Animal Cops (Sigma 30)
1977 was Pink Floyd’s busiest tour year of touring in four years and among their biggest in the Roger Waters era. Beginning in Europe in January right when Animals was released, they spend almost six solid months on the road playing in the world’s biggest arenas. Many of the shows in the beginning and middle are sublime examples of arena rock with starling performances in excellent quality recordings.
By the time the tour come to its conclusion with four shows in New York’s Madison Square Garden (their only shows in that venue during the Roger Waters era) the stress began to show in Waters’ increasingly short temper and very loud outbursts to the audience.
The habit of audience members throwing firecrackers during concerts was exacerbated of Independence day weekend. And added to this, with New York State decriminalizing the possession of personal use amounts of marijuana made for an interesting set of events in the Garden over the final two days. Animal Cops presents audience recordings from the third and fourth New York shows.
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – July 3rd, 1977
Disc 1 (53:07): Sheep, Pigs On The Wing 1, Dogs, Pigs On The Wing 2, Pigs (Three Different Ones)
Disc 2 (75:46): Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 1-5, Welcome To The Machine, Have A Cigar, Wish You Were Here, Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 6-9, Money, Us And Them
The July 3rd show exists in a very good audience recording taped very near the stage. It was released many years ago on Pigs Might Fly (Shout To The Top STTP 128/129) but Sigma is much welcomed upgrade over the older release. There is a slight degradation in sound in “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” from 11:32 to 11:38 and at 13:41 and a small cut at 12:37. There is a slight deterioration in sound at 2:10 in “Wish You Were Here” and a cut at 8:18 in “Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 6-9.”
A review in the New Musical Express in England mentioned this specific show stating: “Not only was it the eve of July 4th, but also it was the week that marijuana had been decriminalised in New York State. The surprisingly young audience was thus inevitably out of it.
“Blitzed young men from the Bronx would periodically rise to their feet, extend their clenched fist and bellow ‘Floiiiid!’ before sinking exhausted back to their seats. July 4th is, of course, the US equivalent to November 5th – it’s when all the fireworks go off. Quite a few had brought them into the Garden, and even before the concert began firecrackers were spluttering in the upper tiers.
“The fireworks were making the audience a bit edgy – those of them that could still feel anything – and it was a while before the Floyd were able to pull together the 20,000 sell-out crowd and get them involved. Gilmour seemed able to use the tension to put an edge on his guitar licks, but Waters was obviously not happy. Roger’s lyrics came out through clearer and louder than any others of the evening: ‘You stupid mother-fucker!’ he bellowed. ‘And anyone else in here with fireworks – just fuck off and let us get on with it.'” (NME “In the Flesh”).
The tape cuts in during the announcer’s warning the audience, “…without which they’ll leave the stage. Violation of their personal request will only cause a delay of their performance. On behalf of Pink Floyd we thank you.” “Sheep” begins the performance and during “Pigs On The Wing Part 1” the first of many very loud bangs go off. “You cunt” Waters says in response.
There is another loud bang during “Dog” and one at the beginning of “Pigs On The Wing Part 2.” “you stupid mother fucker, just fuck off” he yells. He picks up again but starts singing the first half of the song. “I stop and then begin, this is the wrong verse” as soon as he realizes he’s singing the first verse of Pigs On The Wing Part 1, “because of the motherfucker.” After “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” where Waters simply spits out the lyrics with unusual venom he says, “thank you, we’re gonna take a break. 20 minutes and then we’ll come back with another set. And don’t throw anymore fucking fireworks, alright?”
The second half of the show with Wish You Were Here fares much better than the first. Not only are the audience more calm, the band deliver a much more interesting performance. Wright includes subtle and inventive keyboards in the latter half of “Welcome To The Machine” and Gilmour plays a unique solo in “Have A Cigar.”
Waters tunes in to a talk radio show during the interlude and letting a feminist talk show play out long enough to elicit a chuckle from the crowd (especially when the female caller says she’s from New Jersey). “Since On You Crazy Diamond Parts 6-9” are also impressive, so much so the taper lets out with a loud “wow” at the end. A loud bang greets a very delicate and quiet version of “Money” and a very loud one greets “Us And Them.”
Before the final encore Waters says, “for all of you who didn’t bring your fireworks thank you for coming. We’ve enjoyed it.” The tape confirms the NME review as being very uneven with sublime performances coupled with a mundanely which might be attributable to the fatigue the end of the tour.
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – July 4th, 1977
Disc 3 (49:46): Sheep, Pigs On The Wing 1, Dogs, Pigs On The Wing 2, Pigs (Three Different Ones)
Disc 4 (75:37): Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 1-5, Welcome To The Machine, Have A Cigar, Wish You Were Here, Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 6-9, Money, Us And Them
The July 4th show was previously released on Holiday Hogs (Shout To The Top STTP 136/137). Animal Cops is a two source mix. The main tape is an excellent, three dimensional audience recording with fantastic atmosphere. The second lesser quality tape is used to fill holes in “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” from 11:46 to 12:30 and from 13:31 to 14:20 and used for the first minute of “Money.” There is some degradation in sound at 3:40 in “Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 6-9″ and a cut at 10:49.
The final New York show is much more consistent than the third with startling performances in the first half. The fireworks are still present but not as intrusive with Waters reacting to one in “Pigs On The Wing Part 2” with a curt “you shitbag.”
The weight of the first half falls again upon “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” where the guitar solo is a spectacular pyrotechnic display of Gilmour’s virtuosity pushed passed the six minute mark. In this track, and throughout the entire performance, Gilmour responds to the firecracker blasts by simply playing much louder and, in the words of one reviewer, blow the roof off the Garden.
The do become more creative during the second half of the show with Gilmour playing a unique eight minute guitar solo during “Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 1-5” before the segue into the spacey “Welcome To The Machine.” The audience’s reactions to the Gerald Scarfe animation is audible on the tape. The transition from “Have A Cigar” into “Wish You Were Here” is a bit strange since it lacks the radio scanning.
“Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 6-9,” with the guitar and subsequent keyboard melodies provide the show with much welcomed catharsis and release. Overall Animal Cops is a release which Pink Floyd silver collectors have been requesting for years and Sigma have produced a very nice edition of these two shows. Packaged in a fatboy jewel case, they use rare photos from the Animals tour displaying the massiveness of the events.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)