Boston Gardens, Boston, MA, USA – June 27, 1977
Disc 1 (53:13) Sheep, Pigs On The Wing Part 1, Dogs, Pigs On The Wing Part 2, Pigs (Three Different Ones)
Disc 2 (76:04) Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts 1-9), Welcome To The Machine, Have A Cigar, Wish You Were Here, Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts 6-9), Money, Us And Them
Earlier this year the collector knows as JEMS released a transfer of the original master cassettes of Steve Hopkins’ recording of Pink Floyd’s concert at the famed Boston Garden on June 27, 1977, noteworthy as this was actually the first time the master cassettes have been digitally transferred without a media generation. The Hopkins tapes of both this concert and Pink Floyd’s concert at the same venue in 1975 remain two of the most vivid live recordings in the un-official Floyd catalog. This transfer, superior to all others, was shared freely to the masses via torrent sites, thankfully our friends at the Sigma label downloaded this source and have decided to improve a few flaws in the original recording, the results are found in this release.
Steve had excellent seats for this concert, he was in section AA, row 10, seat 3-4, ten rows back and directly in front of a PA stack, excellent positioning to record. Hopkins has done a digital transfer to DAT tape some years back, this transfer is the source for most circulating copies of his recording. Being so close you get no feeling of distance from the music and it has a warm and enveloping sound that instantly draws you in while also picking ambience generated by a typically raucous Boston crowd. If one was to ask me why I would take an audience recording over a board tape, this is one tape I would pull out for an example.
A recording of this caliber has been released before, Have A Cigar (Cannonball CA-200415/16) and Boredom and Pain (Sirene 159) are two of the earliest silver editions. Definitive Boredom and Pain (Sigma 65) features the Hopkins recording with a few gaps filled by the Dan Lampinski recording of the same night and in true Sigma fashion they released The Unprocessed Boston 1977 (Sigma 78), we know now that these titles were made from the master > DAT > CD lineage, for this new release by Sigma we can be assured it is now master > CD. Having not gotten myself into the quagmire that can be Sigma titles I pulled out my tried and trusty copy of the Sirene Boredom and Pain title for evaluation.
First off the sound, in comparison, the older Boredom and Pain title was amplified much more, this new transfer sounds warmer with less hiss, the range of frequencies is much better and does not have so much of the in your face loudness and is more natural sounding and does not distort at the highs like the old Sirene did, to my ears a very nice upgrade in terms of sound, very pleasing to my ears. The first 16 seconds of the concert is from the Lampinski source, the edit from once source to another is seamless. The label has also smoothed out a tape hiccup that was originally at 8:52 of the Sirene title and 9:08 of this new title, the gap at 0:19 to 0:33 of Pigs On The Wing part 1 and the big gap during Shine On You Crazy Diamond parts 6-9 at 10:41 to 15:21 are again filled with the Lampinski source. As stated the editing is seamless and well handled. The label has applied mastering to bring out just a tad bit fuller sound and is very well done when compared to the original torrent, I am sure this is also somewhat self serving as I am sure the “Unprocessed Master Cassette” will be released soon.
The performance is excellent, as most agree the band was hitting its stride towards the end of the tour, the band was stretching out and playing well together despite the constant barrage of firecrackers, very evident during this concert, and would be expanded upon in the coming days as the band rolled into New York’s Madison Square Gardens for a series of four concerts.
The packaging is typical for Sigma, full color inserts with Animals style graphics all housed in a slim lined jewel case, picture CD’s and the collectable numbered sticker are also thrown in and if that was not enough the label has also thrown in a mini tour program replica. Great mastering, sound second to none, and offering the most complete version of this concert to date, make for a must have title.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)