Dark Side Of The Ice (Highland HL-679)
Nakanoshima Sports Center, Sapporo, Japan – March 13th, 1972
Speak To Me, Breathe, On The Run, Time, Great Gig In The Sky, Money, Us & Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse, One Of These Days, Careful With That Axe Eugene
Dark Side Of The Ice is Highland’s version of the excellent stereo audience recording of Pink Floyd’s final show in Japan in the spring of 1972. Previously a low generation cassette was available circulating under the names Cold Front and Dark Side Of The Rising Sun, but Highland use the DAT clone of the master reel to reel that was produced fifteen years ago and only recently began circulating.
All of the music is loud and clear and the tape picks up all of the subtlty of the performance giving a lot of depth. The only negative is the tape is missing “Echoes” and cut in “Brain Damage” omitting the second verse. The inferior sounding second tape does have the missing portions and Highland could have improved this release by fixing the holes.
It’s a shame particularly because this is the best show from their first visit to Japan. There are no instrumental breakdowns and the audience is very repectful. Pink Floyd deliver one of the best early versions of their Dark Side Of The Moon suite.
“On The Run”, although a far cry from the sythnesized chaos of later versions, sounds very appealing with Gilmour’s staccato rhythms meshing nicely with Wright’s cocktail piano. The tempo for “Time” is a bit slower than the released version. “The Great Gig In The Sky” is still “The Mortality Sequence” with the Ephesians 5 reading and Malcom Muggeridge’s speech.
“One Of These Days” sounds especially heavy in this recording with some very loud explosion sounds. Some collectors have commented that Sapporo’s “Careful With That Axe Eugene” is one of the very best ever recorded. Waters lets out a very blood thirsty scream that has the audience (and me) on edge. Highland use great 1972 photo for the cover and use another on the back with a blue tint (they seem to be on a tinting fad these days with their Floyd releases).
Except for the criticism about completeness, this is a very good release by the label and well worth having. And sadly this is the final release on the Highland label, who are now producing titles as Blue Cafe. Despite some criticisms, Highland were the greatest silver label devoted to progressive rock and it is doubtful any other label will ever meet and surpass them.