Chicago 1972 (Siréne-032)
Auditorium, Chicago, IL – April 28th, 1972
Disc 1 (47:08): Speak To Me, Breathe In The Air, The Travel Section, Time, Breathe In The Air (reprise), The Mortality Section, Money, Us & Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse
Disc 2 (58:57): One Of These Days, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Echoes, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
There are two tape sources in circulation for Pink Floyd’s Chicago show in 1972. The first tape was utilized by Highland on The Great Gig (Highland HL561/562) released several years ago. The sound quality is fair to good and is acceptable in lieu of anything else. But the second tape source surfaced in April, 2004 and is used by Siréne on this release is a phenomenal upgrade. This was recorded on a reel-to-reel very close to the stage and picks up the concert in astonishing detail.
The only negative about this recording is the loud bass being a bit too high in the mix. It never overpowers the other instruments and one can make the claim this is the best recorded show from the 1972 spring tour. There is a cut after “Money” and at 1:22 in “Us & Them,” between each of the tracks during the second half and a cut and fade between 19:15 to 19:18 in “Echoes.”
The first transfers of this tape were missing “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun,” but the final song of the show is present from the newer tape source and is complete on this release. The first half of the show is devoted to the material from Eclipse which wouldn’t be familiar with the audience for another year when it would be released on Dark Side Of The Moon.
The tape begins right at the opening heartbeats and the audience cheers along with the synthesizer effects before the band crash into “Breathe,” sounding very close to the final version. The following “Travel Section” is the Wright/Gilmour jam section they would play all year. Some collectors argue that this fits the atmosphere of the suite much better than “On The Run.” The jam session is a lot of fun to listen to, but the organized chaos of the VCS3 in an innovative classic that expresses more movement than conventional instruments are able to. “Time” is missing the giant buzzing clocks and Wright’s singing on the “lying supine in the sunshine” interludes are very clear.
The tape of Malcom Muggeridge is very loud during “The Mortality Sequence” while Wright plays chord progressions similar to “Celestial Voices” from “A Saucerful Of Secrets.” The coins sounds are different at the beginning of “Money” and the band have a hard time syncing up with it properly. They make an attempt, but eventually just turn the sound effects off.
Gilmour sings the melody line similar to how Waters sings it on the acoustic demo (“Get a good job with more pay and you’re okay” in particular). Wright plays a keyboard solo in place of the saxophone in later versions. “Us & Them” is particularly slow and majestic in this recording and the band follow with the finale of the suite. “Any Colour You Like” (or “Scat” as it was called at this time) is a six minute Gilmour driven piece.
During “Eclipse” someone banging on a wooden block is audible in the mix and there is audience applause after the line “rearrange me ’till I’m sane.” Overall it is an effective if slightly tired performance of the piece by the band. The second half of the show features two songs from their latest album Meddle and two older numbers. The first song is one of the heavier versions of “One Of These Days” on tape. This one almost brings down the roof.
“Echoes” is the second Meddle song played and received the loudest ovation of the evening. During the seabirds section someone keep shouting out “Pink Floyd…Pink Floyd” for some strange reason. Before the encore Waters says: “…come next time. Thank you all for coming” before introducing “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun.” Thirteen minutes of pure psychedelic explorations close the evening.
Chicago 1972 is a great release on the Siréne label and one of their best overall. It is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with dull paper inserts and is limited to only three hundred numbered copies.