Olympia Stadium, Detroit, MI, USA – June 24, 1975
Disc 1 (58:53) Tune Up & Intro, 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
Disc 2 (75:14) Speak To Me, Breathe, On The Run, Time, Breathe (reprise), The Great Gig In The Sky, Money, Us And Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse, Echoes
One of the great live recording collectives is the group know as JEMS, an acronym for individual member names. We are in the age of file sharing and their gift to collectors is massive, they have maintained the directive of archiving and sharing the best possible sources of low generation recordings of a multitude of musical groups, and sharing them freely on various torrent sites. While operating under the name JEMS, it gives one a bit of privacy and while I have downloaded many of their “gifts”, I never knew much about them. In November of 2017 while browsing through one of my favorite torrent sites, I found a post for what was labeled PINK FLOYD * 1975-06-24 * Olympia Stadium * Detroit, MI * Includes Un-circulated Six-Minute “Echoes” Fragment/First Known Audio From Detroit 1973-03-05 * JEMS 8-Track Master Series Vol. Five * In Remembrance of Jared Houser (1956-2016). My interest was immediately piqued so I took a look. While reading the notes accompanying the torrent, it contained a link to a video about a taper and trader of live music named Jared Houser, the “J” in JEMS, here is that link….
… I have watched the video several times, inspired and moved by a man I have never met and never shall, a man who shared the same passion as mine, listening, collecting, and recording live music.
The torrent noted above is Jared’s recording of Pink Floyd’s second show in Detroit, Michigan at the famed Olympia Stadium in the summer of 1975 with verified lineage. During this time he was using a Lloyd 8 track recorder and would typically use 2 tapes to record a concert. As stated in the information file of the torrent, the 8 tracks tapes are gone, having not survived the ravages of time, thankfully Jared made several transfers throughout the years with the torrent source being the best of the lot. This recording has seen a previous release as All Due Respect (Sirene-219), an excellent three disc set that featured Jared’s recording on the first two discs and a different recording of the same concert from an alternate taper on the third.
This new release by Sigma is from the above torrent, it’s an amalgamation of digital transfers from previous transfers of the original tapes. When comparing this new release to the Sirene title I find that the older release has aged very well but its origin was a much older transfer and to my ears notice that the sound level is just a bit louder yet is less clear. So what does this mean, this new Sigma title is just a tad lower but the sound quality is much better. It is very clear and lacks the boomy bass frequencies while maintaining an excellent range of frequencies, to my ears a very nice upgrade. Both Sirene and Sigma used the second tape source to fill a gap in You Gotta Be Crazy, on this new Sigma title the patch is from 4:10 to 12:49. Sigma also adjusted the timbre of the second source so it would be easier on the ears, the mastering of the second source and patch seems are perfectly handled. The taper, Jared, must have been in a spot near a PA stack, at times the recording is ultra crisp and other times a bit dull as if the sound was slowly moving around thanks to the PA system, this coupled with limitations of the recording device (there were no level meters so it was blind recording) may challenge casual listeners.
This new title also debuts about one minute of pre concert crowd noise, while not musical it does give one a feeling of the anticipation to the Pink Floyd’s performance. Overall when you combine the excellence of the JEMS transfers along with the gentle mastering on Sigma, you get a really enjoyable, and improved listening experience over the older Sirene title. Pink Floyd circa 1975 were playing really well and the performances during the summer of that year found the band exploring new spaces so to speak, some musically and some human and without a doubt the tour would have lasting impact on the group and their music for the next five years.
The second night in Detroit is a very good concert, the performances of both Raving and Drooling and You Gotta Be Crazy are strong and being close to the end of the tour and the band play a relaxed concert. The new material has a more confident presentation, couple this with a pretty well behaved crowd (not much in the way of firecrackers being blasted) and we get a pleasing performance. Dick Parry’s sax solo during Shine On You Crazy Diamond part 1-5 is excellent and sounds close to what would end up on the LP. Have A Cigar is played with swagger, the song that made its debut on the first leg the previous April.
The Dark Side suite is really good, the greeting the audience give when they break into Breathe and again when Dave sings the first line is one of adulation. Dark Side being played completely is nearing its end and as Gerard pointed out in his review, the performance of Great Gig In The Sky is excellent, the Vanetta and Carlena vocal interpretation is spot on as are the wonderful fingers of Richard Wright whose playing during the piece is particularly inspired. Any Colour You Like is nice and loose and sounds like the band is just jamming with Vanetta and Carlena adding some nice vocalizations. I also agree with Gerard on his assessment of there being better recordings from this tour, this one for the committed as stated above, for those to listen, an excellent performance is here. For me this was a no brainer, I love Detroit recordings and while I have seen many shows at Cobo, the Olympia was gone before I could attend a show there.
The packaging is simple full color inserts featuring Wish You Were Here graphics and live shots of the band. You get the numbered sticker and picture CD’s, the standard lot of the Sigma label housed in a slim line jewel case. First off I employ to watch the Jared video, it is important to me that we not forget the legacy of the early tapers and now we can add Jared Houser’s name to the likes of Mike Millard, Dan Lampinski, Mr. Freezer, Joe Maloney, Steve Hopkins, Ken and Dub, true master tapers and archivist who’s passion have given us, and future bootleg enthusiasts for many years to come, a massive catalog of Rock and Roll concert history. Secondly, excellent job by the Sigma label, mastering, artwork all top notch making for a nice upgrade and certainly worth seeking out.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)