Palais des Sports, Lyon, France – December 10, 1972
Disc 1 (50:58) 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 (51:32) Tuning, One Of These Days, Tuning, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Tuning, Echoes
When one looks at Pink Floyd’s schedule during 1972 it is really quite amazing, an extensive tour of the UK followed by the first proper tour of Japan. From there the band went to North America followed by a few European festival dates and then more dates in North America. To round out the touring commitments they play a European tour that end in December. What is amazing is they were playing an entirely new piece of music during the first half of the show and in what began as an embryonic version of Dark Side Of The Moon in January would become a dynamic piece of focused music in December. They also recorded and released a soundtrack to the film La Vallee entitled Obscured By Clouds as well as recording sessions for Dark Side Of The Moon, and lastly they squeezed in a few short performances of a ballet, Les Ballet de Marseille choreographed by Roland Petit.
One would think that with this incredible workload that weariness would set in by years end, but when one listens to the performances during the final dates of the European tour in December 1972, one hears inspired playing. This brings us to this new release by Sigma documenting the final performance of the year in Lyon, France. There was an online auction featuring a Reel tape of the Lyon show with little information of its origin, monies were gathered by the Yeeshkul communities and the reel was purchased and transferred. Sadly it was not a new source but the commonly circulated one, yet after a bit of mastering by Jimfisheye the result is a very nice upgrade to the last release of this show, End & Aim (Sirene-244).
The original source was a very good recording that, as WGPSEC notes in his review of the Sirene title, favors the mid range frequencies that tends to distort during louder portions. First off full marks must be given to the Yeeshkull community for getting this important document out, all free of charge, their work in documenting and distributing these Floydian Artifacts for all to enjoy is very much appreciated, BuffaloFloyd, Arnold Layne, and Jimfisheye all committed work to this project. The work done on this tape certainly begins with good bones so to speak, the gentle mastering done by Jimfisheye breathes new life into this recording, the sound is much cleaner and less distorted than End & Aim, like a layer of rust has been removed allowing the metal to shine again. The frequency range is much improved and while the distortion is still present, it’s much more palatable. The reel was incomplete so Sigma has patched small dropouts in Breathe reprise, Us and Them and the last eight minutes of Echoes with the first Gen recording, all patches are very clean and seamless.
Pink Floyd took the stage two hours late after being held up at customs having played in Switzerland the previous day, the show began at 8:00pm. The first half performance of Dark Side Of The Moon is well played, the band with an easy confidence especially evident in the improvisational pieces, On The Run has evolved into a Richard Wright showcase and much more dynamic than the early Travel Sequence versions. The band seem content letting him lead and he plays an almost floating styled Jazz during much of it, the others providing a rhythmic foundation. His playing in Great Gig is much more focused and detailed certainly as a result of working on the studio version during mid October. Money really swings, just a full on jam during Gilmour’s solo section, I prefer these versions without the sax, just the four seem to really hit their stride during the song.
The second set is not as clear as the first set, a bit more distortion present, One Of These Days seems to suffer the most. Careful With That Axe Eugene is one of the glorious late 1972 European versions, deep and mysterious and featuring one of Roger’s pictish rants followed by a brutal blood curdling scream that seems to melt the tape recorder. The crowd seems to grow impatient during the long tune ups and the tape suffers from microphone bumps, more likely the cause of the sound quality was likely microphone or recorder position. Echoes does sound better than the previous two songs and when one listens to the transition of this new tape to the previous at the 14:51 mark the difference is clearly discernible as the sound drops slightly and becomes flat. The tape ends after Echoes and it is not known if the band played an encore, perhaps the late start was the reason.
The packaging is typical for Sigma, standard live shows with a green hue makes for a somewhat drab looking cover. The inside has pictures of the French tour advertisement and the actual reel taken from the original torrent, oh yes picture CD’s and numbered sticker as well. I have come to the same conclusion as WGPSEC did over a decade ago, excellent performance yet even with improved sound, one more for the serious Floyd enthusiast, less for the casual collector.