Sportatorium, Hollywood, FL, USA – April 15, 1972
Disc 1 (45:52) Speak To Me, Breathe, Travel Sequence, Time, Home Again, Mortality Sequence, Money, Us And Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse
Disc 2 (61:41) One Of These Days, Tune Up, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Tune Up, Echoes, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
In a review of Pink Floyd’s concert in Atlanta, Georgia on April 18, 1972, local hip underground newspaper The Great Speckled Bird had this to say, “Pink Floyd is one of the few bands, perhaps the only one now, to maintain the integrity of electronic and psychedelic music, primarily because of their inventiveness.” The key word in there is inventiveness. The creation of Dark Side Of The Moon is most certainly the step forward in musicality and songwriting that really took Pink Floyd from cult act to mainstream Rock super-stardom. In my mind that’s why I enjoy the 1972 concert recordings so much. Who else would come out and play 45 minutes of new music that was not yet studio recorded? In fact it was not yet even ready, the band was continuing to flesh the piece out night after night. This year long gestation would allow the band to produce one of the most fluid pieces of music in the history of the medium.
This brings us to the latest release from the Golden Eggs label, a performance in Hollywood, Florida. There are two recordings that circulate for this date, the first and most complete was released some six years back on the Florida 1972 (Budgie 001/002) title. The recording is virtually complete, only missing the final song. The second recording features the tail of Dark Side and the entire second set. This new Golden Eggs title uses both recordings to present the complete concert. The first recording is easily very good, all instruments and vocals can be clearly heard and is very atmospheric. The tape sounds a bit distant and there is a bit of tape hiss present but this only adds to the warmth of an analog recording. The second recording was probably a bit closer to the stage and has more tape hiss with a more muddied sound yet clear enough that all instruments can be heard.
The audience is not settled as the performance begins, you can hear some sort of altercation between two attendees near the taper during Breathe, the band is not settled either. Based upon the liner notes, The Floyd did not like playing the concrete and metal buildings as it made it difficult to achieve the sound they liked. Dave is a bit rusty and flubs a line in Breathe but as they move into The Travel Sequence they hit a groove, the taper makes a mic placement adjustment and one can settle in and properly enjoy the performance. This recording picks up the sound effects nicely, the clocks come through clearly and get a small round of applause. Really like Nick Mason’s drumming in the song, very busy at the beginning and during the solo spot, his drums are captured well in the recording and even get a bit of punch to them at times. The Mortality Sequence is really dense, almost like a sensory overload, one could imagine having partaken in certain substances and hearing this in its quadraphonic glory, the voices, the animals…
The cash register sounds distant and Roger starts the iconic bass riff to Money with zero fan fare, typical for this time in history but boy how things would change (no pun intended). The song is well received, yet the audience seem to be getting restless, as the quiet beginning of Us And Them is playing, conversations are happening and the distant sounds of fireworks can be heard. Brain Damage and Eclipse are very strong and bring an end to the piece, the assorted lunatics in the hall give a nice ovation.
The blowing winds soundscape seems to get the audience moving and inspires them to clap along with One Of These Days as they settle in. The band plays a blistering version of the song, fast and corrosive and quite pleasing. The restless crowd talk and holler during the three minute tune up, Roger intros the piece as “This is an oldie, it’s called Careful With That Axe, Eugene…it’s got a very quiet beginning”. The tuning is our first taste of the second recording, the splice is seamless. Mason’s steady beat is interjected with sporadic fast cymbal work, Wright uses a swishing like soundscape sounding like someone trying to shush Eugene’s inner demons. Great scream, great jam afterwards and another patch from 6:49 to 7:23, as the song quiets back down, Richard plays a nice little flourish on the organ, very subtle. Another quick tune up patch for the tune up, the crowd is again restless at the beginning of Echoes as there was no real applause as the song begins, although once settled they get into it and it receives the biggest ovation of the evening. A twelve and half minute version of Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun is the final song, the crowd near the second taper are more well behaved and in tune with the Space Rock.
The packaging is beautiful, Hollywood, Florida is in the southern part of the state and is nestled between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami on the picturesque Eastern shore. The label uses band photos superimposed over a moonlit shore with a blue hue and a full moon, very visually pleasing. The inner jacket folds open to reveal liner notes from the Fish Bowl Swimmer. Golden Eggs has not only done justice to the performance but also the tapes themselves by presenting them in a naturally sounding fashion.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)