The Dome, Brighton, East Sussex, UK – January 20, 1972
Disc 1 (46:44) Speak To Me, Breathe, Travel Sequence, Time, Breathe (reprise), The Mortality Sequence, Money, Atom Heart Mother
Disc 2 (65:24) “One, Two”, Careful With That Axe Eugene, One Of These Days, Echoes, A Saucerful Of Secrets
One of the joys in listening to ROIO’s (recordings of illegitimate origin) is the ability to hear unique performances that were either never officially recorded or if they were, the artist would never think of releasing them to the masses. What makes an ROIO even more precious is when it contains the piece of musical history, such is the case for Sigma 167. For this release the label presents the very first performances, albeit in aborted form, of The Dark Side Of The Moon. A recording of this importance is sure to have several releases, but surprisingly I know of only a couple, The Darkside Rehearsals (Triangle Records PYCD 065-2) was the first back in the early 90’s, Eclipse Of The Darkside (Gold Standard DEEPSIXooo) is the version I have and only features the Brighton material and the full Darkside from the following evenings performance in Portsmouth. Travel Sequence (The Swingin’ Pig TSP 300-19) and Umbrella Required (The Swingin’ Pig TSP300-26) are single LP vinyl releases that make up most of the concert.
The recording featured here was made by B Cooper and is of excellent quality, clear and detailed with a perfect balance of instruments. There is a bit of hiss but is most noticeable in the quieter sequences, such as the long opening of Speak To Me and on the second disc and there is some occasion distortion. The recording is complete save for there are tape stops between each of the songs on the second disc, yet most of the tune ups are present. The atmosphere inside The Dome is wonderful, people who are ready to experience The Floyd and while the evening does not turn out the way they wanted it to, the concert is a success. This release is an upgrade in dynamics over my old Gold Standard title and from what I have read is a big upgrade over the old Triangle title. There is a second recording known to exist, it is incomplete last just over 60 minutes and is merely average in sound.
There is a very long Speak To Me that opens the concert, the audience chats about what they are seeing as the heartbeats around them, you can feel the excitement in the air. The band arrives with Breathe, there are a couple words different and David sounds as if he is struggling to get them correct. The Travel Sequence is a nice jazzy jam, Richard Wright plays notes that sound like they are floating down a tranquil stream, interesting that Gilmour does not play leads yet the whole band gets into a nice rhythmic jam, I love how it comes to a complete stop and nothing, you could hear a pin drop then off in the distance the sound of a ticking clock. Time is very effective, although David and Richard have trouble syncing the voices. The playing on the song is superb with some very nice leads from Mr. Gilmour, he does some scat vocals over his leads also that is interesting. The Mortality Sequence is short and as it fades the buzzing begins and while you cannot see, I am sure the roadies were running around trying to fix it, Money starts as if the band are looking around and wondering, is it fixed? Gilmour starts to sing but it is obvious it will go nowhere and the band repetitively jams on the riff until they abandon the piece, eventually the buzz stops and the audience applauds. The first live attempt at Dark Side Of The Moon is over. After some tuning the band continue the first set, as Roger explains “Do to severe mechanical and electronic horror we can’t do anymore of that so we’ll do something else”. The band plays a blistering 15 minute version of Atom Heart Mother, good old school small band version to complete the set.
The second CD and set begin with Roger addressing the audience and the fact that they aborted the new piece, he tells them they will be back later in the tour to make amends (they most certainly do on June 28 and 29 1972, see and hear the first show on Eclipsed By The Dome on Godfather Records G.R. 481/482), he also speaks of adrenalin, this will be the case in an aggressive Careful With That Axe, Eugene. The sound envelops the audience as you hear the sound surrounds them, and you via the Azimuth Coordinator. The crowd warmly greats One Of These Days, the loud thundering effects certainly distort the recorder and when I first listened to it, you can really feel them, Nick’s vocal is very clear and the fast based ending is ferocious with Dave playing some tasty slide guitar to perfection. Echoes is near perfection, laid back and just really flows, it is hard not to just get up and holler in joy! Roger tells the audience goodnight to a loud ovation. The band would return for an encore of A Saucerful Of Secrets. The music inspired by the vastness of space, the beginning is beautiful, bleak organ, cymbals, and some of the most inventive effects David can muster from his guitar, played like some form of avant garde jazz where everyone plays something a bit different yet it all homogenizes in an organic way. Nick Mason’s drums are not buried like so many recordings giving the piece real depth, in fact the whole piece has wonderful clarity not found in many recordings due to the bombastic nature of the song. The entire middle section is really wonderful to hear in all its glory, thanks to the excellent acoustics of The Dome (why do they call it the Dome? Search it and you can find many pictures as it looks to be a wonderful venue). Well there you have it, first show of 1972 and while there were issues, Pink Floyd sound rejuvenated by their new work and seem eager for their fan base to hear it.
The packaging is typical Sigma, inserts in a slim line jewel case, the art work is based upon DSOTM, black with the coloured streaks going from side to side, simple yet effective. The orientation of the art work also ties into Sigma 168, but more on that one later. Lets face it, this concert is a historical document, presented in excellent quality and, for me, is one of the best Sigma releases in a while and certainly a must have.