24 May 2009, Plomerus @ 10:28 pm
Respect For These Knights (Godfather Records G.R.372)
The Copenhagen Secret Gig, Annabel’s Disco and Night Club, Copenhagen, Denmark – August 1st, 1988
01. Respect, 02. Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, 03. Blues, 04. My Girl, 05. Rock Steady Medley: Rock Steady, Rapper’s Delight, Le Freak, Rock Steady, 06. Master Blaster, 07. Superstition
Syd Barrett Tribute, Barbican Centre, London, UK – May 10th, 2007
08. Flickering Flame (Roger Waters and Jon Carin), 09. Arnold Layne (David Gilmour, Richard Wright, Nick Mason), 10. Bike (David Gilmour, Richard Wright, Nick Mason with all musicians)
Godfather Records have presented us with quite a curious release in Respect For These Knights, in that it is essentially an album of Pink Floyd members doing cover songs during a secret gig in Copenhagen, Denmark after their regular performance at Gentofte Stadium during the “Momentary Lapse” tour, and as an added bonus included the tracks from the Syd Barrett tribute performed by the surviving members of the band.
Throughout the course of the tour, David Gilmour, Richard Wright, and occasionally Nick Mason (along with the full cast of touring musicians) performed secret club gigs to blow off steam, have fun, and “jam” like in the early days. It is interesting to consider that both the early Floyd, and Gilmour’s previous band Joker’s Wild performed quite a few blues, RNB, and pop covers when approaching these side gigs as a listener now, as they provide a glimpse into the diverse musical backgrounds of the players.
Personally, I’m quite sure that for the main Floyd men, it was also a liberation from the precisely structured tour – no lighting cues, click tracks, sequencing (etc.) – instead chances to just “go off” which unquestionably eased some of the rigors of the road and soothed the pressure placed upon them by Roger Waters’ threats of legal action for continuing without him.
Godfather have provided us with some incredibly insightful liner notes that I’ll reproduce here, detailing the history of these secret shows under the moniker The Fishermen: “The mega-tour following Pink Floyd’s rebirth (which began in September 1987 and extended through the summer of 1989), resulted in some very interesting side-trips into musical territories seldom explored by the group; on several occasions, the members of Pink Floyd slipped into local clubs after their primary concerts and delivered musical gems to a few unsuspecting, lucky attendees. Dubbed as “The Fishermen,” the Floyd members, undoubtedly inspired by the young musicians touring with them, along with the need to break from the monotony of their meticulously calculated, structured stadium shows, threw caution to the wind and embroiled themselves in fun, impassioned jams at these surprise appearances, with setlists running the gamut from Soul andRNB standards to timeless Rock classics.The first of these ghost shows took place on October 11th, 1987, at New York City’s World Club after Floyd played the second of three shows in East Rutherford, New Jersey (which we did not include here due to the poor sound quality of the mastertapes). The next surprise gigs took place in 1988 during the Australian leg of the tour. These included a show in January at the Round Midnight Club in King’s Cross, Sydney as well as two additional shows in February at the Corner Hotel in Richmond, Melbourne. The first Richmond gig featured guest appearances by Roy Buchanan and Vanetta Fields, one of Floyd’s backing vocalists during the 70s. At the second show, they performed “I Shot The Sheriff”, “Unchain My Heart”, “Superstition”, “Good Lovin’ Going Bad” and “Reeling In The Years” among others. Unfortunately, we did not have access to any documents of these Australian gigs and questionwhether any recordings even exist.
