Pink Floyd – Raving Lunatics (Siréne -185)


Raving Lunatics (Siréne -185)

Empire Pool, Wembley, London, England – November 16th, 1974

Disc 1:  Intro., Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Raving And Drooling, You Got To Be Crazy

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

Disc 3: audience, Echoes

Disc 4, pre-FM master digital direct version: 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, audience, Echoes

Limited bonus cdr, The Screaming Abdab, Empire Pool, Wembley, London, UK – November 17th 1974: Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Raving And Drooling, You Gotta Be Crazy

Raving Lunatics is another all encompassing, comprehensive set that Sirene love to produce and put out. Pink Floyd’s November 16th 1974 Wembley show has to be the most covered and bootlegged shows of their entire career. This is the source for the famous BBC broadcast plus two nearly complete excellent audience recordings also exist. The first one, circulated and commonly called Black Holes In The Sky, is missing “Echoes”. Sirene use on the first three discs the so-called “second” audience recording. The taper of this source was a bit more distant from the stage but his tape is more complete with a complete “Echoes” and most of the between song tunings. Except for some tape flips between songs and a cut at one minute-twenty seven seconds in “Any Colour You Like” it is musically complete. The sound quality is very good and all of the instruments are clear with excellent dynamics.

This production was sourced from the master tapes, and the sound is quite clean with moderate tape hiss for the equipment used at the time. This was a very low gen source; therefore no hiss or noise reduction was used. The band take a long time between songs for setting up and tuning and the taper provides a running commentary. At the very beginning he wonders out loud if there is a bomb scare at the venue since security searched his bags. Later on he tells someone next to him that this is his second time taping a concert (Tangerine Dream was the first) and he’s taping the Pink Floyd concert on the following night too, and tells his friend how to get a copy of his tape. There are also some comments about the hour’s worth of brand new music that is played for the first half of the show and gives an interesting perspective on approaching this material. Dark Side Of The Moon was released nineteen months before and there was much speculation and expectation about the band’s follow up.

We hear this tape thirty years afterwards as nascent versions of well-known classic songs. But put into its proper context these three songs sound like long, mysterious soundscapes full of dread. Journalist Nick Kent, in reviewing this run of shows, commented, “Still, the Floyd can content themselves on one score. They are definitely the quintessential English band. No other combine quite sums up the rampant sense of doomed mediocrity inherent in this country’s current outlook right now….And there’s absolutely nothing ‘cosmic’ about any of it, really, now is there?” Even Gilmour was very negative about these shows, feeling that the band didn’t play the new material well due to lack of proper equipment. Be that as it may the first half sounds fine with “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” reaching more than twenty minutes and played as one piece instead of being split as would be in the future. “You Gotta Be Crazy” contains vocal elements from “Atom Heart Mother”.

The Dark Side second half is perhaps the most well known and widely circulated Pink Floyd tape in existence since it was recorded and broadcast by the BBC. This is the first show where “Echoes” was performed with a saxophone solo and back up singers. Sirene added a fourth disc to this set with their fifth release of the pre-FM master tape. Raving Lunatics does sounds deeper and richer than their previous best version Absolutely Years but its inclusion is really a distraction to the audience recording. Sirene added as a bonus a miniature replica of the Winter Tour ‘74 tour program produced by Hypgnosis and takes the form of a comic book. Each band member is given a different story line and the lyrics to the three new songs are printed on the inside. The center page contains a caricature of the band by Gerald Scarfe. The band members bear a passing resemblance to characters later used in The Wall with Gilmour looking like Mother and Waters resembling the Wife.

The bonus cdr for Raving Lunatics is a copy of the vinyl release The Screaming Abadab on Wizardo (WRMB 330). Also released as Raving And Drooling (TAKRL 1973), Raving And Drooling on Beacon Island Records (2S722) along with the KQED 1970 broadcast, and many others, Sirene copied straight from a vinyl copy complete with surface noise. It is a good and clear mono audience recording that cuts out at the end of “You Got To Be Crazy”. It is listenable but flat and lacking in dynamics. The entire show was taped and might someday make a really nice two-disc release that would be very much welcomed since the performance is actually better than the previous night. Sirene use the thick glossy paper inserts and limit this title to only three hundred copies. The November 16th is a famous concert and it is good to have a well produced and mastered version of the complete concert available and Raving Lunatics is recommended.

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