Guildhall, Portsmouth, UK – January 22, 1972
Disc 1 (43:21) Speak To Me, Breathe, The Travel Sequence, Time, Breathe (reprise), The Mortality Sequence, Money, Us And Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage / Eclipse
Disc 2 (70:23) Tuning Up, One Of These Days, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Echoes, A Saucerful Of Secrets
The second concert of 1972 and the first full performance of Pink Floyd’s masterwork, The Dark Side Of The Moon. Sigma 168 was released simultaneously with 167, the two should be bought together as combined they form one of the most important parts of Floydian history. The concert has not been released for sometime, Highland released it as Eclipsed By The Moon (Highland HL206/207) back in the 90’s, I never found a copy so I was much excited by this release (I should note that the filler on that title was the aborted version of DSOTM from the previous evening and should have been listed in my review of Sigma 167).
The recording from Portsmouth was done by Barry C, yes the same guy who did the previous evening in Brighton. He was a bit more distant and there are no true low gen versions of his recording out there, so while the recording has a similar timbre, it has much more hiss than the previous evening, thankfully no heavy handed mastering was used and the results are a really nice version of this historic concert. There are some occasional conversations picked up between a man and woman but none are obtrusive. Hopefully a collector out there who has the old Highland title can chime in about how these two releases compare. This recording is very good, it’s a shame the master does not circulate as it would rival the Brighton recording for sure. It is powerful and does occasionally distort, and other than the hiss, is clear with nice balance of instruments and vocals.
The version of Speak To Me is not as long as the previous evening, Breathe is nice and I like how Dave starts singing the song, real laid back as if it snuck up on him. His delivery on the lyrics is similar to the previous nights, yet he is getting better! The Travel Sequence is slightly shorter than the previous evening and is very similar, what is interesting is hearing Nick Mason’s drumming in the faster paced music, he handles it with ease. The piece flows right into Time, unlike the pregnant pause from the previous evening, Dave and Richard’s vocals are much more in sync for this show. The preachers are a bit difficult to hear in their recital of scripture during the Mortality Sequence, towards the end you can clearly make out the Lord’s Prayer in its many layers. It almost sounds like the same equipment issues that ruined the previous night are rearing their ugly head this evening as well during the transition to Money but thankfully it is rectified and the performance goes forward. First version of Money, perhaps the most instantly recognizable bass intros of all time. Interesting to here Rick take the solo where the sax is, it’s like they knew they wanted a sax in the place as while he does not play one, whatever effect he uses almost mimics one. For the first time being played, the group really starts to swing while Dave takes his solo.
Us And Them, wonderful and the first airing of one Richard Wrights most beautiful pieces since it was known as the Violent Sequence in early 1970. The song has a slightly faster tempo but is really nice, great playing by Rick and the song transitions well into a very short Any Colour You Like with Dave scatting over his leads. The ending is unique, it is obvious the ending is a work in progress. Brain Damage is in its embryonic stage, Nick’s percussion is hilarious (tap tap…tap tap..), thank God it would evolve away! The ending portion has got to be heard, it is simply THE most unique parts and harkens back to the mid 60’s psychedelic improvisational; Floyd. The crowd sounds like they are not sure if it is over, once they do it gets a huge round of applause.
The second set are the “classics”, the audience chats while the band tunes up amid the sound of howling winds that herald One Of These Days. The middle section right before Nick’s vocal is very heavy sounding, almost corrosive. Like the previous evening, BC pauses his recording machine between songs but not much is missing, he get some tunings and Roger’s introduction to the only oldie of the set and a floor vibrating version of Set The Controls for The Heart Of The Sun. During the early 72 dates, the song would switch up with Eugene. Echoes is the culmination of the concert, like a twin of the previous evening, relaxed yet intense, and judging from the audience applause at its finale, brings the Guildhall down! The encore is A Saucerful Of Secrets, despite Rog’s comment, there is another oldie of the night. Not near as mysterious as the previous evenings version, and a bit shorter clocking in at just over 14 minutes, by 1972 standards the song was nearing its end.
The packaging is typical Sigma, the cover and graphics are meant to tie in with Sigma 167, it’s unique once you look at them. The previous evening and aborted version of DSOTM has a cover with the Floyd’s backs turned, this release with a full Dark Side has them facing the camera. Picture Cd’s and a collectable sticker are here also. Again, in my opinion this concert is in the must have category, a nice release from Sigma who have been putting out some nice releases as of late, hopefully they got the message we don’t need a gazillion versions of the same concert but upgrades of not common material. There are some great 1972 shows that need some attention (not to mention a lot 1968-69 shows).
Also notable that the previous evening’s show (Brighton) ‘Gig’ closing ‘religious / church’ commentary / efx now missing / taken out (The M. Muggeridge* – I believe – rant and the “I only wish I could show ..”), so can make you wonder if it was these that caused the debut eve’s buzz breakdown and abandonment to continue it – *or they thought better of it.