I recall in the late '80s when CD bootlegs were just coming out that I had passed on this Pink Floyd title. Best Of Tour '72 didn't sound terribly inviting to someone living in Southeast Asia. It was only in 1998 that I learnt more about this show. It was recorded during a four-night stand at the Rainbow Theatre in London from Feb 17 to 20. Roger Waters had finally decided that the next album would not be called Eclipse: A Piece For Assorted Lunatics. Instead the programme for the Rainbow Concerts was printed as Dark Side Of The Moon. These concerts were the first public performances of the legendary album. And the quality was said to be fantastic.
"Happily, they [Pink Floyd] felt able to pronounce the shows 'terrific'. The ordinarily stolid Financial Times went further, proclaiming that 'the Floyd have the furthest frontiers of pop music to themselves'. However, their [Pink Floyd] joy was alloyed, in part, when they discovered that a quality bootleg of Dark Side Of The Moon at the Rainbow had hit the racks at all bad record shops. It went on to sell an estimated 120,000 and deterred Pink Floyd from ever developing unreleased material in concert again."
- As reported in Mojo, March 1998 "25 Years On, The True Story Of Dark Side Of The Moon".
The search began for copies of this legendary show but the CD-Rs I obtained were unspectacular and sounded muddy and there I let it rest.
A week or so ago, this show made its way to a bitTorrent site, finally remastered by Prof Stoned from one of the original vinyl bootlegs that sold 120,000 copies 34 years ago. It is obvious from hindsight that the bootlegs did not eat into Dark Side Of The Moon's potential sales.
To date, Pink Floyd and EMI, their record company, have sold in excess of 40 million copies of Dark Side Of The Moon. If anything, the high quality recording of this live concert at The Rainbow, whetted appetites of hardcore followers and spread by word of mouth that the new album was a true rock innovation.
When Dark Side Of The Moon was finally released early in 1973, the dam burst. On March 31, Pink Floyd was Number 1 on the US Album Charts. Money was a Top 20 single, Andy Warhol and celebrities came to see the band play Radio City Music Hall in New York and their show at London's Earl Court in May 1973 was packed with 20,000 fans.
Amazingly, the only high quality audio artifact from this period is Best Of Tour '72. This was a show where Pink Floyd had yet to finalise the arrangements for Dark Side Of The Moon. Included in this performance is a lengthy interlude [Travel Sequence which later became On The Run] preceding Time and another sound effects tape just before Money that has since been called "Religious Theme" with someone reciting The Lord's Prayer while a minister is administering the last rites in the background.
This early version of Dark Side was without the impressive sax solo from Dick Parry on Money nor was the idea hatched to include Clare Torry's orgasmic wails preceding Money that was The Great Gig In The Sky.
Another highlight is David Gilmour's soloing, more rock than controlled passion, fiery than melodic on Money. It would be toned down substantially and streamlined on the finished album.
While the taper has never been outed, one can make an educated guess that he used high quality stereo mics with a quarter-inch reel-to-reel deck. He must have been strategically located in the hall to capture this true stereo document. Again the absence of hall echo makes this recording clear and sharp, capturing the bottom end nicely.
When Prof Stoned got to work on this restoration he cleaned the LP carefully for over an hour using anti-static solutions. "Because both the sound quality of the original recording and the mastering
of the LP are so outstanding, I felt it would be a waste to correct anything in that aspect. This means that no further EQ-ing or compression has been applied by me. ObviousIy, I did not use any noise reduction; the big sin that made the previous (and unfortunately) common CD(r) versions of this recording sound like poop."
You now have the
opportunity to experience what 120,000 fans who bought the vinyl bootleg
of Dark Side Of The Moon felt 34 years ago. Why their anticipation did
not abate despite the long wait till March 1973 when Pink Floyd released
Dark Side Of The Moon. How music fans and their networks are now preserving
rock's history and heritage, sharing the music for free. What more can
you ask of your loyal consumers?
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Note: Text in red indicates what was finally released.
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