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Pink Floyd – Watching The World Upon The Wall (Godfather Records GR311/312)

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Watching The World Upon The Wall (Godfather Records GR311/312)

Earl’s Court Exhibition Hall, London, England – June 16th, 1981

Disc 1: MC Intro/In The Flesh?, The Thin Ice, Another Brick In The Wall – part 1, The Happiest Days Of Our Lives, Another Brick In The Wall – part 2, Mother, Goodbye Blue Sky, Empty Spaces, Young Lust, One Of My Turns, Don’t Leave Me Now, Another Brick In The Wall – part 3, Goodbye Cruel World

Disc 2: Hey You, Is There Anybody Out There, Nobody Home, Vera, Bring The Boys Back Home, Comfortably Numb, The Show Must Go On, MC Intro, In The Flesh, Run Like Hell, Waiting For The Worms, Stop, The Trial, Outside The Wall

Watching The World Upon The Wall represents the silver debut of Pink Floyd’s June 16th, 1981 performance of The Wall at Earl’s Court in London, which was both the next to last of the tour as well as Roger Waters’ penultimate with the band (until the Live 8 reunion some 24 years later).

Previously, this show was only available via a handful of fan-produced CDR titles such as Whistlers In The Audience, Warm Thrill Of Confusion, and most recently, the Pro-CDR bonus disc Deepest Fear, all of which utilized one of two audience recordings known to exist.

Cutting to the chase here, Godfather have simply outdone themselves with this release, which is in a word, phenomenal. The tri-fold cardboard sleeve is absolutely gorgeous, adorned with powerful images from performances of “The Wall,” and there is a bonus 4 panel glossy insert with a detailed history of the album, tour, and notes on this performance. Of course, the audio content is obviously far more important than the packaging, but again, Godfather have surpassed all of their previous Floyd releases in that regard.

Sonically, this ranks amongst the very best recordings of this tour featuring perfectly captured, three-dimensional sound abundant with rich textures and crystal clear down to the slightest nuance; every instrument, vocal, and sound effect/pre-recorded layer shines through perfectly, making for an extremely rewarding, completely engulfing listening experience.

There is the occasional, barely audible patch of distortion in a couple of the louder passages, but honestly that’s only after being micro-analytical with the headphones – cranked on a stereo, I doubt anyone would be the wiser. All editing has been handled professionally, with only a handful of extremely subtle changes in aural character (some passages have a minor amount of hiss or indicate a cross-fade). All music is intact apart from “Hey You” fading in just after the first couple pick strokes of the 12-string guitar intro. The first half of Gary Yudman’s opening speech is also missing from the beginning of Disc 1, commencing with “I would like to remind you, when you do leave the theater tonight, be careful of your neighbor when you’re leaving.”

As for the band’s performance, first of all let me articulate the fact that I approach The Wall the same way as Dark Side Of The Moon in that I prefer to digest it as a complete suite the way it was intended, rather than dissecting it into individual components. Nevertheless, the band perform nearly flawlessly throughout the concert; the only minor flub I detected was at 1:09 during “Hey You,” when Gilmour accidentally mutes a note meant to sustain. It’s a great night for Roger Waters who comes across as powerful and inspired, which is crucial to performances of The Wall since virtually the entire story hinges upon his central role within it.

What typically distinguishes one show from another on this tour are Roger’s introductions to “Young Lust” and “Run Like Hell” which in this case are: “This is called Young Lust. Lust! Lust!” and “Thank you all very much. This next song’s for all the whistlers in the audience. Are there any whistlers in the audience? Let’s all have a fucking good whistle. Pffft! (attempting to whistle) Christ, I must learn to do that, it sounds like such fun. This is called Run Like Hell. I’d like to see you all getting your hands together and having a good time. Mmmm! Disco! Get down!” respectively.

Otherwise, all of the usual highlights are present (Gilmour’s “Comfortably Numb” solo, Waters’ multi-faceted vocalizations, the thunderous destruction of the wall onstage, the ecstatic audience reactions, etc.), however, in light of his recent passing, I felt it more appropriate to focus on how throughout the tour Richard Wright truly asserted himself musically, despite having been relegated to the status of a hired hand – and this evening was no exception. Wright’s subtle and tasteful improvisations truly enhance the musical experience of The Wall in a live setting; we’re fortunate to have these details captured so well on Watching The World Upon The Wall, and can only speculate how the actual studio album would’ve been elevated even further had Richard’s role been more prominent.

