The French Side Of The Moon (Golden Eggs EGGS 7/8)
Palais Des Sports, Lille, France – December 7, 1972
Disc 1 (49:15) Intro / 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 2 (40:32) One Of These Days, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Echoes
Back in late 2008 a previously unknown Pink Floyd recording began making the rounds and like many unearthed gems, was quickly pressed and offered to the collectors market. The title was Luna Lille and featured a very good recording from Lille, France at the tail end of 1972. The tape was found on a tape list of a gentleman who had torrented a recording of a concert he had made by Gong. Contact was made and the taper of the Gong show also taped the AM broadcast of Pink Floyd’s January 23, 1970 concert at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées. It was through this contact that our Hero saw a Pink Floyd date that caught his eye, the Lille show from December 1972, knowing nothing circulates from this he started the inquiry process and found out the Gong taper only had an mp3 version. Our Hero was persistent and was able to get his hands on a digital transfer of the master tape. The Lille recording was taped by a fellow who went by the name ZEF who recorded the concert using a Telefunken recorder and an external microphone. Work was needed to make the tape a bit more polished, slight tape warble, drop outs, and crackles were all painstakingly fixed and was torrented under the title “Filling a Gap”.
It has been nine years since Sigma released Luna Lille (Sigma 33) and has remained the only silver title of this concert. Lets pull out Luna Lille and see how this new title, The French Side Of The Moon compares. First off Luna Lille sounds really good, I have always thought that Sigma’s mastering has been top notch, sure the complete Hakone and Tokyo sources they put out suffered from heavy handed mastering but since both were from the same taper, I believe it was from the source not the label. This new Golden Eggs title sounds not far off from Sigma as one would expect, there is only one tape source for this concert so everything that circulates is from the same source. Slight mastering has been done to this new title to give a fuller sound, the bottom end is better without distortion, a key element in this recording since Roger’s bass was prominent. The mastering is gentle, the slight hiss level found on the Sigma title is still here, to have removed it would have ruined this recording. This Golden Eggs title just has a warmer and more inviting sound and one can hear the clean sound of the Sigma title gives it a more sterile feel. Golden Eggs has certainly improved upon the older Sigma title nicely and to my ears I find that I prefer this new Golden Eggs to the Sigma title.
When I started collecting Pink Floyd titles many years ago I always went after the 1973 recordings as I wanted the fully realized Dark Side Of The Moon. However, the more 1972 titles that I bought, the more I wanted. First off, when one considers the band tested their audience greatly by playing 50 minutes of completely new material in the first half of the concert, one long piece at that, and from the majority of the recordings, one can surmise that the audiences really enjoyed and listened intently to this new music. To be able to listen to Dark Side evolve over 1972 is one of the greatest joys in Pink Floyd’s unofficial catalog. Again like many, their late 1972 performances are incredible, Dark Side is nearly fleshed out but the use of the mechanical sound synthesizers has not taken over so piano and organ still reign supreme and provide a much more pleasing sound.
This recording from Lille, France is very good near excellent, the taper sounds very close to the action, hence Roger’s bass being a bit high in the mix. The clarity of the recording gives one the ability to fully enjoy what all four members are playing. Nick Mason’s superb drumming, these are the last few years where his early style of playing would be heard, he would soon switch to a more consistent beat versus his looser fills, this departure was certainly due to the bands changing to a more defined musical direction than the loose improvisational styling of years past. For me the shining star is certainly Richard Wright, he playing is incredible. From the piano solo during Great Gig In The Sky is so beautifully subtle then his organ work in Money is down right funky, it is gigs like this that one can really appreciate everything he brought to the band, a wonderful and greatly missed musician.
With Roger’s bass being a bit on the forefront, one can really listen intently to his bass playing. Part of his charm as a bass player is he understands the space between the notes, while sometimes sounding rudimentary, the fact that he hits chord at the right time and lets the sound resonate making for an uncluttered sound. One of my favorite versions of One Of These Days, again due to Roger’s bass being in the forefront of this recording, gives a massive feeling of being overcome by the fury. Dave Gilmour has got to be one of the most consistent guitarists in the history of Rock, his playing is spot, his slide playing during Days is wickedly good, after Nick’s vocal the sound almost swings like a big band. What I would give to be able to have a time machine, to be in a small theater to hear the Floyd live in the early 70’s must have been something.
The packaging for the Golden Eggs releases hearken back to the old Godfather label, tri-fold sleeve beautifully adorned with both color and black and white pictures. I love the shot of the band on the interior center, all four Floyd’s at the front of the stage, barely room to move! There is an insert, a simple list of concerts performed in the calendar year of 1972, and the CD’s have the Golden Eggs logo on them. Great packaging and mastering make for an excellent title, for those who love Luna Lille, here is a nice upgrade and for those who do not have this superb performance and enjoyable recording in your collection, here’s your chance.
Really an excellent and exhaustive review and also a real pleasure having back on the block this astonishing package for this great gig, hopefully this new label will fly as high as Godfather did…..
This concert deserved a new issue , one of the best from the 1972 tour ,now we wait for many new Floyd releases, i’m sure that we’ll have value for our hard earned money.
THANKS very MUCH for this very helpful review, which now allows me to go ahead & buy it where I had intended to on the Internet.