Dark Side Last Tour (Highland HL571/572)
Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, WA – April 10th, 1975
Disc 1 (76:26): Raving And Drooling, You Gotta Be Crazy, Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Part 1-5), Have A Cigar, Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Part 6-9), Speak To Me, Breathe, On The Run
Disc 2 (74:04): Time, The Great Gig In The Sky, Money, Us And Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse, Echoes
Pink Floyd entered Abbey Road studios in January 1975 to record their anticpated follow up to the seminal Dark Side Of The Moon. Their intention was to polish and evolve the three songs they were playing live the previous year, “Raving And Drooling,” “You Gotta Be Crazy” and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” So the story goes their hearts weren’t into recording the album and tensions were raised when Roger Waters decided to make an artistic decision by splitting “Shine On” into two parts, dropping the other two songs, and making Wish You Were Here into a concept album. Recording of the LP went on throughout the summer before its September release and in the meantime they took two breaks from recording to tour north America twice.
The first tour was a short, three-week trek down the west coast beginning on April 8th in Vancouver and culminating with five sold out shows at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles. Dark Side Last Tour on Highland presents the complete show from the second stop on the tour in Seattle on April 10th. It is a good to very good but slightly distant recording that can be a little fuzzy at times. This presumably comes from the 1st generation tape in circulation but Highland did a good job in improving the overall sound quality making it sound better than any other version in circulation. There are small cuts on the tape between “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5)” and “Have A Cigar,” “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 6-9)” and “Speak To Me,” and “Eclipse” and “Echoes.” This was released in late 2001 and is the only silver pressed edition of the show.
The setlist is similar to the 1974 shows with the new material being played in the first half, the Dark Side Of The Moon in the second and “Echoes” serving as encore. The tape begins when the house lights go down and someone on stage (Waters?) is whistling Irving Berlin’s “There’s No Business Like Show Business” but very slow, out of key and sarcastic. The way it is whistled fits well into the attitude of the new songs and the direction the new album was heading, being a full frontal attack upon the same music industry that made them unbelieveably rich and famous. (They should have written a song called “Bite The Hand” or something). “Raving And Drooling” is a bit rusty the beginning but improves as it goes on. At about the ten minute mark Mason’s drums become predominate lending a tribal tone to the piece. There seem to be problems with the equipment and after the song Waters says, “We just, we just have to solve one small problem. It takes about two minutes before we get on.”
“You Gotta Be Crazy” comes off much better than the first song, and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5)” is introduced as another new song. In lieu of a saxophone solo in part five Wright plays a keyboard solo. “Have A Cigar” is played for the second time ever. Gilmour and Waters share vocals on the verses but Waters sings the chorus alone with cracking voice. Gilmour’s solo is different than the commercial version being much lower and chunkier before the song abruptly ends. It seems the transition into the next song still had yet to be rehearsed. At the end of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 6-9)” the audience lets out a terrific shout.
After the intermission they come back with Dark Side. This is probably what most people there came to see and they roar with approval. The long, taped introduction is an excuse for the audience to cheer along with the stage show before the first song “Breathe.” Wright takes control of “On The Run” and plays surreal sounding keyboards that sound even spookier in this recording. He again asserts himself by the end of “Great Gig In The Sky” by playing a jazzy little tune before the cash registers start sounding for “Money.” Dick Parry is absent on this song and Gilmour plays a long solo. After the proper solo he spits out heavy metal squeals and low-end funk riffs until Mason reigns him in and brings the song to the final verse.
“Us & Them” sounds gorgeous in this recording including Parry’s saxophone. The back up singers are audible in this recording beginning the verses for Gilmour to complete. “Any Colour You Like” is almost ten minutes long with an effective jam in the middle. “Echoes” is played as the encore and clocks in at almost a half hour. Parry again asserts himself in the middle before the seagull section and the finale sounds very spacey in this recording. Dark Side Last Tour (so named because Dark Side Of The Moon would be dropped after 1975) is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with artwork from Wish You Were Here on the inserts and a good live shot on the front cover. There are better sounding tapes of much better performances on silver from this tour, but having more obscure shows like this is good too and Highland did a magnificent job making a good tape sound even better.
Not sure about the rest of this show, but at least the DSotM (“Dark Side”) set seems to have a rather “syrupy” sort of sound that I personally find somewhat unappealing – I especially dislike the way the song ‘Breathe’ opens at the start in the first few/several seconds. Other than that, though, the overall sound quality is pretty good.
Thanks for this review.