Philadelphia 1977 2nd Night (Sigma 296)
The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA – June 29, 1977
Disc 1 (51:44) Sheep, Pigs On The Wing Part 1, Dogs, Pigs On The Wing Part 2, Pigs (Three Different Ones)
Disc 2 (74:25) Audience, Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 1-5, Welcome To The Machine, Have A Cigar, Wish You Were Here, Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 6-9, Money, Us And Them
Late last year a recording surface via the Yeeshkull community of the second night in Philadelphia during 1977’s In The Flesh tour. The recording was bought as part of an auction and after it was assessed, it was found to be a new source of the concert. There is a previous audience recording of the concert with below average quality sound, this newly surfaced recording would be a marked improvement over the previous one. As usual this was released to the Pink Floyd collecting community free of charge, and to much acclaim. Who doesn’t want new and upgrade sources from this unique part of Floyd’s touring history?
The poor sound of recorder 1 meant the bootleggers have avoided it so I did a quick search of youtube to take a listen. Recorder 1 falls into the good range, it is distant yet clear with a boomy sound from the Spectrum’s acoustics. One also has to fight with an underlying constant chatter of people, it’s best attributes are that the individual instruments can be heard. This new source, recorder 2, falls into the very good range being only slightly distant with all instruments and vocals being clear and well defined in the mix with the balance being near perfect. Once this recording settles down it moves into the near excellent range, the frequency range is quite nice with crisp highs and a really nice bottom end. The team behind the Graf Zeppelin label have apparently provided their mastering skills, the cuts in recorder 2 are patched with recorder 1 with all transitions being smooth and well handled. The mastering is excellent bringing out the best of the source recordings.
The atmosphere inside The Spectrum is well captured, to refer to it as ambiance would be difficult. The two dates in Philadelphia were sandwiched between Boston and the four New York City dates in the summer of 1977, based upon the number of fireworks being let off, one could call it audio from a war zone. The performance is excellent yet unique. Prior to the show Roger Waters was feeling poorly and was “medicated” by a Doctor to get him through the concert. This left Roger feeling more alienated and would be the inspiration for his Comfortably Numb lyrics a year or so later. Apparently he did not take part in either one or both of the encores played that evening as well. The recording starts at the beginning of Sheep, Snowy White’s bass lines can already be heard and Richard is just beginning his contribution, the taper and his buddy chat quickly as the full band break into the song and the fireworks begin. Typically Sheep builds in momentum, this version is no different, the sound also improves and settles down nicely.
After Sheep as Roger begins Pigs On The Wing Part 1 there is a massive burst of firecrackers to which stops Roger dead in tracks and responds “Please don’t thrown fireworks about” sounding tired and weary he then begins again playing the opening chords harder in frustration. Dogs is powerful, Richard Wright’s synthesizer is excellent and perfect in the mix providing cold comfort, the middle section is well received until an M-80 blows off to which the crowd boos rather loudly yet this does not hamper more from being fired off. You can really hear the effects of Roger’s medication during the “Born in a house full of pain…”. More firecrackers explode during Pigs On The Wing Part 2, Roger keeps the pace and soldiers through. Pigs (Three Different Ones) culminates the first set, the audience are wowed by the visual and aural presentation cheering and clapping as lighting and visual effects are used, the loudest during David’s superb guitar solo at the end. Nick Mason plays some really hard hitting fills in response to the fireworks, the audience fire back. The first disc ends with Roger telling the audience they are taking a 20 minute break.
The audience is very loud in their appreciation as Richard plays the quiet beginning of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, the taper and his cohorts seem to chat a bit, perhaps getting a joint lit for the Wish You Were Here set. Their chatter is not annoying but rather an insight to what it was like, the “best part of the concert”. Roger is in much better shape vocally for the Wish You Were Here set, the audience seem to have blown up all their fireworks in the first set making for a rather tranquil and less tense second half. The Floyd were augmented during this tour with second guitarist Snowy White and Saxophonist Dick Parry, the former fleshes out the sound nicely, the latter hits some iconic parts.
After a mesmerizing take on Welcome To The Machine, Have A Cigar has that old school Rock feel to it that gets the audience grooving. Roger and Dave harmonize well, Roger even has a couple pretty long sustained vocal lines which are quite nice as the atmosphere is certainly more relaxed. Dave’s leads have really developed throughout this tour, playing the material night after night the musicians are really playing well, Dave improvises his leads a lot during these concerts. The taper tells his buddy that the radio is being played over the P.A, perhaps he was at the previous nights performance. A straggler firework is blown off at the beginning of Wish You Were Here to which the taper responds “uncool” rather stoned sounding. Richard plays a really nice coda piano part as the song fades into Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 6-9, not straying from the piece but more elaborating on it, more melody and emotion. It should be noted that there are cuts between most of the songs during the second set, the patches of recorder 1 are very well done and if not for the complete difference is timbre, one would not know.
The second half of Shine On You Crazy Diamond features some nice jamming, they get into a start stop portion that is quite interesting and David and Snowy play some nice harmonizing leads towards the end, curiously it his playing during this tour which prompted Thin Lizzy to ask him to join in 1981 playing on the excellent Chinatown LP and its follow up, Renegade. The audience goes crazy as the cash machines start and it’s party time in the old Spectrum, lots of jamming as one would expect, when in full force this song could really swing…for Pink Floyd that is. Roger has some closing comments that are from recorder 1 and difficult to make out, “last number” were the only clear words. Us And Them is the last encore, as soon as Parry hits those iconic notes there is a massive ovation, it should be noted that this song is from recorder 1 only. It’s reported that Roger does not play on this song.
The packaging is standard Sigma, full color inserts with pictures from the tour, the concert advertisement is a nice addition as are the picture CD’s and numbered sticker. Pink Floyd were playing incredibly well during the latter part of the In The Flesh tour and the second night in Philly is an excellent performance. All props go to the Yeeshkull community for getting this music out to the people. While the recordings are not in the excellent range, the performance and mastering are, this and the fact that this concert makes its silver debut all make for an excellent release.