Earls Court 1980 Final Night New Master Cassette (Sigma 288)
Earls Court Arena, London, U.K. – August 9, 1980
Disc 1 (54:36) Intro, In The Flesh?, The Thin Ice, Another Brick In The Wall Part 1, The Happiest Days Of Our Lives, Another Brick In The Wall Part 2, Mother, Goodbye Blue Sky, Empty Spaces / What Shall We Do Now?, Young Lust, One Of My Turns, Don’t Leave Me Now, Another Brick In The Wall Part 3, The Last Few Bricks, Goodbye Cruel World
Disc 2 (54:21) Hey You, Is There Anybody Out There?, Nobody’s Home, Vera, Bring The Boys Back Home, Comfortably Numb, The Show Must Go On, In The Flesh, Run Like Hell, Waiting for The Worms, Stop, The Trial, Outside The Wall, Outro
Mid last year a torrent was shared on a well known tracker of the sixth performance of The Wall in London, also the last live performance of 1980. Of course the Floyd would play additional dates in Dortmund, Germany in February 1981 and London in June 1981. There were already four known recordings from the August 9th show, this new recording would be the fifth and perhaps the best of the audience recordings of this date. The recording comes from a previously uncirculated batch of tapes made by a Danish taper who used excellent recording equipment and seemed to have a very good seat from which to record from. I thought a bit of the liners notes from the torrent would be of interest, so here they are:
This is a recording by a Danish taper, that go under the letter G. G is an old school taper, he’s got a large collection from 1978 and up to 2004, more than a handful of Pink Floyd, some of which has never shared before – He started out with the magnificent Sony TCD-D5 and the Sony ECM-150 mics, so the tapes sounds really great – He’s got a large collection of different bands, I’ve been lucky enough to be allowed to borrow the master tapes for converting and sharing. This first PF is from “The Wall tour” London 1980 – G. traveled with some companions to see / tape the final night – I can hear a few other Danes on the recording, G. is not sure if he ever shared this. Anyways this is a transfer directly from his master tapes.
G and his cohorts were able to get an excellent recording, the sound is slightly distant but very clear and detailed with an excellent range of frequencies, and just a very small amount of tape hiss. There is just enough audience noise so you get that nice live feel without being annoyed by talker, loud clappers, and the lot. Simply put, the atmosphere is perfectly captured. This new recording is Sigma’s second title to feature the August 9, 1980 performance, the first being Earls Court 1980 Final Night (Sigma 141), a title I do not own so a source comparison will not be used in this review, from the comments I have read online, this new recording is superior to the one used on Sigma 141.
I have a dozen or so Wall shows and do not actively seek out every Wall show on silver, and while I enjoy live Wall performances I find what I have to be sufficient. This recording by G is just too good to pass up, and when you throw in the fact that it’s a really great performance it makes the title more attractive. The band are fully at ease with the rigid structure of the performances, the sound system has been perfected in the massive Earls Court Arena and the crowd is totally into it, thankfully the English and European audiences have a more respectful way of expressing it versus their American counterparts.
Gary Yudman was the master of ceremonies for the entire 1980 Earls Court run, his introduction is not complete on this recording, missing the first half. The sounds starts off quiet but G quickly gets his microphones into position and the sound improves to excellent quality mid way through In The Flesh?. This recording has a clarity and depth to it that lends to its enjoyment, one does not get that cavernous sound that is featured so greatly on the Led Zeppelin 1975 recordings. The instruments have their own space and separation, the balance near perfect, the only ding I could give this would be Roger’s vocals are just a tad lower in the mix. The accentuating backing tapes are perfectly set in the mix, you can detect the quad sound especially during the “If you don’t eat your meat” tape.
Young Lust is introduced by Waters as “Young Love”, curiously by this point in the show the band were behind the Wall and the view from the audience was through strategically placed openings, of course the building was taking place as the music played, the Wall is nearly complete. The wife puppet took her position via cherry picker, as does the teacher. Pictures and video of this portion of the performance are very striking, the round circular screen illuminate the holes as the brick layers finish their work. The Last Few Bricks piece would be one of the few improvisational numbers, the time would fluctuate depending how much time was needed to finish the Wall prior to intermission.
Curiously, Hey You is played while the area lights were still on, Roger had this to say about the experience “Suddenly there’s all this music and you can see lights going on behind it, but you can’t see what’s happening. Standing there with a microphone with this bloody great wall in front of you about eighteen inches away, felt fantastic. I felt well shout through this you bastards, you can’t hurt us now. Perfect isolation, here behind my wall”. Gilmour receives a huge ovation during Comfortably Numb, his appearance atop the Wall was striking. Yudman’s second MC features him talking very slow, an excellent bit since Pink was in his “out of it” part of the tale.
“Do you still like the pig? He’s and old pig, but he’s still a big pig. This next tune is for all the paranoids in the audience. It’s called Run Like Hell…Run Like Hell!… It’s Called Run Like Hell!” is Roger’s introduction to the song, the crowd break their silence and clap along at the very beginning but quickly quiet down. The prerecorded music during The Trial portion of the show is well captured, certainly the band made sure this portion of the performance would feature excellent sound, you can almost feel the music surround you. Of course the audience is dead quiet, certainly entranced by what they are seeing, the deep rumbling of the Wall coming down leads to a massive ovation from the audience, an ovation that is dwarfed after the band takes their final bow….stunning.
In the lobby of Earls Court, there was a display of Gerald Scarfe artwork he had painted for The Wall, they were stolen in the early hours following this concert, one being from the album itself. These original paintings have never been recovered. For Wall enthusiasts this title is a no brainer, Sigma has done a nice job and have more or less left the sound as it was on the original torrent, always a plus. The CD’s have pictures on them, a great side stage shot and the inserts are adorned with live shots of The Wall stage shows, the rear cover has a picture that was done prior to the intermission, bright lights shinning through holes in the Wall.