The extra insert included with this set claims that from this particular evening, only “The Show Must Go On” has been released officially, however the fabulously detailed book authored by Vernon Fitch and Richard Mahon Comfortably Numb – A History Of The Wall suggests that “Mother” and “Hey You” were also used on the official Is There Anybody Out There? album as well.

That aside, the real bottom line here is that Watching The World Upon The Wall is another landmark release from Godfather, whose work is consistently of the highest quality possible; this one not only warrants my highest recommendation, I’ll go so far as to say it’s essential. Bravo!

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Pink Floyd - Watching The World Upon The Wall (Godfather Records GR311/312), 2.5 out of 5 based on 6 ratings

17 Comments

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  1. Avatar of Stu1201
    Stu1201 says
    April 13, 2011, 8:37 am

    This is a superb release by Godfather. The sound is great. I have about 8 godfather floyd releases from various eras and this one has the best sound of all – ok its 1981 & not 1971.

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  2. Avatar of Plomerus
    Plomerus says
    October 7, 2008, 9:31 pm

    wpgsec…watch for the next batch of new releases my friend…ask, and ye shall receive…exciting items at that!

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  3. Avatar of wgpsec
    wgpsec says
    October 7, 2008, 8:52 pm

    I must say this is one of the best Wall shows produced so far with beautiful packaging and astonishing sound. I have to agree with Plomerus and say this is essential for fans of The Wall. I hope Godfather continue with more Floyd efforts in the future.

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  4. Avatar of Plomerus
    Plomerus says
    October 6, 2008, 10:10 pm

    The drawback of “Out Of Your Depth” is the absurd and distracting conversations of the taper and his mates…I mean for fuck’s sake, talking about ice cream in the middle of “The Wall” ? Ridiculous. Not to mention the performance flaws. It’s not dreadful by any means, but for these reasons, I don’t rank it amongst the top 5.

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    brianvy says
    October 6, 2008, 9:38 pm

    Out of your Depth” (February 19th, 1981) on Sirene is also of excellent quality.

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  6. Avatar of Plomerus
    Plomerus says
    October 5, 2008, 4:49 pm

    I concur that we’ve yet to see a definitive edition of February 28th, 1980, but most versions are pretty damn good…someone just needs to put in a little time and attention to release the “be all, end all.”

    As it stands, I’d say the top 5 Wall-era shows on silver are: Watching The World Upon The Wall (June 16th, 1981), Westphalian Wall (February 20th, 1981), The Last Few Bricks (June 17th, 1981), The Warm Thrill Of Confusion (August 6th, 1980), and for the time being Home Piggy Home! for the February 28th, 1980, but then again, I’m ok with Great Dane’s Brick By Brick or Behind The Wall too as they sound pretty good, and not as “overblown” as the Tarantura – however I’m sure that someone will produce the definitive version eventually!

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  7. Avatar of gsparaco
    gsparaco says
    October 5, 2008, 2:42 pm

    This release is in the top five, if not top three. The February 28th, 1980 tape is probably the best, but the definitive silver edition has yet to be produced.

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  8. Avatar of classicrawker
    October 5, 2008, 1:58 pm

    I have the “Behind the Wall” box set for the Nassau show and thought that was an excellent sounding recording. Is there a better silver disc version of the Nassau show out there? I also have the Sirene release ” The Last Few Bricks” EC June 17th show which is outstanding. So if you were going to rate the silver disc releases of the Wall tour what would be the top five shows by boot label?? Just curious as I happen to be a big fan of the Wall tour….

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  9. Avatar of Plomerus
    Plomerus says
    October 5, 2008, 8:23 am

    On one hand, the Tarantura release is an upgrade of sorts, but on another it’s really cranked up to an unnatural level; as you’re aware, the Sirene/Sigma (and related) lineage have been known to apply very subtle mastering techniques to their releases. Also, my theory that the intention of Ayanami/Sirene/Windmill/Sigma/Amity/etc.
    to release every show at one point or another would require a release of that show right?

