Animals On Empire (Godfather Records GR439/440)
Empire Pool, Wembley, Middlesex, London, England – March 18th, 1977
Disc 1 (50:14): Sheep, Pigs On The Wing Part 1, Dogs, Pigs On The Wing Part 2, Pigs (Three Different Ones)
Disc 2 (61:19): 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, Us And Them
Pink Floyd played only nine dates in the UK during the Animals tour; five in Empire Pool in London and four in Stafford. Animals On Empire on Godfather documents the fourth of the five London show. Two tape sources are in circulation but the label use the better of the two. (The other source is incomplete and sounds much worse). It is complete audience recording that is very clear and close to the stage.
The beginning of “Dogs” is somewhat muffled due to the taper checking the tape in the recorder but it is nothing serious an Godfather did an impressive work to minimize it. In general Godfather improved the fidelity and produced a very enjoyable and overall excellent Pink Floyd title.
The London shows were very important on this tour because, as Pink Floyd manager told Melody Maker, “After all other concerts are just concerts, but this is their home ground. When they play in London it’s got to be right.” The band played in Wembley in November 1974 and hated the venue so much they vowed never to play it again.
Originally they wanted to play in either Earls Court or Olympia but neither venue was available so they settled for Wembley again. Before the first London show they were harassed by the Greater London Council (GLC) who had safety concerns regarding the giant pig and the light show.
The results of these pressures on the band amounted to what one letter to Melody Maker complained about the mechanical performance. This is true for the first song of the night “Sheep” which plods along, but things warm up soon after.
“Dogs” sounds much slower than in other performances because they take their time extracting every bit of commentary from the notes. It reaches the twenty minute mark with some inspired by playing by Gilmour stretching out the solos in the middle. “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” likes wise is very good, notable for the venom in Waters’ vocals. And in the end he shouts out “23,” numbering the Animals performances.
The second half of the show continues strongly. Again, the band take their time with “Shine On Your Crazy Diamond Parts 1-5.” Someone in the audience lets out a strange yell at the beginning of “Welcome To The Machine” which sounds massive in this recording.
“Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 6-9” has an effective call-and-response game of echo between Gilmour and Snowy White. Their little games on guitar sound very effective in these shows. The only encore is “Us & Them” which lasts about eight minutes long.
Pink Floyd also occasionally played “Money” as an encore and, most frequently on the upcoming US tour, would play them both in sequence. The slow paced “Us & Them” doesn’t really work as a solo encore however and is a bit of a let down compared to the intensity of the rest of the show. Nevertheless this is a good middle-of-the-run Wembley show.
Godfather have done their best Pink Floyd remastering work for this title and is worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)