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Pink Floyd – Pittsburgh 1975 (Sigma 187)

Pittsburgh 1975 (Sigma 187)

Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA, USA – June 20, 1975

Disc 1 (57:40) Intro, Raving And Drooling, You Gotta Be Crazy, Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 1-5, Have A Cigar, Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 6-9

Disc 2 (78:04) 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, Echoes

In June 2017 a new Pink Floyd recording surfaced for the bands stop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the summer of 1975, great news for Floyd aficionados as the only existing source was a poor sounding 33 minute fragment. For those interested, the recording came from a group of collectors known as the Audience Tape Preservation Channel who release live recordings to the Internet via youtube, here is a link to their page, get ready to listen…https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdAojTlp99hCvEmKSJ71t4A

This new recording was taped by Doc West of 963XKE who used an unknown deck and 3 TDK C60 cassettes, the sound is distant but very clear and detailed, the music is well defined easily falling into the very good range. There is a lot of audience chatter between songs, mostly shouts of “sit down” and the like, it seems like the stadium was like a madhouse as fans scurried around looking for a place to sit. It is the summer and a stadium gig so there are also fireworks being shot off and you can clearly hear bottle rockets and firecrackers exploding in the expanse. Since it is a distant recording, the music is clear but the between song introductions are much lower, but most can be clearly heard.

This show is a little famous, as to add to the visual enjoyment of the show the band hired two London based architects to design a huge pyramid that would sail above the stage and radiate light beams to simulate the cover to Dark Side Of The Moon, it made its one and only “flight” at this concert where once deployed, the winds dislodged it with the balloon that made it float flying off and the structure landing in the parking lot where fans tore it apart, the ultimate souvenir.  

The recording begins as the band and sound people are tuning up in preparation for the start of the concert, bass, guitars, keys and sound effects are checked amid bottle rockets flying close by. Roger comes on and says “This is a new tune it’s called Raving and Drooling” and the concert begins and about 40 seconds in a large cheer comes up, one would expect the light show is on. Raving is quite nice, the band’s playing is tight and sounds focused and energetic. Very little tuning follows and Roger does the introduction, “David starts this one…>inaudible<…quiet number, it’s another new tune, it’s called You Got To Be Crazy”, the inaudible nature is due to shouts of “sit down” and transients have not yet found a home. The second leg concerts from the 1975 American tour are to me, much preferred. The band is playing more confidently and the songs are well honed, you can tell significant work was done to them before they switched gears. You Gotta Be Crazy is one such song, it is more dynamic than the April concerts, this concert finds David playing very assertive guitar leads. You can here the guitar floating around the stadium about 6 minutes in, the mellowness of the music lends itself to better hear some audience chatter as they seem to have trouble settling down, some becoming irritated. There is a loud boom during the “Only A Stranger at Home” lyric and then a drop out that almost sounds like their M-80 scared there crap out of him, it soon clears up for the end of the piece.

There is a tape flip in here somewhere between Crazy and Shine On You Crazy Diamond but I could not pick up the gap, a lot of pissed off audience people yelling at others to sit down, don’t let them through, I can’t see and the like, wherever it is it is smooth and well handled. The first source could not be used to fill any gaps due to its fragmentary nature. The Shine On section is very strong, Gilmour’s guitar work is as good as the Boston and Uniondale concerts performed just prior to this. What is nice is that his solos have not been set in stone so to speak so there is some improvised playing from him and Richard Wright at the pre vocals section of the song. Dick Parry’s sax solo at the end of part 5 is superb, he sounds a bit out there ala John Coltrane. Have A Cigar is met by a huge round of applause, obviously for Shine On. I almost prefer the 75 versions of Cigar, the playing is loose and almost nasty sounding on this recording. The second half of Shine On finds more improv, I read one person refer to Rick Wright’s playing as funky, and you know he is right, both he and Gilmour get into a groove after the final vocals with Wright playing down some really nice notes as the latter half seems to be the Dave and Rick show. Really nice playing and very strong first set from the Floyd.

The break between sets finds nothing settled in the audience, this recording features the most complete lead in to Dark Side I’ve ever heard, the whole thing plus Speak To Me clocks in at 5:40 and is really enjoyable, the soundscapes / effects are very clear and you get that feeling of being there. Once the band break into Breathe the entire stadium cheers and the music starts to calm the masses. Based upon the comments from the audience members and the fact that there is no real swirling effects caused by winds, one can assume the taper was somewhere on the ground field. The music calms the crowd and they seem amazed by the visual presentation as well as the aural one. The version here is wonderful, the playing is virtually perfect and the ambience captured on this recording makes for a very enjoyable listening experience. Rick gets into some really jazzy playing during Great Gig, I starting tapping my toes and was thinking…damn Rick…nice! He keeps it up until the beginning of Money, to great effect. There is a singular tape flip during Money but again I could not detect where as the sounds flow seamlessly. There is a tape flip about 6 seconds into Echoes, again handled perfectly and like the others, if you didn’t know it was there you would never know. Standard encore for the tour, complete with sax solo, a typically good performance of a song soon to be retired. While the recording is not on par with Los Angeles, Uniondale, or Boston, it is certainly a notch below them and the performance is equal to or better, just a great concert.

The packaging is typical Sigma, full color inserts with graphics taken from tour posters and the like, cogs and sprockets etc, extra special is the majority of the photos used are from the actual concert and even a picture of the concert poster. The CD’s have pictures of floating clocks and you get a highly collectable sticker to boot. A really nice package from the Sigma folks and for Floyd fans, a worthwhile purchase.

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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One comment

  1. Thanks for the review.

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