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Pink Floyd – Manchester 1974 (Sigma 151)

Pink Floyd – Manchester 1974Manchester 1974 (Sigma 151)

The Palace Theatre, Manchester, UK – December 9, 1974

Disc 1 (54:00) Raving And Drooling, You’ve Gotta Be Crazy, Shine On You Crazy Diamond

Disc 2 (58:14), 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 3 (27:08) Audience, Echoes

1974 was a slow year for the Pink Floyd, flush with the success of Dark Side Of The Moon, the band could afford to take some much needed time off. Gilmour used some of his time helping then unknown singer Kate Bush get a record deal and produced the debut record for the rock band Unicorn. Nick Mason spend his time working a bit with former Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt and appeared with him on BBC’s Top Of The Pops where they performed a cover of I’m A Believer, curiously the guitarist was none other than The Police’s Andy Summers. By spring 1974 the band had begun working on new material, using the same method as they had done years previously, took bits of pieces and turned it into more long form songs, Raving and Drooling and Shine On. They played a short tour of France in June playing the two new songs, plus Dark Side and an encore of One Of These Days.

The band was also working on their stage presentation, adding a 40 foot high circular screen to the stage, it was used to project 35mm film and animation sequences during the concert. By the end of the year the band was ready for more live work and booked a 20 date concert tour dubbed the “British Winter Tour”. Thankfully many really nice tapes exist from this tour, the recording from the first night in Manchester is perhaps the best of the lot. Originally released as Manchester Day (Shout To The Top STTP 146/147), a title I never bothered to get so my first taste of this concert was Creative Intelligence (Sigma 19) that came out in 2008. Plomerus did an excellent assessment of the title and the performance, please follow the link and spend a few minutes enjoying his review. I agree with Plomerus as the Manchester performance is well played and enjoyable, the band had been getting much flack in the press, with the concerts being described as uninspired and unimpressive, harsh words for a band who previously could do no wrong.

There are two tapes for the Manchester gig, the version featured here is recorder 1 (the other tape is much lower in sound quality, never getting out of the very good range), it is an excellent sounding recording where all instruments, vocals and sounds are clearly audible and if anything it is a bit thin in the bass frequencies. You can get a bit of the sound of the room as well, it is simply a joy to listen too. When I compare this new release to Creative Intelligence I find it to be a nice upgrade. The sound is noticeably brighter and cleaner, the bass frequencies on the older title sound muffled where they’re nice and clean on this release, this comes from either a better generation of tape or possibly a newer transfer. The feeling I get as I listen to this recording is like being there, this deserves repeated listening’s at a nice loud volume, let the music surround and engulf you.

The packaging is typical Sigma, full colored inserts from the British Winter Tour, a cool sticker, picture CD’s all housed in a fat boy styled jewel case. As a bonus this release comes with a mini recreation of the tour book, I have only seen the pages on the net so it is nice to have a copy of it. A very nice upgrade from the Sigma folks, now how about one of the shows from France in June 1974?  

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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6 comments

  1. Ok, so I just came across Highlands “Shine On Paris” and I’m quite surprised to hear Raving and Drooling’s drum work sounding more like Sheep than how it did when they played it later in 74 and in to 75. If you haven’t heard that disc, Dave Gilmour goes from playing some really great work to absolutely losing his shit by the end of DSTOM.

  2. Thanks a lot for your input! In the mean time I gathered some info myself on the saxophone issue. I only listed what I have access to myself (either as commercial releases or files) but combined with your input at least now we have a bit of an idea … In fact from what I have gathered it seems the switch may have been after the first Wembley show where Gilmour played the solo, while on the second Wembley date it was Dick Parry on saxophone.

    9.11.1974 – […], Newcastle – David Gilmour solo – (…)
    15.11.1974 – Wembley Empire Pool, London – David Gilmour solo – (Wembley 1974 2nd Night Unprocessed Master, Sigma 154)
    16.11.1974 – Wembley Empire Pool, London – Dick Parry, saxophone solo – (Raving Lunatics, Siréne 185)
    17.11.1974 – Wembley Empire Pool, London – Dick Parry saxophone solo – (Decline and Fall of the British Empire, Sigma 29)
    19.11.1974 – Trentham Gardens, Stoke-On-Trent – Dick Parry, saxophone solo – British Winter Tour 74, Siréne 047)
    29.11.1974 – […], Liverpool – Dick Parry, saxophone solo – (…)
    9.12.1974 – The Palace Theater, Manchester – Dick Parry saxophone solo – (Manchester 1974, Sigma 151)
    14.12.1974 – Colston Hall, Bristol – Dick Parry saxophone solo – (The Massed Gadgets of Hercules – 1974 Bristol, G.R. BOX 09 I/J)

  3. There are two known recordings from the British Winter Tour prior to the Wembley dates, Nov 4 in Edinburgh and Newcastle Nov 9. Both versions of Echoes are “traditional” versions and do not feature the sax solo. Since there is no recording for the first night in London, Nov 14, one can assume that it was either that night or the following night which does has the (dreadful to my ears) sax solo

  4. Careful Axeman Eugene

    the wembley shows in mid-November ’74, at least the 15th through the 17th, and possibly the 14th as well, actually feature the saxophone solo rather than Gilmour’s guitar solo. so i’m not sure when the change occurred, but it was likely sometime shortly before that…maybe at the start of the ’74 tour.

  5. Thanks for another great review (and of course the old one relating to Creative Intelligence)!
    Above is mentioned that Echoes is the version with saxophone. Can anybody tell me at which date Gilmour dropped his solo in favour of the saxophone? If I am not wrong at the Wembley dates Gilmour still played this part … Someone?

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