Live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, England, UK – November 4, 1973
Pink Floyd’s touring commitments for Dark Side Of The Moon were complete by late June 1973 and after a short break the group reconvened to begin work on the aborted Household Objects project. In mid October they played two concerts in Europe and the final live performances for the year were benefit concerts for Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt who had recently broken his back after falling, inebriated, from a fourth story window. The concerts would take place on Sunday, November 4, 1973 and feature a performance at 5:00pm and 9:00pm. There band would be augmented by Dick Parry on Saxophone and Vicki Brown, Liza Strike, and Clare Torry on backing vocals. This new release from the folks at Sigma collects together, for the first time, both performances.
Melody Maker reported, “It was a splendid evening of rock co-operation, in which both groups gave their services in aid of disabled drummer Robert Wyatt, and host John Peel was pleased to announce that some 10,000 pounds was raised. Heartbeats in fact commenced proceeding, pulsating through the auditorium and stilling the more excitable elements in the crowd. Clocks ticked mysteriously and with perfect precision the Floydmen slotted their live instruments into the recorded sound, combining quadraphonic pre-recorded tapes, lights, smoke and theatrical effects into a kind of rock Son et Lumiere. Overhead was suspended a huge white balloon to represent the moon, on which spotlights played, and not long after the performance began, searchlights began to pierce the gloom, and yellow warning lights began revolving in banks on the speaker cabinets. A choir of ladies cooed like angels of mercy and a silver ball reflecting myriad beams of light began to revolve and belch smoke, the audience rose to give them an ovation. They deserved a Nobel prize or at least an Oscar.”
Early Show 5pm
Disc 1 (68:31) 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, Tuning, Obscured By Clouds, When You’re In.
There are two recordings from the early show, this release uses recorder 2 as its main source with the first 2 and half minutes of Speak To Me and a small gap at the beginning of Any Colour You Like being from recorder 1. The recordings are both in the very good range, the main source (recorder 2) is clear and very detailed with great atmosphere, the gap source (recorder 1) is just a notch below and has a bit more tape hiss and has a bit more in your face audience interaction. I do believe there is more of at least the recorder 2 that is cut from this as it does not contain Roger Waters introduction to the encore where he mistakingly introduces Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, well the encore was Obscured By Clouds. The splices are seamless and very well done, you will not really know they are there. There is a bit of tape garble during Us And Them from 5:34 to 5:45 and at 4:22 to 4:24 of Obscured By Clouds.
Late Show 9pm
Disc 2 (70:01) 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, Tuning, Obscured By Clouds, When You’re In.
The late show has circulated for some time, Obscured At The Rainbow (Triangle Records PYCD-053), Live At The Rainbow (Highland HL-226), and Live For A Friend (Ganja 14) are all silver releases with this material.
This new title from Sigma sounds similar to previous versions, perhaps just a bit less hiss and a bit more crisp sounding. The late show recording is the better of the two, falling into the near excellent category. It sounds like it was recorded close to the stage and picks up a very powerful sound when the band kicks into Breathe. The instruments are well balanced and the vocals are well defined and there is almost no tape hiss. A great recording. There are times the recording picks up the swirling nature of the sound of the Azimuth Coordinator moving it around the venue, but it does not detract from my enjoyment of this title.
Both performances are very good, the band is perhaps just a bit rusty as their attentions have turned elsewhere and there is not a lot of differences between the performances. It seems like Brain Damage was a bit difficult for Rog, during the early show you can hear him come in too early “The lunatic is…” and during the late show he messes up even more during the same song, “The lunatic is in my….The lunatic is on the grass, and daisy chains and laughs”, and he did not sing “remembering games”. Clare Torry recreates her wonderful vocals to The Great Gig In The Sky and Liza Strike does backing vocals, and together with touring Sax man Dick Parry brings a bit of continuity from Dark Side the record to the live performance. These performances are also notable for being the last time the band would play material from Obscured By Clouds.
The packaging is typical Sigma, inserts adorned with pictures from the era and concerts themselves, there is a picture of a ticket stub for the early show on the back and the CD’s have pictures on them. Overall a nice release, I wish the Roger encore introduction flub was on the first disc but the overall mastering of the sources is excellent and the presentation is pleasing, I have a few old CD-rs I can now throw away.