The next surprise club gig occurred during the European leg of the tour, after the Floyd concert at Gentofte Stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark under usual nickname of The Fishermen. This took place at the famous club Annabel’s in the early hours of August 1st, 1988. With the exception of Nick Mason, the entire touring band performed at this venue. The gig was arranged by the Danish branch of EMI Records to celebrate the birthday of Barrie Knight (“Black Knight”), the manager of personal security for the band, who even jumped onstage to sing along! The setlist once again included Motown classics such as Otis Redding’s “Respect”, “Rock Steady”, an Aretha Franklin tribute performed as part of a medley that also included “Rappers Delight,” (a curious blend of Soul and Rap! Who could imagine this?), “My Girl”, ”Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love”, another Otis Redding tune (with Knight onstage) and two Stevie Wonder superhits, “Master Blaster” and “Superstition”. The Floyds, despite some technical problems with the audio system, demonstrated their professionalism even in a casual setting performing splendidly. This would be the last surprise show of Pink Floyd as The Fishermen.”
While I’m not personally qualified to judge the quality of The Fishermen’s interpretations, what I can say is that the performances are very loose, laid back, and clearly the musicians are having a lot of fun. One of the vocalists was correct when she said “You’ll never see anything like THIS again!” to the surely stunned audience.
Previously, this recording was available via the Pro-CDR release Atom Soul Brother (A-tera 024) and various fan-produced releases, but Godfather was correct in deeming this recording worthy of a silver pressing – it does sound fantastic, and so clear you can hear some of the onstage conversations calling out keys and so forth.
The bonus tracks from the Syd Barrett tribute nearly a decade later have also appeared on various fan-produced releases, but they do round out the disc nicely. Another interesting back story behind these, so I’ll again refer to Godfather’s liner notes: “Syd Barrett, co-founder of Pink Floyd, died at the age of 60 in July 2006 due to diabetes-related complications. Many musicians and fans gathered in memoriam at a tribute concert held in Barbican Hall, London, UK on May 10, 2007. This show, organized by Nick Laird-Clowes and Joe Boyd (producer of the first Floyd LPs), featured big names from the UK music scene including Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz), Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Robyn Hitchcock and many more – all of whom were announced as participating in the event.The biggest surprise however, was not announced publically; Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason would also perform at the concert. Unfortunately, the tensions between Waters and the other three, prevented them all from performing together onstage, despite setting their differences aside at Live8. Roger Waters played an acoustic version of his own song “Flickering Flame” with Jon Carin (a multi-instrumentalist who toured with Pink Floyd from 1987 to 1994 and with Waters himself on recent solo tours), while the other Floyds performed one of Barrett’s songs, “Arnold Layne” – their first hit single. The finale was another Syd classic “Bike,” performed together with all of the participants of the evening, including all of the Floyd members with the surprising exception of Roger Waters! When asked for an explanation, Waters expressed concerns that the audience had crowded too close to the stage – could this be proof that his own phobias which originally built The Wall were still alive or simply further evidence that the bad blood between him and his former bandmates could never be overcome? Regardless of the answer, this is the final document of the three remaining members of Pink Floyd performing together onstage, and it is with this in mind that we have included these valuable tracks from the archives here. “
I don’t think I could sum it up better myself…both of these documents are extremely valuable to Floyd fanatics, and sound good enough for casual listeners to find something worthy as well. That being said, don’t expect any deep psychedelic journeys here folks, as this is pretty much what it sounds like – a bar band doing covers, albeit involving musicians of the highest calibre.
It is worth mentioning that this release is housed in the usual tri-fold packaging, with appropriate graphics, and the extremely professional layout we’ve all come to expect and respect from Godfather. They’ve also included a separate 4-panel insert with the information on the Barrett tribute.
When all is said and done, this is another exciting silver debut from Godfather and while very little Floyd music is contained within, it does offer an entirely different perspective of these fantastic musicians – both the Floyd members and hired hands. Beyond that, the historical value, sound quality, and beautiful packaging certainly make Respect For These Knights worth looking into.
As an aside, I have to commend Godfather for continuing to give us Floyd collectors something “new” instead of just rehashing past releases like most of the other labels (of course, those have their place too when they are actual upgrades). It’s always exciting to see what Godfather will come up with next! Cheers!If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)
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