Time (7.6MB)
Track 105. Breathe (reprise) (1.4MB)
Track 106. The Great Gig In The Sky (5.8MB)
Track 107. Money (10.8MB)
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Track 108. Us And Them (9.6MB)
Track 109. Any Colour You Like (4.7MB)
Track 110. Brain Damage (4.4MB)
Track 111. Eclipse (5.2MB)
Disc 2 (71:48m)
Track 201. tuning and soundcheck (3.6MB)
Track 202. One Of These Days (11.5MB)
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Track 203. tuning and soundcheck (1.2MB)
Track 204. Careful With That Axe Eugene (20.9MB)
Track 205. tuning and soundcheck (3.0MB)
Track 206. Echoes (37.8MB)
Track 207. tuning and soundcehck (2.1MB)
Track 208. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (20.2MB)
David Gilmour - vocals, lead guitar, special effects
Nick Mason - drums, percussion
Roger Waters - vocals, bass, guitars, percussion, programming
Richard Wright - keyboards, vocals, organ, piano, synthesisers, Mellotron
This set will be shared in four parts. Look for the other three parts in the coming days.
BigO has previously shared Day 4 (Feb 20, 1972) here.
Dark Side Of The Moon turns 40 next year. To commemorate the event, EMI started the Why Pink Floyd? series which included a six-disc Dark Side “Immersion” boxset with a new remaster of the famed album plus, for the first time the original, unreleased Quad mix plus the SACD surround mix. And a Blu-Ray to boot. Rich and happy fans can buy a set here.