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  10. Avatar of DLee
    DLee says
    October 4, 2008, 8:55 pm

    Plomerus, as for the great Nassau 1980-02-28 show, should I assume/presume that you’ve already heard Tarantura’s 2-CD digipack “Home, Piggy, Home!” that was released approx. a year ago (reviewed here by gsparaco)? Did you find it disappointing? As for myself, I was fairly satisfied with it as an upgrade.

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  11. Avatar of silverdisc
    silverdisc says
    October 4, 2008, 6:24 pm

    Oh boy , back to school for me . It’s spelled – definitely and I’m looking forward to … Anyway , I agree about the early years you mentioned and I also enjoy the 77 stuff as well – thanks.

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  12. Avatar of Plomerus
    Plomerus says
    October 4, 2008, 4:00 pm

    I wasn’t really a big fan of the era either, but Sigma 17 made me go back to re-evaluate, and Watching The World Upon The Wall only reinforced my new-found appreciation for this epic…especially considering how amazing these releases sound. That being said, nothing beats the ’69-’72 era for me, though I am a fan of ’77 tour too, but after all the recent releases focusing on ’74-’75, this was refreshing! The irony however is that we’ve yet to see an upgraded 2/28/80 show from the Sirene/Sigma lineage or anyone else recently – and that certainly warrants upgrade in my opinion!

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  13. Avatar of silverdisc
    silverdisc says
    October 4, 2008, 2:25 pm

    I’m not exactly the biggest fan of this period. Nevertheless, I still appreciate the music and I’m looking for to the arrival of this release.
    As I’m sure most everyone knows , Sirene released an excellent title from this tour 3 years ago –
    The Warm Thrill Of Confusion
    Earl’s Court
    8/6/1980
    Sirene – 063
    This is definately a nice title to add to the collection for Floyd fans – thanks.

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  14. Avatar of Plomerus
    Plomerus says
    October 1, 2008, 11:10 pm

    Regarding “Deepest Fear” – one longtime collector included it amongst his Sirene list as a promo/bonus item. I picked my copy up via the ‘Bay, and did so on the basis of the date only. What I can tell you is it does bear all of the Sirene bonus disc earmarks, but there is really no way to confirm it’s origin. Quite frankly, once you have a chance to spin “Watching The World Upon The Wall,” I believe you’ll assign “definitive status” to GR 311/312 anyway; despite having a slight bias towards Sigma’s Westphalian Wall as far as 1981 performances of “The Wall,” this Godfather release is nothing less than jaw-dropping, and should at the very least be considered on par with Sigma 17.

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  15. Avatar of DLee
    DLee says
    October 1, 2008, 7:08 pm

    Thanks very much for another great review. I haven’t received mine yet, but I should any day now. It actually should be pretty much an identical copy of the non-commercial CD-R release “Warm Thrill of Confusion”, about which you can find more info. at the following -

    http://roio.alpha.pl/pink_floyd_81-83/warm%20thrill%20of%20confusion.htm

    It went into circulation a few years ago, but very ironically somehow, despite it being an extremely clean, superb, outstanding audience recording, it was apparently circulated so sparsely that it took me a couple years to finally get it, and when I eventually did, it was via a regular postal snail-mail CD-R trade. It really deserved to be commercially released on factory-pressed silver, and so I’m very glad that Godfather has come through so well.

    I hadn’t previously heard of the pro-CD-R bonus disc release “Deepest Fear”. Was that released by Siréne? Could you please tell us more about it, or do you know where/how we can find more info. about it? Thanks again.

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  16. Avatar of Plomerus
    Plomerus says
    October 1, 2008, 8:30 am

    Both releases are fantastic and highly recommended for their sound quality, the performances, and completeness. These are among the very best recordings of The Wall period, and are of a quality that all fans would appreciate, casual and otherwise. I left a comment at the Sigma 17 review with more specific thoughts, but again, both releases are amazing.

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  17. Avatar of chambau
    chambau says
    October 1, 2008, 8:13 am

    Reading your review makes me wonder about WESTPHALIAN WALL (Sigma 17). How do you compare both Sigma and Godfather releases in terms of performance, completeness and sound quality?

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