Rave Master (Sigma 3)
Boston Gardens, Boston, MA – June 18th, 1975
Disc 1: Raving And Drooling, You’ve Got To Be Crazy, Shine On You Crazy Diamond Part 1-5, Have A Cigar, Shine On You Crazy Diamond Part 6-9
Disc 2: 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
There are two audience recordings in circulation for Pink Floyd’s June 18th, 1975 Boston Gardens show. The first one to surface was used for the vinyl release Pigs Wishes And Moons(Moonchild Records 0054 A/D). “Raving And Drooling” fades in, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 1-5” has a cut, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond Parts 6-9” fades out and “Us & Them” is missing the beginning and some collectors complain that it is too top heavy with the emphasis upon the treble.
This source was used for the earliest compact disc releases as well. Crazy Diamonds (PYCD 059-2 Triangle Records) was published in 1990 and was the first CD release of an entire 1975 US tour set. Boston Gardens, 18/6-1975 (Space Music PF001/2) and Spaceball Ricochet (PSR CD 567893-2) followed, also utilizing the first tape source.
Almost a decade later a second, phenomenal sounding and more complete source appeared. This tape is remarkable for amount of detail captured from the quadraphonic system utilized by the band. The manner in which the sounds swirl around is almost perfect and provides one of the clearest experiences of Pink Floyd in the mid seventies every committed to tape. The Heart Breakers label were the first to issue this on their title Echoes in the Gardens (Heartbreakers HB-801-1/2). Spread over three discs and packaged in an attractive gatefold sleeve, it proved to be the label’s most popular title and selling out rather quickly.
Four years later the label released a second edition packaged in a fatboy jewel case with different artwork. In the past three years Watch Tower released Raving & Drooling (WT2004124/5) and Highland released Nice Live Pair (HL677/8). The latter was issued in both a four disc edition, where it was coupled with the June 17th Nassau Coliseum show, and separately as Live At The Garden.
Rave Master use the same source as the more recent releases. Sigma claim this contains several more minutes of crowd noise scattered throughout the show. There is a bit more tape at the beginning which reveals a firecracker exploding right before the first tune up. There is also a bit more crowd noise before the encore “Echoes.” Regarding completeness Sigma is a slight improvement if one wants to hear the Boston crowd yelling, but the sound quality is identical to the other recent releases of this tape. The set list is the same as they introduced the previous summer when they played several gigs in France. It is admirable for a band to have the unmitigated hubris to devote the first hour of the show to unreleased, new musical compositions.
All of the new songs in some way address the devastating effects of the insincerity in the music industry, both universally and with Syd Barrett in particular. “Raving And Drooling” sounds massive as it crawls across the stage. “You Gotta Be Crazy,” introduced by Waters as “another new song,” is played at a slower tempo than the versions the previous year. “This one…(choking noises)…is called ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” Compared to the first two songs, these three are much more polished and closer to their final arrangements which is probably why they chose to record them for the next album. As Waters sings “Have A Cigar” his voice doesn’t crack much. It is still one of the great, unsolved Pink Floyd mysteries why he wrote a song out of his range. Gilmour might have been able to handle it, but sonorous voice would clash with the hostility of the lyrics.
The second disc contains the second half of the show, the entire Dark Side Of The Moon, and the encore “Echoes.” “Speak To Me” is very long and the audience clap along with the heartbeat as it fills the rafters of the Garden. The excellence of this recording is more apparent on this disc since it does a great job capturing all of the sound effects employed by the band. The clarity of the detail on this tape is nothing short of astonishing as the auxiliary sounds swirl around. The synthesized chaos of “On The Run” is a pure adrenaline rush.
The cash registers before “Money” seem to shake the seats as the band deliver a hot version of the song. Parry plays a sultry saxophone solo before Gilmour’s studied guitar solo. “Any Colour You Like” is more than eight minutes a jamming before the piece’s finale of “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse.” After Waters thanks everybody for coming the band play a twenty-two minute version of “Echoes” as the encore. There is some debate whether this, or the previous evening’s tape in New York is the best sounding recording from their summer tour in 1975.
In lieu of having both, this is the essential tape to have. Rave Masteris packaged in a double slimline jewel case and they use glossy paper inserts. It is limited to three hundred copies and for the third straight release Sigma seem to be playing it safe by releasing one of the essential Pink Floyd live tapes. Except for the additional crowd noise and firecrackers, there is no significant improvement over the previous releases of this tape the past three years. The label have done very good work so far, but Pink Floyd collectors would like to see them be more adventurous in the future instead of running over the same old ground.
I concur with lug. The Watchtower version was a favourite of mine, just about pipped by Rave Master, but Definitive Rave Master is better yet, to these ears. (Personally, I always find ‘Have A Cigar’ is a great track to use for hearing differences in SQ!)
In my opium I would recommend Sigma 52 “Definative Rave Master” if your looking to upgrade.
Having the older Raving & Drooling set on the Watch Tower label, is there any reason to try to get hold of the Sigma version?