Pink Floyd – Earls Court 1981 2nd Night New Master Cassette (Sigma 289)

Earls Court 1981 2nd Night New Master Cassette (Sigma 289)

Earls Court Arena, London, U.K. – June 14, 1981

Disc 1 (56:55) 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 (61:28) 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

This new title from Sigma is the second release featuring new recordings from Pink Floyd’s live performances of The Wall. Like Sigma 288, it is from a previously unknown taper who is identified only by an initial, G. We know he was a Danish taper who used good gear, a Sony TCD-D5 and the Sony ECM-150 mics and these sources come from fresh transfers from his master tapes. G is know to have taped three Wall shows, this recording captures the second night in London June 14, 1981. The other show G taped was Dortmund February 14, 1981, the only recording that has not seen a silver release.

G had great position for this concert and again gets another excellent capture, the recording quality is perfectly balanced, clear, and very detailed. The sound is vivid with vivid instrumental separation, I do pick up a bit of that Earls Court echo, but just a bit. Like his August 80 recording, the sound effects and backing tapes are perfect in the mix, a very important part of these performances. There is just a tad more crowd noise around him and one can hear some boisterous fans in the distance, but nothing that interferes with the recording or one’s enjoyment of it. Overall an excellent recording that sounds great when played loud or at lower volumes, I believe this concert is making its debut on silver, but cannot be certain.

The second round of Earls Court dates in 1981 were done specifically to film them for use on a proposed Wall movie which was scrapped in favour of a traditional adaptation of the record. Sadly, much of the footage that was professionally shot hasn’t seen the light of day in official capacity, it is known that Roger Waters did have the film and audio and some work was done to get a “complete’ performance cobbled together from the footage. What has been released is an official live record, Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980-81 recorded during the 1980 and 81 Earls Court shows. Empty Spaces, What Shall We Do Now?, and Comfortably Numb are all culled from the June 14, 1981 concert.

The first two Earls Court 1981 shows featured Nick Mason’s drum tech Clive Brooks playing drums for The Shadow Band as regular sticksman Willie Nelson was ill. Brooks played with the Groundhogs in 1972-1974, the excellent Blues, Rock, Psychedelic band whose 1971 album Split is an essential record for Rock enthusiasts. Gary Yudman is again the master of ceremonies for The Wall’s last stand, he will use his improvisational speaking skills on this evening. G also captures the complete Gary Y introduction at the beginning of the concert, the crowd is rather impatient and begin cheering half way through which drowns out his introduction on this source, the surrogate band take the stage on the “third” attempt by Yudman. The audience respond loudly at the conclusion of In The Flesh? as the “real” Floyd appear on the illuminated stage.

This recording has an excellent bottom end and has a power not found on G’s August 9, 1980 recording, this bombastic bottom end works nicely giving much of the louder songs a real punch. The jam during Another Brick Part 2 is very nice, lots of great interplay between David Gilmour and Snowy White on guitars as well as Richard Wright and Pete Wood on keyboards, this jam is one of the less structured pieces on the evening, they are being under the constant supervision of The Teacher. It is during this song that the brick layers begin their construction of the Wall. There are a few responses heard during Mother, mostly during the first verses, nothing like the American versions where the response was loud. It’s interesting on how the sound is so intimate in a 19,000 arena.

As usual Comfortably Numb is a huge favorite, both in a musical way as it’s a beautiful song, but visually it was stunning, when David breaks into his first line there is a huge ovation, high on top of the Wall. Yudman’s introduction to the mid second set In The Flesh was quite long clocking in at a nearly 10 minutes. The hydraulic lifts used to raise the band’s equipment in front of the Wall malfunctioned, the issue was only partially corrected and the musicians had to work hard to use effects pedals and even reach their microphones. Yudman did a brilliant job on improvising a five plus minute monologue, Roger addressed the delay prior to Run Like Hell, “I wish we could say we were sorry for the delay, but we’re not that sort of group. Go home piggy. Do you like our pig? This next tune is one you can all clap your hands to. It’s for all the paranoids in the hall, this is to you and it’s called Run Like Hell”.

The audience is very quiet for The Trial and together with the prior song, Waiting For The Worms, featured the most visually impressive sections of The Wall stage film, marching hammer, devastation, and the Trial itself with the teacher, the tortured wife, and loving mother all pleading their cases. A quiet bit of laughter is heard, obviously marveling in what they are witnessing. The judge has the final say, one of the more unique character designs by Scarfe. As one would expect the ovation after Outside The Wall is massive and you feel the presence of the 19,000 strong, Roger gives a “Thank you very much, thanks…Good night”. 

The packaging is excellent and is a companion piece to Sigma 288, this time David is the star of the front cover, the front insert folds open for a Gerald Scarfe illustration on the center, one of Pink being tormented, after listening to this recording, there is no torment here. The pictures on the CD’s have a straight on shot from the second half, the numbered sticker has marching hammers, just a great looking package to house the wonderful music found within. Let’s hope Sigma releases the G master of Dortmund Feb 14, 1981, we need it.

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  1. Sigma 289
    • Pros
    • debut of show on factory-pressed silver; great sound quality, above average for an audience recording
    • Cons
    • not SBD

    Actually, the Feb. 14th show in Dortmund has been released as “Tear Down the Wall 1981” on the Zeus label, which was released very early in 2000, And unless there’s a pressed silver release out there that I don’t know about, it’s actually the Feb, 13th show that’s the only Dortmund Feb. 1981 concert that still hasn’t been released on pressed silver yet.

    Sigma 289 is definitely the pressed silver debut of the June 14th concert. If there’s any live Wall show that still needs to be released on pressed silver, it’s probably the huge upgrade of the next night, the June 15th show at Earls Court, although it has been released as a 2-pro-CD-R, by SDR Records.

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