Another Lapse in Japan (Godfather G.R 832/824)
Nippon Budokan Grand Hall, Japan, March 2nd 1988
Disc 1 (77:33): Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 1-5, Signs of Life, Learning To Fly, Yet Another Movie, A New Machine Part 1, Terminal Frost, A New Machine Part 2, Sorrow, The Dogs of War, On The Turning Away, One of These Days, Time
Disc 2(68:00): The Great Gig in The Sky, Wish You Were Here, Welcome To The Machine, Us and Them, Money, Another Brick in The Wall Part 2, Comfortably Numb, One Slip, Run Like Hell
In 1986, the unthinkable happened. David Gilmour & Nick Mason revived the Pink Floyd moniker & made plans to record an album & head out on tour again…only this time without de facto group leader & conceptualist, Roger Waters. They enlisted former member Rick Wright, along with a cast of thousands to help create a work worthy of the band’s legacy. Cue lawsuits, bitterness & a good deal of media sniping from Waters himself.
The resultant album “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” (eventually released in 1987) was an enormous global success, firmly putting the veteran band back on the map. By September 1987 the reconstituted Floyd were back out on the road, playing to packed stadiums. The tour (which saw Gilmour, Mason & Wright augmented by a number of backing musicians) was so successful it was extended several times through to July 1989, taking in several continents and eventually grossing $ US 135 million.
By the time of the eight night Japanese tour leg in 1988 (part of the “Another Lapse…” run of extended touring), the Floyd was a well-oiled machine. Although early set lists from the 1987 dates featured a fan-pleasing version of “Echoes”, it was dropped after only eleven gigs. Typically by March 1988 the first set of each concert mainly featured material from the band’s then new album, with most of the oldies held back for the second set. “On The Run” was dropped for the Japanese run, and “The Great Gig in The Sky” was played instead.
The latest release from Godfather records (G.R. 823/824) is a two CD set featuring an excellent audience recording from the first of two nights at Tokyo’s Budokan Grand Hall. Previously this concert was issued by Sirene on the four CD-R set “AT Budokan” (Sirene-186), and on LEM’s 6 CDR “The Great Gig in The Budokan” release.
The recording is lovely and clear, perfectly capturing the atmosphere. Japanese audiences are renowned for being quiet and attentive, and this proves to be the case here. There is very little noise around the taper, aside from the occasional enthusiastic whoop & holler. It would seem from the balance of instruments and vocals that the taper was at least initially situated to the right of the stage, probably in front of Rick Wright & Jon Carin’s keyboards. Gilmour’s vocals & guitar start off a little distant, but become much clearer within a few songs. In fact, this is easily one of the best audience recordings this reviewer has heard.
The standards of performances on this tour were consistently very good, even if the choreographed nature of the shows didn’t leave much room for improvisation. “Another Lapse in Japan” is no exception. The eleven-piece Floyd ‘big band’ did attract some criticism from purists for being “Noisy & clunky”, but the arrangements of Floyd classics on offer in “Another Lapse in Japan” are actually great fun. Those of us who witnessed shows on the 1988 tour will attest to the resurrection of Rick Wright, whose brilliant playing was a definite highlight. Although removed from the impressive (and occasionally distracting) visual elements of the show, Gilmour, Mason, Wright & Co’s run through their then new material & more famous numbers does still stand up. They would arguably better the 1987-89 performances with a slightly tweaked line-up for the “Divisional Bell” series of concerts in 1994, but that’s a discussion for another time.
Highlights of this concert include a beautiful “The Great Gig in the Sky”, with each backing singer attempting to match Clare Torry’s stratospheric studio vocal, and extended, bluesy “Money.”
The discs are housed in an attractive tri-fold gatefold sleeve, decorated with contemporary photos, band portraits & tour posters. Also included in the package is a four-page colour insert (featuring sleeve notes by the enigmatic ‘Alex the Gnome’), together with a two-sided mini replica tour poster. It’s this attention to detail (alongside excellent sound quality), which makes Godfather releases so enjoyable & collectable. “Another Lapse in Japan” is a fine addition to any self-respecting Floyd fan’s collection, and a great document of the 1988 tour. Highly recommended!