Illusions Of Childhood’s End (Highland HL219/220)
The Ampitheater, Chicago, IL – March 7th, 1973
Disc 1 (58:48) Echoes, Obscured By Clouds – When You’re In, Childhood’s End, Careful With That Axe Eugene
Disc 2 (73:16): Speak To Me, Breathe, On The Run, Time, The Great Gig In The Sky, Money, Us And Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse, One Of These Days. Bonus track, Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, MO – March 6th, 1973: Childhood’s End. The Fieldhouse, University of Cincinnati, OH – March 8th, 1973: Childhood’s End.
Illusions Of Childhood’s End is a title documenting Pink Floyd in the middle of a contemplation. The main show on the tape, March 7th, 1973 in Chicago, is only the fourth show and occurs a week before the release of Dark Side Of The Moon and reveals a first draft of the setlist with emphasis upon more numbers from Obscured By Clouds which, technically, was their latest LP.
The sound quality of the audience recording is fair to good and perfectly listenable for the committed Pink Floyd collector. In The Chicago tape there are cuts after “When You’re In,” at 4:31 in “Childhood’s End” and after the song, a cut after “Careful With That Axe, Eugene,” at 2:44 in “Brain Damage” and one before “One Of These Days.”
The bonus tracks are the two performances of the rarity “Childhood’s End” flanking the Chicago show in sequence. St. Louis is the night before Chicago and is a slightly closer but more muffled audience tape that has a cut at 6:54. The final bonus track is the same song from the Cincinnati show, the nigh after Chicago.
This also is in a good but muffled audience tape but it has the complete show. Highland basically copied onto silver the CDR release Childhood’s End on Hip Cat records from 1997. It is the same sound quality and has the same mission to present the three performances of the rarity. The complete Cincinnati show was pressed on Pink Is The Sky (Rock Lone Records FROCK 001/2).
Chicago represents their first thinking of the setlist on this important tour. The concert begins with the pings signaling the beginning of “Echoes” and they treat to the crowd to the twenty-five minute long, tightly performed epic. They follow with three songs from their latest album: “Obscured By Clouds / When You’re In” and a rare live performance of “Childhood’s End.”
The song had a few outings late the previous year, the most common performance from the December 5th Zürich show. It’s not one of their all time great songs, but the catchiness of the melody and the heavy metal chords do make it a compelling live piece which also could have been a vehicle for further improvisation.
It would be dropped after the night after, never to return (as far as we know). It would then be replaced by “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun.” The final song of the set is “Careful With That Axe, Eugene.” Roger’s scream and the band’s reaction in the second half are some of the most intense live moments for Pink Floyd. It’ rare that Waters gets off such a long and penetrating shriek, but he does in this recording.
The aggression continues into the Dark Side suite in the second half of the show. It is marked by a sardonic delivery of “Breathe,” but Wright truly carries “The Great Gig In The Sky” with fascinating improvisational melodies on the organ. “Money” is an excuse for rock and roll fun but the focus of live performance rests on the seven minute jam on “Any Colour You Like.” After “Eclipse” the only encore is “One Of These Days.”
Illusions Of Childhood’s End is an interesting release by Highland. It would be much better to have each of the three shows complete, but nevertheless this is a good pressed version of the Chicago 1973 concert.