Pink Floyd – The Lunatics On The Run (Highland HL591/592)

 The Lunatics On The Run (Highland HL591/592)

Stadthalle, Vienna, Austria – October 13th, 1973

Disc 1 (69:59):  Obscured by Clouds, When You’re In, Set the Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Echoes

Disc 2 (73:03):  Speak To Me, Breathe, On The Run, Time, Breathe (Reprise), Great Gig In The Sky, Money, Us & Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse, One Of These Days

In the year that Pink Floyd released Dark Side Of The Moon saw them tour extensively in the first half only to see their live appearances become more sporadic in the second.  They played shows in Munich and Vienna before a benefit concert for Robert Wyatt at the Rainbow in November.  The tape for the Vienna show is a very good mono recording. 

There are cuts between the tracks in the first half of the program and also at 4:08 in “Echoes” and 3:02 in “The Great Gig In The Sky.”  There are strange changes in sound quality surrounding the cuts which make it sound as if there is another tape source used.  Two songs, “Obscured By Clouds” and “When You’re In” were included on the European vinyl compilation Pink Is The Colour (A1-RE/B1-RE) and its Israeli copy Pink Is The Colour (PF III).  

Lunatics On The Run on Highland was released around the same time that Heart Breakers released Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (HB 805-1/2) in inferior sound quality and both remain the only silver pressed editions of this show which is very significant.

The  playing is simply outstanding.  The songs in the first half of the show, which represented the basis of their live set for many years, are given some of their final live performances (or at least the last time they were regular inclusions of the live act). 

The fifteen minute instrumental “Obscured By Clouds” and “When You’re In” opens the show for the final time and runs the course between the pastoral opening to the heavy metal riffing in the middle improvisation.  This piece would be played in the Wyatt benefit the following month after the Dark Side suite and then disappear forever.  “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” is also played for the final time and contains a brilliant and surreal improvisation.  

“Careful With That Axe, Eugene,” lasting fifteen minutes, is played for the final time as a regular part of the set and would be resurrected one more time on the Animals tour four years later.  The second half is occupied with the complete new album.  Played with utter conviction, Wright has some interesting variations in the piano during “The Great Gig In The Sky.” 

A feature of the live performances are the prolonged jamming in “Any Colour You Like” and in Vienna reaches past ten minutes before the “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse” finale.  A female mc is audible on the tape before the “One Of These Days,” the only encore played that night.  Although the shows in the latter half of this seminal year for the band are few all of the documents are very listenable and are worth having and Lunatics On The Run is a great release by Highland. 

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  1. I have “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” and it does boast solid bass which teeters, at times, at a distortion level. The recording is thin in that it does not offer a full dynamic sound but there is decent instrument separation. I have heard scores of Pink Floyd releases on Highland, for example, of Floyd’s 1972 + 1973 concerts that had nowhere near the bass evident in HB-805-1/2. I have not heard HL-591/592] and would certainly look forward to any improvements upon HB-805-1/2 from Highland and/or Sigma…

  2. I agree with DLee, that the Heartbreakers’ version is not that good. I was excited to first get ‘STCFTHOTS’, due to the show being towards the end of the 1973 year of touring and the historical significance of the opening setlist (as mentioned above). Though the songs are played with passion it doesn’t make up for the low/poor sound quality of the Heartbreakers release. After reading the above review and DLee’s comment that ‘Lunatics On The Run’ is much better, I’m thinking of ‘upgrading’ to Highland’s version. Unless you’re planning an upgrade Sigma?

  3. I certainly agree that this is a very nice one by Highland, but I seem to remember that for a good while the Heartbreakers version was the only silver or commercial release available, and for me it was a major disappointment – way too thin, plus there seemed to be either a cut/edit or sudden increase in volume in ‘Any Colour You Like’ (most likely the former). Furthermore, the early edit/cut in ‘Echoes’ wasn’t handled as well by Heartbreakers as it was by Highland, as you can hear how badly that part of the tape was screwed up. So when I eventually got the Highland title not long after it came out, it was quite an upgrade in my opinion. And definitely not too crunchy, with considerably good sound quality overall – I bet that even Erin Gray (not Aaron Gray) would have liked it much better than the Heartbreakers disappointment.


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