Knebworth 1975 New Master (Sigma 74)
Knebworth Park, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England – July 5th, 1975
Disc 1 (57:21): 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
Disc 2 (28:36): Soundcheck, Echoes
The success Freddie Bannister enjoyed with the Bucolic Frolic in 1974 prompted him to greater ambition for the follow up. For the second Knebworth Festival he managed to increase the stakes by booking Pink Floyd. The biggest concert the band played in the UK, they were joined by Linda Lewis, Monty Python, Steve Miller and Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. This was their first and only show in England in 1975 and they would play again until March, 1977 during the Animals tour.
A complete good sounding audience tape has been in circulation and was pressed on Wish Roy Were In Knebworth (HL-309/310/311) and the much superior Knebworth Park (Sigma 20). But Sigma 74 debuts on silver disc a new, very good to excellent but incomplete audience recording. The first half of the show with “Raving And Drooling,” “You Gotta Be Crazy,” “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and “Have A Cigar” (with Roy Harper on vocals) is missing.
The rest of the show is present except for a gap in “Any Colour You Like” between 6:28 to 7:13. Sigma use the old tape source to patch this gap. The recording certainly offers a better document of the show. It was the final time Pink Floyd performed Dark Side Of The Moon and “Echoes” with Roger Waters in the band. The suite has a much more “elastic” feel in the arrangements, aided by Richard Wright’s use of the Farfisa organ instead of the Hammond and the band’s search for a bit more variety. The faulty sound system also contributes to the raggedness.
The second disc contains an excellent performance of “Echoes.”
Regarding the festival, journalist Chris Charlesworth wrote:
“On to the Pink Floyd, who, after all, seemed to be in charge of the day’s events, providing the stage and PA and whose contract also stipulated the presence of a back-stage bar, a facility that promoter Fred Bannister would otherwise have eschewed.
“There was a long delay before the Floyd arrived while the mechanics of their production were mobilized the giant circular screen, the lofty lighting towers, the three articulated trucks that carried their sound system and finally the brace of Spitfires that passed overhead. Their set was divided. as usual, into two halves, the first offering the newer, unrecorded material that one assumes will form the basis of their next album. and the second devoted to ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ in its entirety, followed, again as usual, by ‘Echoes’ as an encore. In short, the first part was poor- ‘Dark Side’ hit occasional highs and ‘Echoes’ was pretty superb. Tuning problems hampered the early songs and Roger Waters hit many a bum note in his vocals as the group laboured along with what appeared to be little enthusiasm for the event.
“With the darkness falling, they appeared to gain new life and ‘Crazy Diamond’ the last of the three early songs, picked up as their lighting columns bathed the band in a sea of colours. At last it seemed as if an event would happen. A model plane on a wire heralded the onset of ‘Dark Side’ which picked up as it went along, a majestic piece of music that the group must be over familiar with by now. Nevertheless, ‘Any Colour You Like’ developed into a tremendous jam, Dave Gilmour especially shining on his Stratocaster, trading lines with Waters and Wright that moved through a spectrum of ideas not contained on the record.
“The closing two songs, unfortunately, suffered again through Waters’ vocals and it limped, rather than romped, to it’s usually stunning climax. ‘Echoes’ as stated, ended the day and predictably this was played flawlessly.”
Knebworth 1975 New Master won’t replace Knebworth Park as definitive because of its incompleteness but serves as a good auxiliary release of the famous festival.