A really nice preview of the show that Pink Floyd were about to unveil on the world. What a lucky man Mr. Peacock was, to be able to see this in its early stages from the front row. Read on!
The moon in… November
As the Pink Floyd set off on their British tour, Steve Peacock sneaks behind the scenes for a preview and predicts yet another triumph.
Have you ever wondered what Pink Floyd would sound like when they`re just jamming around – warming up while technicians fiddle with the PA system?
It`s somewhere between Booker T and the MGs and the Who – at least that`s the way they sounded in the early part of Friday afternoon at Elstree. The start of their British tour was just more than three days away, and in one of the big hangar-like buildings at the studios, it was last-chance day for the Floyd and their tour crew.
Quite honestly, it amazes me how a band like the Floyd ever gets on the road: Arthur Max – the `big chief` of the road crew – must have nerves of steel and a quad brain to co-ordinate the sound, the lights, the films, the people… and inevitably, Friday brought its share of teething problems. Equally inevitably, It Will Be All Right On The Night.
The Floyd have long had an enviable reputation for sound quality on tour, and this time – as Nick Mason explained – they have new refinements to the PA which they hope will advance that reputation one stage on. From Friday`s evidence, I`d say that will be the case.
In other ways too, this tour looks like pushing forward the Pink Floyd`s reputation – as a band. The first half of the programme will be entirely new stuff – 45 minutes or so, which divides roughly into three pieces: “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, “Raving and Drooling”, and “Gotta Be Crazy”. Roger Waters` new lyrics for these songs are among the best he`s written – still with the barbed directness of his “Dark Side Of The Moon” words, but with subtler, and consequently greater, effect.
“Gotta Be Crazy” is perhaps the strongest, lyrically – a kind of catechism of traps and pitfalls – and the music fits it perfectly: it alternates between angry, fast, chopping sections with Dave Gilmour playing fast, savage chord parts and slow, almost sombre sections led by Roger`s bass parts. Dave Gilmour and Rick Wright have excellent solo breaks, and towards the end there`s a section where they make the best use they ever have of the group`s voice power, with Roger singing the lead lines and Dave and Rick echoing.
The second half is “Dark Side Of The Moon”, with the new tricks and jerks. Earlier this year the Floyd tried “Dark Side” with film during a French tour and decided the idea was sound: during the Summer they worked out new pieces of film and they`ll use these for the first time on the British tour.
The screen is like a giant bass-drum skin which stands centre-stage behind the band, with the film back-projected. As the heart beat starts, a moon appears on the screen, growing bigger and bigger until it fills the whole area and disappears, to be followed by a moving development of the sound wave pattern that runs across the centre-fold of the album cover.
The second, and most outstanding film sequence, comes during “On The Run” and leads into “Time”. It starts with lights – street lights, car lights, flashing lights on top of police cars, airport and aircraft lights… a bewildering, dazzling succession. You then move through a kind of cloud tunnel towards a planet and just as the camera gets close to the surface the film switches to animation, skimming over the planet surface, over cities, between high buildings: it`s inter-cut with various scenes of urban destruction.
To introduce “Time” there`s a fantastic clock sequence which ends up with an avenue of swining pendula. Tick, tick, tick, tick… “Ticking away the moments…”
Written down it looks somewhat literal and corny but the film and the music combined is anything but corny. “Great Gig In The Sky” is accompanied by some of the underwater shots from the “Crystal Voyager” movie which uses “Echoes” in its soundtrack. Venetta Field and Carlena Williams sing the “Great Gig” part, and Dick Parry again plays sax.
“Money” has an appropriate film section, with some neat contrasts between actual notes and coins and the people who use them – or can`t get enough. And later there`s another excellent piece of staging. As they come to the end of “Brain Damage”, Roger sings “There`s someone in my head and it`s not me”, which cues in film of various politicians. The effect is frightening.
That`s the show – the new stuff, and the new “Dark Side”, which is obviously much changed as a production, but also quite heavily amended as a piece of music. The girls are used more, and more effectively, and… well, new tricks and jerks. There will be no oldies.
Oh – a word about the programme. Doubtless you will be assailed outside the hall by people trying to flog you two-colour reproductions of old Press cuttings and all the other garbage that gets touted as “special Pink Floyd souvenirs”. You are of course welcome to consume as much as you wish, but I suspect you`ll find it worth waiting for the official programme, on sale inside the hall: it`s in the form of a comic, with our heroes in various strip exploits, plus a remarkable cartoon by Gerald Scarfe, lifelines, a quiz, and the words to the three new songs.
Accept no substitute.
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Ken Boothe, Van Morrison, Pete Brown, George Harrison, Roger Glover, David Puttnam, Mott The Hoople, Bad Company, Phil Spector, Thin Lizzy, Janis Ian, Elton John.
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