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Pink Floyd – Animal Cops (Sigma 30)

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)

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  1. Ps A lot of my older friends were at this show. 77 was great year for shows.

  2. It was rough at first, but after 78 there was no stopping me. My friends dad was Jon Scher’s accountant so we “lived” at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ.

  3. I feel your pain. My parents wouldn’t allow me to go see Queen and Billy Squire at The Boston Garden with my older brother and his wife in 1982. At least I have the show on bootleg now.

  4. I remember reading in Circus magazine, a story about Jimmy Page being hit by a thrown firecracker. Someone getting stabbed at a Santana concert almost prevented me from going to see Kiss at MSG in ’77. I was 13 at the time and my Mom was very nervous.

  5. it seems like 1975-78 were the firecracker concert years. I remember Ian Anderson saying “silly fuckers” during one tull show in ’78. concerts were alot different back then. a free for all actually. too young to drink (except outside in the parking lot)too stupid not to smoke weed. those days are long gone. some great concerts however. no it’s over priced nostalgia greatest hits tours with one or two original members.

  6. I’ve got the Holliday Dogs version of this and man, it must have been crazy in there that night. Firecrackers are one thing, but someone lights a blockbuster in there and I’m sure a few seats were thrown by the blast. If the crowd made it past their reckless youth, alot of them would be about 55-60 years old now, eh?

  7. I’m assuming fireworks the cause of Roger’s line flub on Dogs at the July 4th gig.

  8. Relayer67, I certainly agree those are great choices for the ’77 tour, but what about Sigma’s “Definitive Oakland”? Also, the Ft. Worth (TX) show of May 1st & the Boston show of June 27th are very nice too.

  9. Great review and comments, the NYC 77 shows are favorites and this release along with the Sirene Prog King and The Roar Ends are IMO highlights of the tour.

  10. Finally got mine a couple days ago after having waited for it to take forever to arrive. Anyway, I pretty much agree with most everything. The artwork is also impressive – not only the front cover but the rear cover as well and the photos inside too. I curiously wonder, however, if Sigma is going to continue using the old “Animals” font on the front cover of each & every single one of their ’77 tour releases. It’s cool that Sigma chose to patch up the July 4th ‘Pigs (3 Different Ones)’ with the inferior source rather than leave it incomplete or screwed-up. Overall, Sigma has done an excellent job, not only with this particular title, but with almost all of their releases so far, however, I think they still could do a somewhat better job of normalization, as the July 4th show is noticeably somewhat louder than the July 3rd one. Both Sigma & Siréne have a few releases between the two of themselves that have similar normalization issues. Still, Sigma 30 is a considerably excellent item to collect.

  11. Many thanks for this excellent review – especially satisfying my curiosity about how Sigma dealt with the numerous edits, cuts, etc. known to be on other versions of ‘Pigs (3 Different Ones)’ of the July 4th show. Mine should be arriving any day now, as it’s actually already a few days overdue (should have come by now!).

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