Obscure Night (Siréne-171)
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, ON, Canada – March 11th, 1973
Disc 1: Echoes, Obscured By Clouds, When You’re In, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Careful With That Axe Eugene
Disc 2: Speak To Me, Breathe, On The Run, Time, Breathe (reprise), The Great Gig In The Sky, Money, Us & Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse, sound check, One Of These Days
Obscure Night is Siréne’s definitive version of Pink Floyd’s concert in Toronto on March 11th. This show roughly coincides with the release of Dark Side Of The Moon (released on March 24th, 1973) and their ascension into rock superstardom. This show is also well known as the “yeeshkul” concert, named for a fan close to the taper who continually shouts that out over the course of the show. Nobody has been able to give a satisfactory explanation of that word, but it is useful for distinguishing this show from all the others on this tour. Sirene use the DAT clone of the master cassette which has been circulating for quite some time.
The sound quality is a beautiful stereo, full of dynamics and gives a clear, powerful and three-dimensional record of the performance that night. Other commercial releases of this tape include A Lunar Eclipse (HL544/545) on Highland and Maple Prisms (STTP 144/145) on Shout To The Top. The former runs at an incorrect tape speed (too slow) and the latter sounds very flat and lifeless.This release by contrast runs at the correct speed and is wonderful to hear. The tape has two minor cuts. The very beginning of “Echoes” is cut off omitting the “pings”, and a small cut at twenty-nine seconds in “The Great Gig In The Sky”.
The press gave this show very good reviews. The Toronto Globe And Mail reported the music was “transplanted San Francisco acid rock complete with a middle sixties style psychedelic light show” and The Toronto Star claimed “the machinery stole the show.” The previous year Pink Floyd dedicated the first half of the show to the Dark Side Of The Moon suite but moved it back at the album’s release and open this show with “Echoes”. This song serves as the set opener for the first week and is followed by “Obscured By Clouds” and “When You’re In”. These two songs would correctly be moved to the opening slot for most of the year. “Careful With That Axe Eugene” is very powerful and has one of the more clear articulations of the lyrics.Pink Floyd didn’t play Toronto in 1972 so this is the debut of Dark Side in the city. By this time it is in its definitive form and is received enthusiastically. The audience in particular enjoys the VCS lead “On The Run” with its light show. The band didn’t have a saxophonist on the spring tour so some songs lose their power.
“Money”, in particular, simply has the instrumental accompaniment with the solo left blank. Why they didn’t fill the space with an extended Gilmour guitar solo or a Wright keyboard solo is a mystery. “One Of These Days” is one of their best live pieces and serves as the encore. Siréne have been issuing their titles with either the glossy or dull paper and Obscure Nighthas the latter. They also utilize photos from the Earl’s Court gig later in the year that are well worn even by this label and make me wonder if there were photographers at any other show? Regardless this is a great title and is limited, as are most Siréne products, to only three hundred copies worldwide.
As a bonus with Obscure Night Siréne includes a cdr copy of a four track promo EP issued by Harvested Records in the UK in the summer of 1973. The back cover says: “PINK FLOYD’S latest No.1 album, DARK SIDE OF THE MOON went platinum a few months after release-with smash sales surpassing three times those of a standard gold album. Here are four representative selections taken from the DARK SIDE OF THE MOON LP… Edited down for your airplay convenience.” Three of the four are edited with none being more than three and a half minutes and are in mono. “Time” has the second verse edited out and the beginning edited to the end with a fade. “Breathe” is complete with the opening to “On The Run” at the end with and a fade out. “Us And Them” has the long instrumental passages between verses edited and fades out during the piano solo. “Money” has the expletive and saxophone solo edited out. This was copied straight from a very good copy of the vinyl with some surface noise evident. It is a good bonus disc to go along with Obscure Night.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)