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?